Sunday, May 20, 2012

Croix's First Camping Trip

This weekend, I (Brent) took Croix camping for the first time.  He was so excited about going, he would say, "let's go camping!" every day for a week before we left. 
I wanted to go before the baby came and had a free Saturday so I asked a few friends if they wanted to go too.  Due to the short notice, only one friend was able to come.  I took a few hours of vacation time on Friday so we could leave early enough to get a good spot before the sun went down.  While Croix was napping, I loaded up the car and got ready to go.  As soon as he woke up, we were on our way.  There are a few forest fires burning in Arizona right now, and we drove by one.  The entire mountain was on fire and smoke filled the canyons around it.  We drove through a thick cloud of smoke at one point and the car filled with the smell of a campfire.  Croix said it smelled yummy. 
The place we were planning on going is about 2 hours from our house so I thought Croix would be OK until we got to Payson for a potty break.  About 30 miles outside of Payson, Croix says he needs to go pee-pee.  There was a rest stop not far ahead so I thought he would be able to make it.  As soon as the stop is in sight, there is a sign that says, "rest stop closed."  We pulled off any way to go in the bushes.  as soon as we pulled into the turn lane, Croix announces he went went in his pants.  We cleaned up and continued on to Payson for an early dinner.  Croix wanted a hot dog so we went to Sonic.  After ordering our meal, Croix pushed the button to order again.  "I want a hot dog please!"  He wanted to make sure he got his hot dog.  After dinner and some gummy bears at the gas station, we started on the last leg of our trip. 
We got to our planned spot at Willow Springs Lake, but there was no overnight camping allowed there.  I called my friend and we decided to meet at the store at Woods Canyon Lake to decide where to go.  He was about half an hour behind me so Croix and I stopped on the edge of the rim to enjoy the view. 

The wind was blowing really hard, but Croix enjoyed being in the forest.

Once we met up with my friend, we decided to head into the forest a few miles and look for a spot.  We found a nice clear, flat spot surrounded by pine trees.  We set up our tents and started up the camp stove to roast some marshmallows for smores (there was a campfire ban that started the morning before we left).  We sat around a talked until the sun went down.  We got our PJ's on but Croix was not ready for bed yet.  We looked at stars for a while until 9:00 when I climbed into the tent with Croix.  After we got settled in our sleeping bags, Croix went right to sleep and didn't wake up until 6 the next morning.  I on the other hand only slept 3 or 4 hours total.  It was pretty cold (about 45 degrees) so every time Croix moved, I would make sure he was covered up.  Right at 6:00, he woke up shivering.  We warmed up some water for hot chocolate and bundled up in a big coat.  He was in heaven.

After a breakfast of blueberry pancakes, sausage, and orange juice, the dads cleaned up and put away camp while the kids ran around and played. 

We found a lizzard sunning itself on a rock.  We also saw a catapiller crossing the road and stopped to check it out.

 During a hike, Croix found his "favorite walking stick".

 Once we left camp, we headed over to Willow Springs Lake to do some fishing.  Croix loved this as well.  The spot we picked out had a pile of pistachio shells that Croix thought were sea shells and kept throwing them in the lake.

After a little while at the lake, we headed over to Tonto Creek.  We found a nice deep pool and dropped our lines in.  We could see the fish go after our lures but no bites.  After a while we decided to pack it up and head out.
 My friend and his kids headed home while Croix and I headed to the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery.  This is where they grow the fish that are stocked into the local lakes and streams.  Croix enjoyed running around and looking at all the fish.

After the hatchery, we headed back to Payson for lunch then back home.  Throughout the whole trip, Croix kept saying how much fun he was having.  Soon after leaving Payson, Croix declared that he wanted to go camping again.

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