Sooo I thought I had already blogged all about our Spring Break trip, but guess I was just dreaming. Definitely want to share it…it was amazing and hard and beautiful.
We left early Saturday morning and headed west into a lot of nothingness. West Texas is pretty much made of dirt, rocks, cactus and bushes. We made it to Carlsbad, NM around 10:30 AM. Jackson has been dreaming of going to see the bats + caves forever, so Carlsbad Caverns were a must on our to do list!
The time zone was an hour behind ours, so the kids were ready for lunch as soon as we arrived. We pulled off at a picnic table we spotted just inside the park. I had packed a lunch, which made it easy.
We did some exploring around the visitor center and then hopped on the elevator that took us down into the caverns. It was about 750 feet below from where we started.
The caverns were huge and it was pretty cool to see all the formations. We walked the whole Big room, which took a couple hours to get through.
We decided to take the trail back out of the caverns instead of waiting in the long line for the elevator. It was pretty steep, but the kiddos kept us going. We had to walk 750 feet up (it was only a little over a mile) and Justin had Julianna in the pack…I have never been so happy to see daylight!
Once we came out, we got to see a few bats flying in, which made it totally worth it. We knew we wouldn’t be hanging around until sunset to see more bats because we had to go set up a tent.
A park ranger told us about some campsites a little north of the caverns…we just pulled off on a side road and picked a spot. They were all rock and dirt and no trees at all. The kids did some exploring and then we set up the tent.
We tried to use the Suburban to help block some of the wind. Yes we all slept in that little 3 person tent…ha! And we even cooked our dinner in there😁. I think we were all asleep by 6PM MST.
It was a pretty crazy night, with super strong wind gusts and the next morning, we had dirt everywhere inside the tent. At one point during the night, Justin said he was going to go outside and check everything to make sure it was holding, and then he said Jonah said in his sleep, “Justin, not yet,” so he decided to go back to sleep! The tent and extra tie downs held just fine. Praise Jesus! I don’t think any of us slept great, but it was sure an adventure.
We packed up everything and headed to the closest little town to go potty and get cleaned up…we were still pretty gross, covered in dirt and wind blown hair, but fresh clothes and washing our faces did help! Our next stop was to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, about 40 miles south of Carlsbad.
The top of Guadalupe is the highest point in Texas, and we planned to hike it, but the campsites we wanted were all full, so we had to pick a different, longer trail, which was not as high in elevation. It also started to snow a bit, but it didn’t last long. We headed out around noon on our 4.2 mile walk to our campsite.
I was suppose to carry Julianna on my back going up, but she did a lot of walking instead…really she was just to heavy for me and didn’t have a choice…she has grown since our last backpacking trip. She also got lots of shoulder rides from Justin…not sure how he did it, because he was carrying around 70 pounds when carried her for probably 3 miles of the walk.
The big kids kept us going. Pretty sure Jackson could have run up the mountain. Jonah got really tired toward the end and slowed down quite a bit. We had to have a lot of motivational talks for both of us 😂
The views were amazing from the top! All said and done, it was a 2200 foot elevation gain in one day. My children are rockstars!
We made it to our site around 5:30, and got the tent set up just in time before losing light. It was pretty cold up there, and it started to rain while we were eating dinner in our tent…pretty sure it was a freezing rain. Thankful it didn’t last long. My allergies were terrible that night, so I didn’t sleep well, but the kids barely made a peep, no one had to pee in the middle of the night, and no one froze! I call that a win!
The next morning, we took our time getting things packed up. We enjoyed some hot cocoa and Justin brewed some coffee for himself and also made “backpacking oatmeal” we got from his mom (I will share that at the bottom of the post).
We spent the rest of the day hiking down and then driving to a hotel for a shower and good night sleep…I think I was a little excited, because I didn’t take anymore photos that day.. I will share the rest of our trip in another post soon ❤
Backpacking Oatmeal Mix
- One full box of Assorted Quaker Instant Oatmeal (I like the one with Maple + Brown Sugar, Apples + Cinnamon, and Cinnamon + Spice)
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 c. instant oatmeal (plain)
- 1 c. raisins
- 1 c. dried Cranberies
- 1/2 c. almond slivers
- 1 c. dried apples
- 1 tsp salt
Store in a large Ziploc bag.
To make, you will get 2 parts water boiling and then add 1 part oatmeal mix.
Cook for about 2 minutes then let set for 2 minutes.
And throwing back an old photo from our 2016 backpacking trip because little Jonah was loving his oatmeal ❤