TRAVEL DAY NINE :
Woke up feeling great and ready to explore Bandelier National Monument! It was a little bit drizzly and rainy outside, but it didn’t look like it would last long, so we got dressed and headed for the shuttle bus that takes you to the caves. Bandelier is pretty neat, with petroglyphs and dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs. Some of the walls have ladders that allow you to climb up and inside what looked like caves that were dug into the walls. I knew the kids would love climbing up there, but first we had to get down the trail. Since it was still raining and I didn’t want them walking all day in wet clothes, we went into the gift shop and bought a few cheap plastic ponchos. Not the kind you can reuse a bunch of times – the kind that are made of the World’s Thinnest, Shittiest Plastic that tears if you look at it too hard. Why we thought these were a good idea for three kids, I’m not quite sure. After putting them on, all three kids decided they looked like idiots and didn’t want to wear them. Since we had paid for them, and because I really didn’t want to hear them complain about being wet all day, I insisted. They refused. I INSISTED. Marley had a meltdown. Roxy pouted. Kai complained. I stubbornly refused to let them take the damn things off, even though they really did seem to be worthless and were definitely stupid looking. Marley cried and cried and cried. Finally, I ripped the damn thing off of her and told Rox and Kai “FINE! BE WET ALL DAY AND SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT!” And just then, the rain stopped. Thanks for nothing, mother nature. They skipped off, happy and dry, and I threw the stupid ponchos in the trash. Deeeeeeep breath.
Finally made it up to the dwellings and let the kids climb up the ladders. They loved it! Marley was a little scared to come back down the ladders, but she got the hang of it after a while. As we rounded the corner to the last ladder, a lady there with her family said “hello Quiara family!” Henry and I looked at each other wondering which of us she had recognized. We both looked bewildered until she said “I read your blog and follow you on Facebook!” WHAT?! I can’t believe we met a FAN! In real life! WHAAAAAAT? She knew all of our names and even took a picture with us. What a weird (and awesome!) feeling! As we walked away, the kids whispered to me “are we FAMOUS?!” Ha!
The trail back was pretty easy and full of squirrels for Marley to chase. We held hands and walked slow, enjoying the amazing weather. I thought back to the way we started the day – with rain and crying and complaining and frustration – and was glad we stuck it out and turned it all around. The key to being world explorers with kids? Patience. And lots of deep breaths.
After hiking and climbing and exploring all day, we were exhausted by the time we got back to camp. The kids were starving, though, so we made some chicken alfredo and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Cooking on the camp stove is so much easier than I expected it to be! After dinner we played checkers and danced around under the stars before finally snuggling up and falling asleep. It may have started out terrible, but Day Nine ended up pretty perfect. Tomorrow, we head to Colorado!
(NOTE : I’ll be posting each day of our travel adventures here on our blog and would love for you to follow along! To keep up with us on Instagram, follow my personal Instagram account here : SarahQ on Instagram. You can also follow along by visiting our Facebook page here : The World School on Facebook. I’ll also be posting my thoughts on traveling with children, family tent camping, world schooling, unschooling and home schooling. Have a suggestion or just want to say hello? Use the contact form above to send us a note! We also love comments! Leave a comment below or on Facebook! Thanks so much for coming along on this crazy adventure with us!)