The Holland Family Blog » Erica Holland Photography and Family Happenings

Camping in the Coldness

*I’m letting my girls help with the blogging today. The title was Annika’s and I’ll let Lucy and Elise pitch in too. They want colors, so we will color coordinate.

Annika: Right when I first saw it snowing, it was just snowing a tiny bit. But then it started snowing like a snowstorm. And I was so excited! But the further we got on the trip, it wasn’t so snowy.

Lucy: We tried to ice skate

Elise: Daddy is scared of the snow

I was more than a little worried as we loaded into our car Friday morning and the snow started to come down. I kept thinking “what kind of crazy people are we, taking our small children camping while there is a blizzard outside?!”

I’m at the tent. We had fun roasting marshmallows. 

It was warm in the tent, even though it was cold outside. 

I liked sleeping in my sleeping bag. 

My fears eased up when we arrived in Capitol Reef with the sun shining brightly. It was still cold, but we were all smiles.

This hike went to an arch. And we had so much fun at the arch, I almost didn’t want to leave. But then we did. My favorite part was seeing the arch and seeing the river.

My favorite part was eating M&Ms.

My favorite part was eating M&Ms and camping and going over the bridge.

The hike to Hickman bridge was so beautiful in the evening light. As I was looking back through my pictures, I realized that I must be the most annoying Mom to hike with; I’m constantly making my kids stop for a picture. I have a picture for every 10 feet of trail on this hike. The light was just so wonderful, and I was just so happy to be outside with my family.  They’re good sports to put up with me.

Traveling with kids can be exasperating at times, but wonderful in so many ways. It’s funny – we’re constantly pointing out to our kids all the things they should find interesting. “Look at that arch! Look how high the canyon walls are! Do you see those Native American petroglyphs?” Yet my girls were most entertained playing in the sand and rocks, and climbing up walls. Kids are a good reminder to slow down, and appreciate the beautiful and enjoyable things right in front of us. They force me to remember that pushing to the destination is not as important as enjoying the experience along the way.

Since we left our house in a blizzard, and the forecast called for below freezing temperatures, we were more than a little worried about the weather. I even called to make sure there was a hotel with room available, just in case we were freezing. It really wasn’t so bad during the day (as long as we were wearing long underwear, hats and gloves), but it did get quite chilly at night. We rushed to get dinner warmed up, but even though it started at a boil, my soup was freezing again before I could eat it. I huddled with the girls around the fire while Brad set up the tent, and we roasted marshmallows, which was unanimously the favorite part of the weekend for our girls.

I really liked the fire, it was warm, and roasting marshmallows. 


With blankets piled under us and a down comforter on top of my down sleeping bag, it was actually one of my best nights of sleep in a tent – ever. Annika climbed into Brad’s sleeping bag sometime in the early morning, so I’m not sure his experience was as enjoyable as mine.  The early morning was the coldest part of our trip – so Brad just turned the heat on in the car, and the girls were warm and toasty while they ate their breakfast. Problem solved.

That’s silly that we had S’mores in the morning.

Yes, Annika, it is silly. But we were camping. And it was cold.  And who doesn’t want s’mores at 9 am?

I liked when we were going in the little bit wider canyons, but not the super skinny ones.  I got stuck on the way back down.

Saturday morning started with a hike up to Cohab Canyon – once you climb up into the canyon there are a few little tiny slot canyons to explore. It might have been my favorite part of the weekend. I think Annika enjoyed it too – until she got stuck and scraped her side, and I haven’t heard the end of it since. It’s a terrible wound, you know, and requires new bandages a couple times a day. 

The pie was yummy, but Elise didn’t let me have any of her pie.

The current location of the campground was once the site of a very isolated Mormon pioneer community. One of the farmhouses still stands, and now serves as part museum, part gift shop where they sell justifiably famous pies. We got two and they didn’t last long. On our way home we asked the girls what their favorite part of the trip was, and Lucy was quick to respond that eating pie was her favorite part. She takes after her Mom. Food makes or breaks a vacation, you know.


Capitol Reef was fun because it had a little bit of everything – Native American ruins and petroglyphs, pioneer cabins, slot canyons, arches, and some great hikes.


There is nothing like camping and hiking to completely wear out your kids.

I liked the Indian carvings. My Mom thought there weren’t going to be any, but there were actually some Indian carvings, and also some Pioneer names on the walls.

We squeezed in a scenic drive and one last hike before we had to head home. In Capitol Reef they have two roads that actually drive into the slot canyons. I’ve hiked a lot of canyons, but I found it a little disconcerting to drive my car past the sign that warned of flash floods. We didn’t get flooded, we had a cold, yet enjoyable hike, and after filling up on some gourmet burgers in the tiny town of Torrey, we made it home late Saturday night. Not bad for a weekend getaway.

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  • Mom - I have sooooo missed your blogs! Thank you for putting this up because it made me a very happy mom/oma. I thought you were crazy for going camping because I wouldn’t have left the house with it snowing like that and a forecast of 18 degrees overnight. But I can see that the world has probably passed me by on many occasions. You are wonderful parents and these pictures are priceless. Your kids will thank you a million times over someday!ReplyCancel

  • Cristine - Great pics and I loved hearing what the girls had to say!!! Looks like you had a blast!ReplyCancel

  • Monica - I have been missing your posts also! That hike was beautiful! I actually want to come visit you now for that hike but minus the cold! You know me and cold… And I love the pic with you in it!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Taniel - I keep looking at your pictures over and over again. You are right, the light is beautiful, as are your photos. You have come a long way as a photographer, and I miss your blog because even though I know what is going on in your life most the time, I love to see your photos and I love to read your writing. Thanks for sharing, maybe we should have come with you!! Looks like it was an amazing trip!ReplyCancel

  • Pete Mitchell - Thanks for sharing. I like your writing and love the pictures. Most people would have passed on the opportunity to go but you guys made the right decision. You have recorded some wonderful memories.ReplyCancel

  • Nate - That is amazing! It almost makes me want to go camping… Almost…ReplyCancel

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