Sunday, August 28, 2011


What began as weeks ago, then last week, then two nights, turned into a one nighter. I told Allison, weeks ago, when they had their first family campout, that it was just as much prep for one night as for six nights...the clothing just increased. This trip was no exception. However, due to the high Phoenix temps, we could not take the un-air conditioned 15 passenger van. Thus, four adults were crammed into a jeep. That meant that gear had to be minimal. Thus, cooking gear was eliminated, tents were eliminated...It ended up that I, fortunately, asked a good question: "Is my sleeping bag in there?" for there had been a question during packing and NO sleeping bags had been included. (Gone are the days of making sure mom is comfortable). Unfortunately, I did not continue my inquiry, for the dining canopy was ALSO eliminated, not to be discovered until we arrived at our camping site, which meant hot sunny meals, and no place to hide as a group when summer mountain rains come. Mommy was NOT happy. Though this fact was not discovered, as I said, the mere instance that I had spent hours planning and packing food and comforts for the group, while NO ONE had thought of my sleeping bag, my photos had a theme, in my mind, from the beginning: "Why This Is Mom's LAST Woods Canyon Lake Campout".

Trip began, after loading, and "heated debate" over various inclusions. We set out. We were on the road. The canoe ropes loosened. We had to pull over and re-tie.

This is Nathan preparing for a campout
This is Dad preparing for a camping trip

 We continued. Then, the jeep "idiot light" indicating overheating came on. (Pictures of said occurrence were strictly forbidden, though I tried and tried) With heater on, and a/c off, we limped into Payson. We stopped at the gas station. We cooled off the radiator. I snapped pics...Another reason for this to be my last trip.

Dad using his water bottle to cool down the engine.

Puddle from cool down effort.

Doughnut at Whiting Station being eaten by ants.
We stopped at the Payson WalMart to pick up forgotten stuff.

Nate bought 6 lighters...and ruined every one of them.

We continued. The pics of the road are for my memories of numerous trips up on the Mogollon Rim. Who would believe that while Phoenix was roasting in record 117 degree weather, there would be, merely 2 hours away, lovely forests and mountains and rain clouds.

We neared camp. Dad wanted to pass this guy with the tent trailer. We didn't. Kind of obvious what pigs we would have been. He had a reservation. We did not.

It still worked out, though Dee and I waited in line, and Nate and Doran removed their bikes and road down to the lake...and the lake store for much loved pickled sausages. Camp Fees were 18 bucks...PER CAMPING UNIT...meaning that the jeep Dee and I were to sleep in was 1 camping unit, and the tent we carried up for Ethan and Cam was yet another camping unit...and Doran and Nate's cots...well, we just didn't let the lady know that they originally were going to sleep under the stars. Who wanted yet two more camping units. The sign says 8 person per site limit. When our kids were little, we had the girls in the van, Dee and I had a tent, Nate and Ethan had a tent, Doran and Morgan had a tent.That would then have equalled 4 camping units! I LOVE the federal government bilking people! Ummmm, sorry for the political aside. We got our site, said to be covered with trees...ummm, not so much! We quickly left for the lake, gave the boys the canoe,

and Dee and I hiked around the lake. I used to LOVE this hike every day. We could see the eagles nest then. Now, apparently, we bother them, though they didn't seem bothered when tons of people were fishing on the lake and they were flying up and down trying to find fish...and I mean there were tons of people...Eagle and eaglets flew up and down...tons of rowboats...tons of kids...eagles and eaglets dove down on the lake trying to catch a fish. Anyway, the trail went way away from the shore. It was hot. At least, for Woods Canyon Lake. (Oh, how soon we forget. I ran...three miles...that 95 degree heat at 4am...didn't seem that hot. And it wasn't nearly that hot!)

We rested. I even broke my "no scenery pictures" rule. Gave Dee the camera...he said there was great contrast etc.

The trail went off in the forest. Boring. So, we left and went by the lake trail...through poison

It took three hours. I was so glad to be done. I was hungry. So I ate soda crackers.

We got back to camp, we were hungry. We had no wood. Nathan found some, so we started a fire. Dad cooked foil dinners. Oh, so good! We had prepped them the night before. Doran even cooked the fish he caught.
Nate rode his bike to gather this wood. It was kinda hard to fit in the pit, being has we had NO AXE (again, note bitterness in tone) but I stomped and he beat it on the asphalt parking place.

King Ethan's minions set up the tent. Ethan and Cam got there at about 9:30 pm.

Lexi even came! She had LOADS of fun, as you will see.

Poor Exhausted Mother was Photo Sabotaged...No One Will Admit to this...but Nathan appears extremely guilty!

Lexi likes Nate's cot!

Again...I was getting...very.little.sleep. in the jeep. My head was downhill. I kept waking up to my legs pinned down by my sweet husband's reclined seat. I finally begged to open the rear door behind him so my legs could stick out. NOTE TO SELF: Never sleep in Jeep again. Better yet, donate this vehicle, as well, to Guantanamo Bay for Terrorist Torture. I would take waterboarding any day!

Middle of the night potty patrol. I went and the sky was just full of stars. So many that I couldn't see my Orion. (I love when I can see Orion when I run. I know Fall will soon arrive.)There were so many stars, I couldn't even locate it. Later, the sky was just becoming light. Finally, I found my Orion.

Breakfast: fruit, mom's cinnamon rolls, or anything else you could find!

We discovered that Ethan could sleep through pretty much anything! Soooo not like his dad, who wakes when I try to sneak out in the morning and run...and a moth bats his eyelid.

This is Lexi...smiling!

Ethan was forced out of bed, and got Cameo all sunscreened so we could go. I soooo should have used some. I have a right arm with an awesome farmers sunburn!

Morning came. It was the first time I wasn't terribly cold up there...just cool.

We went to the lake...and they fished, and I took pictures.

You have heard of pistol whipped? Well, this is Fish Whipped!

Lexi was very impressed. This is impressed Lexi!

Lots of pictures.

Lexi is terribly impressed at the crawdad. This is Lexi, terribly impressed.

While all was being taken down, Lexi sat and waited...and waited...and waited...

Lexi is impatient. This is Lexi, Impatient.

Lexi and Ethan at Tonto Creek.

This is Lexi, Curious...and damp.

Doran snagged this HUGE trout!

Came time that the clouds were forming, and the daily rim rain was eminent...and since we HAD NO DINING CANOPY (note the bitterness)We packed up, and started back. The weather was cloudy and cool and drizzly. So, we took a brief stop at Tonto Creek. Beautiful. Fishing. We even had a picnic lunch on a rock. I was no pics.

Then we happily headed and happy.

Then we opened the car doors...and were BLASTED with 114 degree heat.

Take. Me. Back.