I wanted to do something as a family for the long weekend; something inexpensive that would keep us out of the heat. I knew the kids would love it if we went camping. I'm not a camper, but for them I could make the sacrifice for one or two nights! But I was envisioning a campground with picnic tables, maybe some BBQ stands, latrines and running water.
Since it was Memorial Day weekend all the campsites were full so we had the kids say a prayer that we could find a campsite. We drove to the top of Mogollon Rim and found a spot that was an unmanaged site. (Click here for a map of our location.) There are no tables, latrines or running water and it was cold and raining! It's a good thing I bought a port-a-potty at the last minute!
If there's one thing that I hate it's to be wet and cold! Wet and cold we were! I was really bummed at this point — I thought the weekend would be ruined. As we camped in the cold and rain for two days I heard the kids saying stuff like, "This is the best weekend!", "This is so much fun!" I did not hear one complaint from anyone (except for the complaining that was going on in my head!). Their positive attitude started to rub off on me and the weekend was a lot of fun. Seth was having a great time and I was so amazed by Jeremy. He was chopping wood, putting up tents (in the rain) and working hard next to his dad. I was really impressed. The girls had a blast running around in the rain and hiking.
Notice how wet Jeremy is? He forgot his jacket so I let him use the extra sweatshirt that I had brought for myself. The kids were hungry so we roasted marshmallow's to hold them over till dinner was done at about nine that night. They said the canned beef stew they had was the best stew they ever tasted! Hunger will do that to you!! Later in the night we watched a scary movie, "The Village" on the laptop.
The next morning. The kids had a snack before breakfast — yes, that's ice cream they are eating! I had to break down and buy a jacket. If I was going to be a happy camper then I needed to be warm!
Did I mention that I learned on the way up to the campsite that we were going to cook on an open fire not a camp stove? I was a little put off by this, especially when I realized that we had brought ONE pot to cook in and no pans! We picked up a cast iron pan on the way through Payson. Thank goodness we had four tree stumps to use as tables to prepare food! I guess this is what they mean by roughing it!
The Second night as we were getting ready for bed we discovered that 3 pillows and 1 sleeping bag were drenched with water. The two girls and I slept on a queen size air mattress with two sleeping bags opened up as blankets, Seth slept in a damp sleeping bag and pillow on the floor and Jeremy slept in a sleeping bag on an air mattress without a pillow. This must have been the coldest night. My mattress deflated and I slept on what felt like a big branch. In the morning I found out it was a flash light! I was so grateful when we woke up Sunday morning and the sun was shining. I gave thanks for the warmth of the sun before I got up.
We had fun! Sunday morning as the sun came out I was able to appreciate the beautiful surroundings we were in. It was absolutely beautiful! We hiked around a lake and played some silly games this weekend. Seth had a contest with the kids to see who had the dirtiest face using wet wipes. I played a game with the kids at night we walked into the woods and turned off our flash lights to see if we would get scared. And yes we did! The girls started screaming!
Seth made a comment this weekend, "When plans go awry that's when memories are created!" I could not agree more. There's nothing quite like taking a sponge bath with wet wipes and squatting behind a tree! I'll never forget it!
On our way home...
As we ate breakfast around our table this morning in our cozy home we realized we are grateful for the little things like soft warm beds, running water, and each other! I was truly blessed to come home to a clean house and all our laundry done … Thanks mom! Do you want to come over and do the camping laundry?
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