Monday, September 16, 2013

The Caribbean of the Rockies

The view as we finally arrived

Andrew and I are making a point of it to be more outdoorsy with our kids and one way we have decided to do that is to do more stay-cations with them. After all, we live in an area where we have access to many different activities year round including 21 national parks and monuments and over 40 state parks in Utah alone. That doesn't even count the winter activities. For one of these recent trips, we decided to go somewhere with a beach to cool off in the middle of the summer. We settled on Bear Lake and were lucky enough to find some last-minute open camping sites over a weekend. We've been to Bear Lake several times before, but never in the middle of the summer and never camping with tents. Previously, we have stayed in cabins and timeshares there so camping was going to be a new experience. Also, Andrew researched a little bit online before we decided on a place and Bear Lake was mentioned somewhere as the "Caribbean of the Rockies" because of its turquoise blue color. Who knew we had been going to the Caribbean for years without even knowing it.

Because we booked last minute, we only had the last site in three different campgrounds to choose from. We settled on a site at the Big Creek Campground because of its proximity to the beach. We had the bathroom with showers right next to our site which was really convenient. The only downside was that the door to the bathroom slammed pretty loudly which woke me up in the morning. We were among the few that only had tents set up which I thought was interesting. There was a grassy patch for the tent which was nice and level, but it was wasn't quite big enough for our tent. We had to be very tricky with our staking and we had to stake some of the corners on the other side of the sidewalk that surrounded the patch. It wouldn't have been a big deal except that it was stormy that night and we were a little worried about the wind blowing our tent away. Luckily, the weather wasn't bad for long.

Playing in the sand at Rendezvous Beach

We invited my parents and my oldest uncle and aunt to come up for the day to see what this camping thing was all about. We arrived  in the afternoon, set up our tent quickly, and then headed to the beach. The water wasn't freezing so we were able to play in the water and build sand castles until it was time for dinner. We packed tin foil dinners (loosely following THIS RECIPE) which we always love to do when we go camping. They're yummy, easy to make, and cleanup is a cinch. Of course s'mores followed up as our dessert. My parents, uncle, and aunt hadn't really experienced camping before and I think they really got a kick out of what it meant to camp for us. I think they were expecting really minimal necessities since they are all immigrants to the US and haven't ever really camped the American way before, but instead they saw that we had an INSTANT TENT (if you are in the market for a tent, get an instant tent. it's totally worth it.), an air mattress, and a cot. They also thought it was hilarious that we purchased wood for the campfire. Oh, parents.

My panoramic attempt at capturing the sunset after the storm

We played at the beach again the next morning before we packed up and left for home. It was a very short trip, but it was definitely nice to get out with the kids. This was our first solo camping trip, without any friends, and it went well. Our kids are pretty happy anywhere they can dig and we didn't spend much for our camp site which made us happy. We definitely need to go back there again.
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