We were supposed to go camping. At the Grand Canyon, actually. Since our visit there in December (when we rode the Polar Express), I’ve wanted to see it again . . . without the snow and ice. All that frozen water (while beautiful) kept me from enjoying the view since I was too busy trying to make sure my children didn’t slip, fall, and kill themselves. So at the beginning of February, Hubby and I picked a date and I made us a campsite reservation at the North Rim. We were so excited to making camping our family’s summer tradition! Then COVID happened. And the world turned upside down.
My husband is a first responder, and I work in grocery retail. Our daycare closed, leaving us scrambling to find childcare so we could go to work and do our jobs. The schools closed, so now we had to figure out how to take up our kindergartner’s education. And lets not even get into the hoarding. It’s been a rough several months for our crew. We needed a break! But as the camping trip got closer and closer, Hubby and I had a heart-to-heart and agreed that with all the chaos and struggle of the previous months, we just didn’t have the energy to even plan a camping trip. So we canceled our reservation with the hopes of being able to try again next year.
But now, we had this time off and no plans. We still wanted to do something, especially since our girls have been such troopers during this whole time. We tossed a bunch of ideas around but settled on a few, quick and easy things we could do to take advantage of our week off.
First, we headed up Mt. Lemmon to a cabin owned by a friend. With triple digit summer heat happening here in the desert, is was so nice to be able to head to cooler climates! We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to make it up the mountain, since crews had recently been battling a fire on that mountain range, but thankfully we were able to make it work.
The girls loved exploring the outdoors; looking for rocks and pine cones, taking walks, and running around. We also played games, drew pictures, and watched a couple movies – all as a family. There weren’t many people up there when we were, so we really felt secluded and alone (in a good way). It was so good for my weary soul to have some peace and quiet and spend quality time together with my little family.
Our cabin adventure was only a couple days long, then we were back down the mountain and headed home – just in time to grab some snacks and head to our first drive-in movie! I’ll be honest, the reappearance of the the drive-in is one of the (very rare) plus sides of this pandemic. The girls hunkered down in the trunk space with blankets, pillows, and their special movie snacks while Hubby and I popped up our camping chairs and settled in. It was very cool experience and we plan on doing it again. (We watched Turbo, in case you were wondering. It was a cute movie)
The next day, we packed up and headed to a local resort for a one night staycation. Unfortunately, Charlie woke up with a yucky tummy. Even though she was totally fine by the time we left, we decided to play it safe and keep her home with my mom (believe me, she had a great time getting one-on-one time with Nana). We arrived mid-afternoon, and after checking in, immediately ran downstairs to hit the pools. This particular resort has a lazy river and a water slide, as well as a pool. The slide was open when we got there, but was closed by the time we got down to the pool area. We never managed to catch it while it was open (whomp whomp). We spent lots of time floating and “racing” in the lazy river.
The next morning, we had a yummy breakfast, then hit the pools again before we had to check out. The resort was quiet and not at all busy. We saw maybe a dozen other groups/families while we were there. Masks were required in all public areas (not including the pool) and all staff/servers wore masks as well. Overall, we felt safe with the resort’s COVID procedures and had no problem wearing our masks for the short treks between our room and the pools. It was a nice mini getaway that we’re planning to hopefully recreate again annually (and hopefully next time with Charlie).
While we were initially bummed about missing our much anticipated Grand Canyon trip, our little adventures were still fun and a wonderful break from the chaos of our current situation. 2020 is sure to be a year none of us forget, but hopefully this summer “vacation” is one we remember too!