My last memory of mountain camping is when I was probably 5 years old. Waking up in the middle of the night I remember shaking and feeling so dreadfully cold, but couldn't find any extra blankets, so I went back to sleep, thinking camping out a harsh deal. On this camping trip, however, I'm carrying away many more memories than just being cold at night - which I was. Bella Rose stayed quite warm though, and slept - well - like a baby. Whenever she is outside she is as quiet and peaceful as you could want, and she's been like that ever since she was a newborn.
Friday we drove to Ruidoso, where our car stopped in the quaint little town while JB took a conference call and Bella, her Granny and I walked the streets and window shopped. Bella was looking so longingly at a rubber duck in a soap shop (she was, I am sure) that I couldn't resist getting it for her. After all, just the previous week I'd just been thinking that it was time to have a rubber ducky for her and what better place to buy it than a quaint little mountain town - in a store with hand-crafted soap at that??? Her name is Jemima Puddle Duck and I've been itching to give her a swim in the tub-pond and see what Rosie Belle thinks.
The mountains were cold and big and grey, and the days were grey and everything was quiet, except for the wind. I enjoy outdoors, but the look on John Barrett's face when we first drove up the mountain and explored, told me he was in heaven on earth being in the mountains and fresh air. Tall creamy grass grew along the hillside in which our camp was nestled and Friday night we feasted on campfire roasted salmon and vegetables. After dishes were done we huddled around the fire with our backs to it, and looked for a long time up at the stars. It made me think how little we are - how many lives have done the same - gazing in wonder up at the sky, feeling as if life must look like one of those tiny stars, only large as one grows close to it, but as it fades into the past, it becomes small again. Mine is big and bright right now, because I'm living it, but how small I realize it to be at times... And then knowing - and sensing the warm presence of the love of the One who "cast the stars into space" and who "calls them all by name". It's steadying - an anchor to remember the infinite love toward tiny people like myself.
Bella was snug and slept better than JB or I did, because we kept wondering how she was. It's the sweetest thing - waking up to her coos and smiles. She is learning to laugh, and seeing a smile light up her eyes and spread over her face must be one of the most rewarding experiences of motherhood so far. Saturday we hiked for four hours, Bella wrapped in her Solly Wrap (if you're a Mommy who wants a lightweight, soft, wrap that is worth the investment, think about a Solly Wrap). JB wore it like a pro, hiking the crest of the mountain and weaving in and out of woods and grasses, briars and slopes.
We found it somewhat humorous that after a year of having very few trips to hike and none to camp, that with a baby we're finding ourselves having all sorts of adventures. In her four months of life out of the womb, Bella has gone to:
Tybee Island, GA
Carlsbad Caverns, TX
Palo Duro Canyon, TX
Caprock Canyon, TX
Ruidoso Mountains, New Mexico
and lots of little trips to Amarillo, Borger, Dallas and so forth.
What do I think about camping? I think we've only just begun, because my husband is an adventurer at heart, and I'm a girl that likes following him to the mountains or the beach or wherever we end up roaming.
Setting up camp is one of my favorite parts…it's like playing house, and getting things all comfy cozy.
Talk about happy. That's when I found these moccasins in one of Ruidoso's leather stores. Handmade by Navahoe Indians and gifted by her Granny.
Looking ridiculous and cute in her mouse ears by her "Atlanta" (Lana)
If you're thinking about taking two pairs of socks, take three. My toes had the shivers all night long.
Because they are cool like that, Lana and Rachel bought a fire starter kit and learned how to use a flint starter.
She's my little adventurer, and my best little buddy. I truly never thought loving a baby this much was possible.
My dream man and dream baby.
Knowing how much I love my daddy, it fills me up to watch this man love his baby and this baby love her Daddy.
That little kettle gave us hot chocolate, which we drank with our backs to the fire, and our eyes up to heaven, looking in vast quiet to flickering asters in a black sky.
Oh oh oh. If I could go back and eat this meal over with the appetite and rosy cheeks and fresh air, I would. (Lana + Michael's creation of salmon+vegetable goodness with fire roasted bread)
Panning the camera for a balance when I realized the little tree to the left was a little Rachel on the hill.
Because, of course, a camping trip isn't official until there's s'mores. And when you're there, the black hands are all part of the experience and no one even notices. It's part of the enchantment to camping.
"How did your pictures turn out?" he asked me back home.
"Well, reckon that depends. They're fine as far as pictures go, but it doesn't compare to what the eye sees nor what a body experiences in full when there."
"Yep," he said. "A sky full of stars and the campfire giving off heat and the way the mists roll over the mountains in the distance - those are all things a camera just can't do justice to."