Camping in the Desert

10-18 catalina campsite

One of the joys of homeschooling is that we have a very flexible schedule.  This year, we took off for three weeks in October to travel through Arizona and New Mexico.  The picture above is from Catalina State Park in AZ – what a beautiful place, so different from NC!

On our first night of camping in the desert in Arizona, there was a huge thunderstorm in the middle of the night.  One of my kids thought it was really cool, camping through the storm, but the other kid was terrified.  I dashed out of my tent and into his to keep him company as the wind raged, the lightening flashed, and the thunder boomed.  It was the most intense thunderstorm I have ever camped in, and quite honestly, I was pretty scared too.

With one huge tent-flattening gust of wind, one of the tent poles snapped.  I heard it snap, but didn’t realize what had happened until the next morning when we had a chance to fully assess the damage.  At the time, all I knew was that something had snapped and the side of the tent was sagging onto us in a way that wasn’t very comfortable, given that the wind was keeping everything very flat.  We both eventually scuttled out of the sagging tent and into the larger tent, trying to move as fast as possible through the downpour that we didn’t get totally drenched while trying to zip and unzip rain-flies in the storm.

The next day, we made a trip to WalMart to buy duct tape and try to repair the broken pole as best we could, since we still had many more nights of camping before heading home again.   We also bought umbrellas and rain ponchos.  We had not come prepared for rain in the desert.

What did we learn from this experience?  The scouting motto of “be prepared” is a pretty good idea, even if you don’t think there’s any chance of rain, bring the darn poncho, just in case!  Duct tape is useful to have on hand as well.

10-18 grand canyon rainbow2

Rainbow at Grand Canyon National Park – maybe the rain wasn’t so bad after all