Barring the brush with dehydration, the Lake Powell campsite suited me. It was open and sunny and well-kept, but more importantly, it had full hook-ups. Basically, for the non-campers out there, this means being able to shower and use the facilities as you wish.
This, friends, has been a camping game-changer for me.
LCB says a large part of life is about managing expectations; essentially, if you face what we’ll call a less-than-ideal situation but you were expecting the less-than-ideal nature of the situation, all will be well. Well, guess what? Somehow, I’d gotten it into my head that all our campsites had full hook-ups; it soon became clear, however, that this one didn’t have any at all. In fact, the only amenity it really had was a shared water pump.
Well that was unexpected.
Oh, and generators were only allowed on from 8AM to 8PM. Hey, I love the sound of nature and all too, but you know what else I love? I love not waking up cold at 3AM when a perfectly good heat source is available to me.
At any rate, after we set up camp and I rearranged my expectations, we decided to go hiking. For an hour or so, we forged our own trail.
When we reached a sign identifying a .8 mile loop trail, the kids wanted to try it. At this point, my knees were starting to bother me a little due to all the inclines and declines we’d traversed, so I decided to sit and wait for everyone else while they hiked the loop. “How long can it take?” I figured. I planned on twenty to thirty minutes of good quality “me time” sitting on the dirt near the beginning of the loop.
Hey, some of us take “me time” any way we can get it.
Turns out, in an interesting twist on logic, it can take a heck of a long time if the loop doesn’t actually loop you back to your starting point in .8 miles but instead, according to sources anyway, leaves you at the starting point of another loop. Who knew? And of course, as these things go, I didn’t have a map, so I had no way of discerning this. Naturally, I called LCB several times to no avail, since his phone was off on some loop through nowhere, without any reception.
The cool thing was, without either a map or clear signage, after an hour or so, I started assuming that they were all dead or fatally stricken with something, because what healthy person takes that long to do .8 miles?
Two hours or more after they’d departed, after I’d developed a new, multi-faceted life plan that involved moving to India to carry on the work of Mother Theresa since it was now clearly just me in this world, LCB & Company emerged from another direction, weary but smiling.
So in this case, the “me time” turned out to be much more about quantity than quality.
We made our way back to camp, and LCB stepped inside the RV to make dinner while I set the picnic table outside. A few minutes later, I was sitting at the table reading when I heard footsteps. I looked up. A park ranger was approaching our table.
“Ma’am,” he nodded, and continued. “Is this your RV?”
I answered in the affirmative.
“All RVs must run parallel to the road,” he said, nodding his head toward our RV parked perpendicular to the road. “Did you move some of the rocks on the site?”
“Yes, we moved two of them over a bit. We parked that way because otherwise our main door opens right out into the road.”
Afterward, I realized someone before us had probably already moved our rocks quite a bit, because our line of rocks had a large gap in it, whereas the other sites all had lines of rocks that were evenly spaced apart. Our RV fit easily between the rocks even before we moved them; we’d just moved the two that were in our line of foot traffic.
“I know. It kind of sucks,” he conceded, slipping out of his slightly chastising tone for a second. “But (insert sound of returning chastisement here) perpendicular parking and moving rocks are ticketable offenses. You’ll have to move the RV and return the rocks to their original spots now or I’ll have to ticket you. I’ll be back in thirty minutes to check.”
Incidentally, I’m not sure how we were supposed to actually know any of this before the ranger’s visit, because later I combed all the literature we’d received at check-in and found nothing about moving rocks or directional parking rules.
I apologized for trying to keep my kids safe and for not magically knowing the rules. (Okay, I didn’t mention the kid’s safety or the magic knowledge in the apology I made out loud, especially since I got the sense that he was just trying to do his job
and that he might be almost young enough to be my son, but I totally thought them.)
Some of us (i.e., me) slept fitfully that night, and we all woke early. As we packed up, the sound of nearby generators violating park rules filled the campground.
Since our RV water supply was limited, we skipped many of our customary morning grooming habits and headed out right after breakfast. Our next stop was Zion National Park, a land flowing with milk, honey, and limitless showers.
Or so I thought.