Sunday, June 13, 2010

Villanueva State Park, June 11-13, 2010

Dorine and I spent two nights camping at New Mexico's Villanueva State Park with family members. Both Devery and Easton and Kristy and Chris wanted to go camping with us, but Devery and Easton could only go on Friday night, whereas Kristy and Chris could only go on Saturday night. In essence it was like two camping trips in one, which was probably the only way I'd ever be able to get two nights out of a family camping trip. Dorine and I drove out to Villanueva in mid-afternoon on Friday, the 11th, in hopes that we could find an open campsite on the (Pecos) river; however, there seemed to be quite a few "parties" going on in the lower level of the park, and everything was full-up (and then some). Nonetheless, the upper ("El Cerro") campground had several open sites and in fact didn't ever fill up while we were there; given all the people in the park, and despite the steep path/road up the hill, I preferred to stay up there. We got what I now consider to be the best campsite in the upper campground, which has a great view on three sides (see the long-distance photo above of our campsite, looking east from one of the trails in the park), lots of space, and is relatively secluded.

So Devery, Easton, and Mason drove up later that evening, and we spent that night and much of the next day with them. I'd taken a couple of inner-tubes up without really knowing if we'd want to float on the river, but Devery and Easton were up for it, so I pumped up the tubes, and we floated several times from the park entrance down beyond all of the campsites. It turned out to be the most-fun thing we did during our stay at Villanueva, so I'll be certain to take inner-tubes on all future trips there. I also had a lot of fun playing with Mason, who's growing up fast and showing a lot of interest in what's going on around him.

Devery and Easton left in the early afternoon on Saturday, and Dorine and I had a few hours by ourselves before Kristy and Chris came up. (I took advantage of the "lull" and went and took a much-needed shower.) It turned out that Zach couldn't come because of a Little League all-stars practice that he needed to attend, but all the other kids came and were all a lot of fun to be with. I helped Chris put up their new tent (which, having sturdy poles, was much better-suited to the big winds we had for much of the time) while everyone else went down to the river and the playground. I slept poorly both nights, as sedation alone, without a breathing machine, no longer seems to put me out entirely; however, I felt well enough during the day to do a lot of things. (I'd say I'm encouraged, but I don't feel any less dizzy, discombobulated, and debilitated than I have felt since our cruise in January.)

On Sunday morning, Nicole and I tubed down the river a couple of times (Alexis went on the first run but insisted on being let off near the bridge half-way through). Then we packed up and came home. I had agreed to give a sacrament-meeting talk in Spanish in the Valle Vista Branch, which meets in our church building (having sacrament meeting at 2:15 pm), so I had to get home to shave, bathe, and make final preparations. I'd spent hours and hours preparing my talk, which consisted of about 20 minutes of material; however, I was the last of three speakers on the program, and as is often the case, the other speakers left me very little time. Thus I was only able to give about 25% of the talk I'd prepared, which made it seem entirely anticlimactic, relieved though I was to be done with it.

[Update 10/19/10: I found this photo of Villanueva, which I'd taken on an earlier trip there from the trail that traverses the cliff on the east side of the river.  It gives a good idea of the park layout, and you can pick out our campsite from this year's trip, which is marked by the shelter on the upper left that sits off by itself.]