I know I missed a few days. Hostgator had issues with their servers, and then one of my best friends was in town. To say that I absolutely enjoyed this weekend would be an understatement. Her son and my son have been best buds since our stay at Eglin AFB. Every time we get together, it is almost as if no time has passed between them. We all headed out to Death Valley for the weekend.
One of the greatest things, in my opinion, about being a military family is having the ability to explore and live in so many different areas in the United States, as well as some parts of the world. We have been at Nellis AFB for almost 2 1/2 years, and I was not aware that Death Valley was only a little over a 2 hour drive. We have gone to several different state parks, but it was awesome to discover that this National Park was so close. We left Saturday morning and enjoyed a hike through Golden Canyon. It was a mellow hike that lead us to another trail. My friend took the boys and my oldest daughter back to the car. I continued forward with my friend’s boyfriend, his daughter, and my youngest daughter (she was in a hiking backpack). We made the trek to Cathedral Gorge (I think that is what it was called). The hike was a little treacherous at the end. We took turns hanging out with my youngest while each of us climbed to the top. The view was breathtaking, and the pictures barely do it justice. I love those moments where the world stops for a moment, there is silence, and you can feel the pulse that connects everything surging through your veins. It is in these moments that I feel the most alive.
Death Valley also boasts the lowest elevation in the United States. Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level. It is strange to make the walk through the Basin, and touch the wet, but dried out lake that has left behind nothing but salt and a creek. It was amazing to stand on that salt and look out and see nothing but the salt for as far as the eye could see. I had to stop for a minute to contemplate what it would be like to be at the bottom of 282 feet of sea water. It was fascinating to wrap my head around it.
The kids all loved hiking and running around and exploring all of the different types of topography Death Valley had to offer. From super smooth rock that we could slide down to areas that were fun to do a little amateur rock climbing, to breathtaking views. My absolute favorite memory was sunset at Dante’s View. If you do nothing else, should you visit Death Valley, do not miss the sunset over this view. You can see everything, and words cannot capture the beauty of the various terrains coming together as the light gently fades from the sky. The colors that were painted in the desert sky were vibrant and bold, creating a canvas that was priceless. The memories created here will last with me, and hopefully the kids, for a very long time.
There is definitely an exhaustion and weariness that comes from running around and exploring, but that mild consequence for a lifetime of memories is well worth it. We are all looking forward to the next adventure.
Today was also a great day filled with accomplishments. The sadder part of the day was having to say goodbye to my friend, but I know that we will see each other again soon. I took my youngest to story time at the library and she had a ball. We checked out some books, and we played at home and read the books. She didn’t nap today, except in the car when I was picking up the other kids from school, but I didn’t see that as a totally horrible thing.
I got the laundry done, which is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. I feel like my oldest daughter and I have really been making great strides in our relationship lately, and am beginning to feel a much more positive vibe across the household now.
My son told me that he misses me when he has to go to school. He told me that last night before he fell asleep. It made me happy that he thinks of me when he is away, but I know that he enjoys school. I told him that I was never away from him, and that just like Daddy is always in his heart when he can’t be there in person, I am too. He seemed okay with that. I told him that he would probably get pretty bored being at home too. He thought about for a while, and then agreed that he enjoyed school.
I know that traveling can take a toll and that it takes a minute to jump back into routine, but I have found that it is definitely worth it. Getting outside and reconnected with nature re-energizes me and my entire family in a way that nothing else can. If you get the opportunity to live in different places, I highly encourage you to get out and explore everything that each place has to offer. You will be surprised at all of the gems that you can find in a day trip distance.