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Sand Crusted Soup Powder

The author, his family, and beloved canine companion as they are about to leave the wilderness after a fun but quite exhausting weekend!

So last weekend my family loaded up our provisions, beds and dog and headed for the deserts of Utah. In the bible, the “wilderness” that is referred to is in fact a desert, not the paradise our nation’s many national parks, forests and recreation areas provide. Wilderness in that context is likened to a purifying vessel, or a refiner’s fire. That is why Moses’s Israelites wandered in a desert for forty years, not a paradise. I actually didn’t learn of this comparison from Church, but from a wilderness ethics class I took at the University of Utah. What do you picture “wilderness” being like? For centuries, man has desired to tame wilderness and bring order from the chaos that is our natural world– hence, the garden. In castles around the world, what do we find in the center surrounded by (sometimes) crumbling walls? A garden. What is contained in your castle, your fenced lawn? A garden, maybe? So internets, what is your wilderness, where is your favorite place to be?

Now to the real story. At the Little Sahara sand dunes outside Delta, Utah, we camped near the dunes. Our tent is damaged, so we decided to camp in our minivan. Now, if you’ve ever camped in an RV, it is nothing like camping in a minivan. First of all, to camp in a van, you need to get all of your stuff that you put in the van out somewhere else, so you can lay down the seats to sleep. This includes the dog crate that you brought, taking up 1/4th of your effective storage capacity. This also means that the dog will likely need to sleep outside. And, if the temperatures get cold and the wind blows, he will need to come in the van to warm up. Now, since all of your ‘stuff’ is outside, and you are inside, your stuff is exposed to wind and rain, and you are warm in your mobile castle. Now picture dinnertime- sunny, warm, windless? A family gathered at a picnic table, the Dad dressed in flannel like the brawny guy, mother in a lovely sun dress, the wind gently blowing her hair and 2 children being angels and behaving themselves? Nope. Try windy, cold and raining, with sand blowing into your food by the inches. Kids screaming, wife giving the husband the look of “why exactly did we come out here?”. Actually it was that bad, but not really. We had a fun time. That is what camping out of doors is about. Adapting to dire situations, making the best of what you have, and not relying on the fact that if something goes wrong, you can easily go inside or pick something up at the local fast food joint. You just have to plan ahead a little. The adventure is having to skim your soup that was boiled in haste from a powder mix, because you didn’t have room for a big cooler, because you couldn’t leave the dog home. That is why I like the out of doors. Adventure.

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!


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  1. I think you owe your wife a real vacation. Try the Ritz in Naples, Florida. She just might forgive you.

  2. What about the Hotel Halverson in Saint Louis? Next year, maybe?

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