We visited Flaming Gorge. There’s nothing like a camping trip to strengthen the bonds between husband and wife.
Thankfully Doug did all the preliminary research, made reservations, and got us safely to the campground after we visited Dinosaur National Monument. He’s great with logistics. All I had to do was sit in the truck and let him do all the driving. He also packed the truck, unloaded the truck, set up the tent and the canopy too. Then he carried both kayaks 98.367 yards down to the water’s edge. (I did carry my makeup bag to the tent.)
In case you think I must be a real prima donna, I did the shopping, meal planning, packed the coolers and did all the cooking. I’ll have you know that in 19th century Italy, a prima donna refers to the “first lady” in an opera who performs leading roles. Generally she sang more music than other women in the company. In other words, she did the most of the work.
So being a prima donna isn’t always a bad thing. I entertained my wonderful hubby by breaking into song the entire way there and back. Just sayin’, I do earn my keep!
Once we got to the campground, it was time to pick the best spot for the tent. You don’t want it too close to the fire and the opening should face the picnic table. There can’t be too many lumps on the ground and it’s got to be level. While our site was close to the potty, it couldn’t be downwind.
Every year we have to re-learn which tent poles go where and in what order. There’s nothing funnier than watching two fairly intelligent people trying to teach each other how to understand simple directions. And it’s amazing how instructions can be easily misunderstood:
Hubby: “Grab that pole and push it towards me.”
Me: “Which pole?”
Hubby: “The long one. Push it over this way.”
Me: “What way?”
Hubby: “Push it through the sleeve on the top.”
Me: “It’s stuck.”
Hubby: “Here let me come over and do it. You hold the corner down.”
Me: “Which corner?”
After the tent was finally set up, we took a quick drive over to the Visitor’s Center. We camped within a few miles of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, a beautiful mini-Grand Canyon that borders Utah and northwest Colorado. When we got there, we approached a sign that said, “Danger Cliffs. Guard your children.” Nobody has to tell me twice. I’ve been afraid of heights my entire life. Just thinking of it as I write this article twists my stomach in knots.
We could have gone horseback riding while we there there, but the trail meandered along the rim. That was a deal breaker. Why would I want to climb up on something five feet higher to look down into the abyss? Even at the Visitor’s Center I wouldn’t go near the corner window, which was suspended over the gorge. I let Doug take the pictures.
The next day we took the kayaks out. Now, I’m fine with water. I grew up with lakes and pools and even competed in synchronized swimming events. I have no problem getting into the kayak; it’s the getting out that gives me the trouble. Thank goodness Doug was a submariner in the Navy. He knows all about how to lift heavy, awkward, talkative objects out of the water.
We had a great time once we got settled at camp. The weather was perfect and the bugs were few. Once it got dark, we started a campfire and sat with our heads tilted way back looking at the stars. There was no light pollution and we could even see the Milky Way and tons of shooting stars. It was a wonderful experience.
Doug leaned over to me and said, “Isn’t it great we get to sit here in the woods, smell the pines and look at the stars?” I replied, “You mean like we do when we’re home?” Ha! Somehow it’s different when you drive six hours, get woodsmoke in your clothes, sleep on the ground and put up with noisy neighbors!
But after two days of tenting, I was ready for a shower. So, we packed everything up (again) and moved over to the cabin he’d reserved. T’was a welcome change. If you ever decide to go, we stayed at the Red Canyon Lodge near Flaming Gorge. There is a small lake there in case you want to take your kayaks or canoe.
We had planned to move from the cabin back to the tent on our last day, but I hated the thought of setting everything back up again. Instead, we left a day early and stopped along the way for a visit at my brother’s house. He has a shower.
Now, just so you know, I don’t mind tenting. We’re fairly mobile and have a better selection of camping spots. I like it better than trying to navigate one of those huge campers. But after you get home and think of all the work you put into the trip, you might question whether it was worth it.
Yes, yes it was. The stars, campfire, kayaking, snuggling together in the tent and seeing Flaming Gorge definitely was worth it. And now that we’re home, we really appreciate our comfy bed and a full sized shower!
We still have noisy neighbors, however. There’s nothing like a few screech owls to remind you of the great outdoors!