We decided early this summer that it had been much too long since we went camping. In fact, the last time we went I was pregnant with Lilah. The thought of taking Lilah last year was too much, she was barely crawling, let alone walking, and stuffing everything in front of her in her mouth. But this year, we felt she was ready to experience roughing it. Shannon took off two days and we originally were thinking of going for three nights. However as it approached, I started to chicken out. I am fighting nausea and exhaustion. I wasn't sure how well Lilah would sleep in the tent. And I was having trouble getting us ready to go at all, with everyday adding extra planning, packing, and cooking.
We made it out Thursday morning just after 10. We had the car packed with us and the dogs and were pulling the trailer with the gear. We made our way out of the city and up into the hills. The temperature kept dropping. The clouds were forming up ahead and we commented on how we better set up camp fast because it looked like we were going to get some afternoon rain. We checked out several campgrounds around the Woods Canyon Lake area and decided on one. Lilah and the dogs were both whining to get out at this point. We were literally at the site for 5 minutes when we felt the first drops. Shannon rushed to get the tent up since we had already pulled it out and Lilah and I sat underneath the back door of the car as the rain started to pick up. Once the tent was mostly up, with rainfly, Shannon joined us and the five of us cuddled at the back of the car for about 20 minutes while it poured. Then it started clearing and we thought we were good. We unpacked more of the car and started to get set up. But the dark clouds didn't let up and soon it was raining again. We tried to sit for awhile under the shelter we rigged, but we were getting wet and our campsite was turning into one big puddle. Shannon took this picture with his cell phone because I was too afraid to bring my camera out of the car even in its bag.
I decided that I could at least be setting up in the tent while we waited for the rain to subside so Lilah and I retreated to the tent. Shannon ran back and forth bringing the suitcases, sleeping bags, and pack n play. I set up and Lilah "helped." It was pouring rain at this point with lightning and thunder directly overhead. Lilah handled it really well. A couple of the cracks of thunder made me jump out of my skin. It wasn't long before we realized we were hungry. So Shannon braved the elements and cooked us dinner. I wished I had the camera with me in the tent to take a picture of Shannon, standing in a puddle with shorts and sandals on, the rain coming down in sheets, in front of the camp stove. We made it out of the tent briefly while the rain slowed to a drizzle to eat. But all got soaking wet. As soon as we were done we were back in the tent and never made it out the rest of the night. Lilah went down relatively easily and was asleep before 8:30. Shannon and I were going to wait out the rain and then go back out when it slowed, but were both asleep by the time that happened. The rain continued off and on all night, but we woke up to a beautiful morning.
We were able to sneak out of the tent around 7 without Lilah waking! I started hot water and was headed to the bathroom when I saw the most amazing sight.
And the second most amazing sight of the morning...
Once we were all up we got breakfast and walked around the campground. Then we decided to take a drive and go investigate the area more. The campground is located right next to the beautiful Mogollon Rim, at about 7,500 ft. It is beautiful. I wish we would have explored it/hiked it a little more. Instead we decided to drive into the forest about 20 more miles off the highway to a small campground/lake area (Knolls Lake) to investigate the campground. We are looking for a great place, a little more off the beaten path, but with amenities and this one seemed to fit the bill. It was a great little lake. Clear, beautiful, small boat ramp, and chilly. We had PB&J on the shore while Lilah and the dogs waded. But we could see the clouds building again and rolling in, so we didn't stay long. It was worth the drive and spectacular views from the rim.
We had about an hour after getting back before the rain rolled in.
|Doritos - ultimate camping snack|
|Camping war wounds|
|Taking a nap on her rock|
|I told her to sit on a rock to take her daily picture - all kinds of large flat boulders around, this is the one she picked|
|Here it comes!|
I was preparing myself for another night in the tent, and NOT looking forward to it. I got Lilah and I better dressed for rain and pulled out some things to keep us busy in the rain, outside, as long as possible. This time the rain/hail down poured about 15 minutes, drizzled another hour, and then let up. We never even had to escape to the tent.
|My umpteenth hot chocolate session of the trip|
Morning two, I woke up to voices at 5 AM. Lilah made in until 6:30. It definitely wasn't the same calm scene as the morning before. Instead of two elk, I got to see a trail of red cups heading to the bathroom. Oh well. We had a great breakfast, which always makes everything better.
Lilah was a little grumpy this morning. Everytime she would pick up a toy she would cry out that it was dirty and throw it back down. Every five minutes, she would whine and ask for us to wash her hands. Poor thing, I don't think she understood the beauty of camping, and was ready to go home. I was tired, and so Shannon and Lilah took the dogs for a walk while I laid down before packing. A must - the camping nap! Lilah played around while Shannon I took our time packing up the campsite to head home. Conner was ready to head home too.
|The biggest smile of the day - when I asked her if it was time to go home.|
I am really glad we went. It was a really nice trip. Even the night spent in the tent was worth it. I think Lilah will love camping, as soon as we can convince her it is ok to get dirty while camping. And I am so glad we only stayed two nights. I am exhausted. But not as exhausted as Lilah was for the ENTIRE ride home. Literally, OUT, before we left the campground.