This spring break we are taking our 10-year-old grandson on his first ever camping, road trip. On a recent trip to Los Angeles, where Jaden lives, we spent a Sunday afternoon shopping at REI to get the kind of gear an LA boy does not normally need—headlamp, hiking boots, long underwear, rain gear. It was a family outing: Dad took care of the four-year-old, ended up sitting on the camp chair demos having a pretend picnic with the camp-kitchen wares. Mom took care of finding the bargains. Grandma found the boots.
Back home, the headlamp was by far the biggest hit: high-beam, low-beam, flashing red to torment his sister. Clothes are not so interesting yet, but they will be to his grandmothers when night-time temperatures in southern Utah drop into the 40s(F.) and our young lad gets cold.
We have been getting ready for the trip for months—making online reservations for campgrounds, thinking about evening games to play by lantern, getting books on tape for the driving times. It has been a lot of fun to think and plan for this big adventure. Last Sunday we practiced packing both the car and the roof box.
Soon we three and our little corgi dog will be on the road, living in the expansiveness and changeability of nature—a sure recipe for growth and bonding. Jaden will be learning about building fires, watching the stars, and cooking his own food. He will be leading us up trails in search of ancient ruins and slot canyons. There will be no computers or video games. There will only be the vastness of nature and the four of us.