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April Camping

May 7, 2008

Ok ok I get it. It is May and has been for a week. Well I finally have a minute and am posting up the pictures and thoughts from our camping excursion on April 25th through 27th for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Mongolon Rim spillway

So we decided that the best way to relax and get away from church responsibilities for a weekend was to go camping away from the nicities of 10,000 years of human progress. I think that if you know me at all, I hold a highly skeptical view of camping to begin with mostly due to the fact that I kind of find it illogical. I do like the outdoors. Really I do. I just do not see the need to go out and sleep on the hard ground in the elements when there is a perfectly good hotel right down the street with a restaurant that could probably make you a smore if you really asked nicely.

Anyway the point of this is not necessarily to convince anyone of the merits or demerits (?) of camping. We did have a really good time setting up camp in the dark on Friday night assisted by the lights from our car. Saturday was also a really great day. There are pictures posted up on Facebook here if you would like to see them.

We went up to a lake, the name of which I forget at the moment but then we discovered the spillway that leads out of the lake. It looked really pretty and green down in the spillway valley so we hiked down the precipice and then slowly meandered our way down the valley. It was really nice to be off of the beaten trail, we let Java off the leash and she proceeded to run right into the pools of water and go swimming just for the fun of it. I don’t have much to say about this place other than it was really beautiful up there and we did have a really good time. I think that our next small group camping trip will possibly be up there.

Java jumping in Mongolon Rim spillway

We headed back to camp around 3:30 or so. I squeaked out a narrow victory over Erin in Scrabble and everything remained right in the world. We ate dinner and turned in early probably around 8:30 or so since it is really dark and we were tired from being active in the sun all day.

Now this next part needs a little bit of explaining. My camping experiences with Erin so far have been very memorable. The first time we went, it was before we had sub zero sleeping bags and we went in late October. It was so cold that we actually had to bust out the emergency foil blanket for the night in order to not freeze. The second time we went was at Lockett Meadow and while we had a great time, and went to the Grand Canyon etc, it rained and hailed so much that we literally could see the rivers of water running down the hill The Route back from campingand surrounding our tent. It was pretty amazing. So in my mind camping is not 0-2 necessarily because we had a great time and great memories, but it was far from the relaxing experience that it has portrayed by my wife.

Well who would have guessed. This time a third element decided to manifest itself. The wind that night was so strong that it literally ripped two of our tent pegs out of the ground. We were getting 60 mph wind gusts regularly. I have not felt that much steady hard wind since I was in a hurricane. It was so no conducive to sleeping since the tent was literally being blown inside out, I was getting hit in the head with the plastic 

poles as they were flexing. I finally had to sleep in what I have termed “The Superman Position” with my right arm stretched out above me in a fist to keep the tent just that much more taught (I feel it necessary at this point to say indubitably in a voice that is reminiscent of Travis Turk) so that we could pretend to get some sleep. The long and the short of it is that at 2:30 after about 5 hours of constant wind Erin finally said that this was miserable and she wanted to go home. My wife is a camper. She has been camping her entire life and for her to give in and say that this sucked was a pretty amazing event. I felt bad because even though I thought it was miserable too, I know that she looks forward to it so much and here was another weather phenomenon ruining her special event. So we decided to break camp at about 6:00 once it got light. It was pretty tough packing up in that kind of wind. It never really did let up and we finally go back out on the road at about 8.

Now you may think this is the end of the adventure but no there is definitely more. It is now Sunday morning and we could easily make it back to church before service starts at 11 but kind of the whole point was to take a week off. So we hatched the plan of stop at Starbucks in the nearest town and then take the scenic route back to Phoenix. Well that sounds good to me and I trust Erin with maps so we decided that we Reticulating Splineswould take 87 to 188 to 88 and then be back on the 60 in Phoenix. Everything was going well. Scenery was nice. Had some caffine. We drove past Roosevelt Lake which was way above its normal level becasue of our really wet winter, and then we got to the junction for 88 and saw the sign for Phoenix 50 something miles. It was shortly followed by a sign that said asphalt ends 1 mile. Hmmm…turn back and go the really long way around or get an extra badge on my man card and drive on a dirt road for a long way. I decided to go with the man card.

The same facebook album has some of the pictures from this 24 mile stretch of dirt road that literally is just sometimes a single lane stuck on the side of a cliff with no guard rails. It was incredible. And we were in our Honda Accord. Looking back, it probably was not as bad as it seemed in the moment. There were beautiful views and overall not that much traffic. I do not really see the need to do it again unless I have to but it was definately an experience I will remember for a long time.

Well this turned into quite the mammoth post. If there is anyone still reading at this point, I applaud you. I will have more posts relating events from the last couple weeks coming up later.

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