We finally took our first family camping trip. Jimmy had been begging to go camping with Baabee for about the last year and a half. We didn't know how well the kids would actually fare so we decided to start with just one night. We were originally going to test the tent in the backyard, but once the summer hit, that no longer seemed prudent. We headed up to the Mogollon Rim to a spot my dad found called the Blue Ridge Reservoir in the Coconino National Forest. It is just about 45 minutes to an hour North of Payson. The only part of the trip Jimmy wasn't a huge fan of was the car trip. He asked, "When are we going to be there?" about 10 minutes into the drive when we weren't even to Scottsdale yet. I felt like such a cliche parent being annoyed by it, but after the 25th time it really does get old. We played car games that he really liked, but he refused to take a nap so it seemed a little long. He was very happy to get out of the car, when we stopped in Payson for breakfast at the Knotty Pine Cafe.
I had never been, but it is a spot my dad likes. It is very much your classic hole in the wall country diner. We were too full for pie after our big meal, so we made a point to stop by again on our way home just to get some. We tried all four kinds that they had that day and all were delicious.
Next we drove to the camp ground which was about a 10 minute drive from the water.
Since we went in the middle of the week we had no trouble getting a camp site, but apparently on the Thursday night they usually all get snatched up (they don't take reservations). Jimmy was so excited about the tent and wanted to help with everything.
Even with no sleeping bags set up yet, my boys had fun playing inside the tent.
Don't some snacks just seem more fun when you are camping?
We did go to the water for awhile after we set up our camp, but I forgot my camera in the car so I took it as an opportunity to relax sans camera. After the sun started going down, we went back to camp to start getting a fire ready for dinner. Jimmy was slightly disappointed that they had metal fire pits and not the classic stone circles that he had seen in books, but I explained that this is safer even if it is not quite as cool.
We tried making this play spot for Gus, but he wasn't interested in anything but the rocks and dirt.
For dinner we made hot dogs and beans (... and then we all had to sleep in the same tent). We didn't do smores because no one was that interested, but Jimmy insisted on roasting marshmallows.
The next morning Baabee woke up with the sun. Then when Jimmy woke up he and Baabee had some fun time together making a set-up for his cars.
Eventually, Mom and Dad and Gus all woke up, too.
We made this bucket into Gus' playpen.
Jimmy just loved being surrounded by nature and was entertained by gathering sticks and rocks and other treasures. He was on the look out for small critters and we happened upon these two favorites:
Then we headed back to the water. It used to be a river, but it has been dammed up, so now it is just a really long, narrow lake (as seen on the sign below)
It was quite beautiful.
We drove to the end of the lake to see the dam.
Then Gus took this picture of us:
(... okay, fine, it was really a park ranger.)
It is sort of a steep hike down to the water, but we managed and Jimmy was so proud of how much exercise he was getting, and didn't want to hold anyone's hand which made his mom nervous. Then he was brave enough to jump into the water to Baabee, but he didn't want to go under (I don't blame him).
Then Zach jumped in, too.
But he didn't stay in long either.
Even Gus actually liked the water for awhile, but eventually we had to bundle up in our towels since the sun kept hidding behind the clouds.
Zach tried fishing for while, but all he caught was a crawdad.
We had a great time and then Gus drove us home.
Jimmy is all set for our next trip, but he wants to stay longer and he wants his cousins to come, too.
So start getting ready Burches. Jimmy has plans.