Tuesday, March 27, 2012

drinking red

(Lots of photos, a few words.)

The story goes like this: the Mr. had some work just south of Salt Lake City and said, Why don't you and the girls come with?  You know, get out of town?  And me, the ever-opportunistic ursus said, Hell yes.  And, since we'll already be halfway there, why don't you take a few extra days off work and we drop down into canyon country?  And he said something like, That's a damned good idea.  You are the brains of this family.  Thank God I married you. 

Although we live in the snowy rockies, we are pulled to the salmon-pink desert like color-hungry chameleons.  When our world is still monochrome, we crave purple-bruised canyons, red-stained rocks, chartreuse-green bursting from apricot sand, and a twinkling, blue-eyed sky.
After we pulled into our first campsite, I took Juniper aside and said, "This is a juniper tree.  These are juniper berries.  This tree has the same name as you, isn't that cool?"  (We do have junipers in our  area, but not nearly as big or abundant.)   
Juniper would exclaim, "I see ju-per trees!"  And, "Ju-per berries!  Check it out, Ju-per!"  
This is the closest we've been to the place that gave us Juniper's name since I was pregnant with her.
Beautiful, rugged, adaptable, strong juniper tree.

And then, I showed her the cactuses.  From then on, Juniper pointed out every cactus and would say in a sing-songy voice, "Cactus!  I don't wanna step on it."  She loved digging her hands into the red sand, and--understandably after 4 months of winter--she announced she was making snowmen.

:: We hiked every day.  And when it was time to go to bed or eat breakfast or other mundane tasks, Juniper would whine, "I just wanna go hiking."  Those five words made my heart swell.
When she tired, or things got too cliffy, she rode happily in her familiar pack.  

:: Hazel really didn't care what we did, as long as she was protected from wind, sun, cold and mama was nearby.  Who could blame her?  She's four months old.
A sneak-peek into Hazel Iris' hiking nest:
:: It was still officially winter, and while we had 70 degree days, we also had cold temps and desert snow.  
After 4 months of winter, we are unphased by cold temps.  

Me:  "Juniper, do you see that bird!?"
Juniper: "It's actually a raven."  

:: We are simple people.  We are tent campers.  (Juniper has been tent camping since she was 6 months old.)  We try to keep our footprint on this earth light.  We don't want to cross the line into !Too Much!  We've always said we won't use our children as an excuse to get lazy, to use more resources than we're allotted.  We want to lead our children by example.  And, as of our last trip to Montana, we are now the owners of a camper trailer.  Much of our on-the-road conversations revolved around how, exactly, this big white rectangle--a wind-catching sail flying behind our truck--fits into our worldview.  We are working on that.  Realistically, with two small children, had we been tent camping on this trip, we probably would have bailed to a hotel.  I know we would have bailed.  For now, that white rectangle is in our good graces, but still on shaky ground.     
Me: "Juniper, you're so cute."
Juniper: "No, I not tute.  I just Ju-per."  

:: Our souls are recharged.  
Our senses are stirring.  
We're ready to leap into spring.  


  1. nice to see y'all in the canyon country.
    so many of our friends have bought campers or pull behinds or pop ups and we keep resisting, although, you better believe we were drinking hot cocoa and playing cards and sheltering from a 7 hour storm last summer in our friends' pop up.

    1. Our plan as of now is to keep the camper until Hazel is out of diapers (kind of a random target, I know) then re-evaluate. We want our kids to grow up tent camping. But we also know we camp in spring, summer and fall and we don't live in the warmest place.

  2. Gorgeous photos!

    You're now living Theo and Sully's dream with your new camper trailer. :)

  3. Last year we broke down (or smartened up?) and got a camper too. Ours is a retro pop camper so we're still pretending its a tent, but really we all know the truth. No canyons in Maine though. Beautiful pictures-- we've got juniper trees here, but not like that. I'll have to share your post with our Juniper.


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