Camping Review of 2015

“You’re going camping again, aren’t you,”  for most of spring, summer, and fall these are the words that my dad would use to describe what I did this summer.

Camping is a moment where you can leave behind anything that doesn’t allow you to sink into the moment and the surrounding.  Facebook, tomorrow.  Phone, off.  Uh, where did Bentley go?

It’s also a moment to slow down and rework the nonsense that is in my brain.  Something going wrong at school?  It’s on the back burner.  Cabin fever setting in to soon?  Out of the house.  Dog’s getting restless?  Seriously, where’s my dog, I don’t see her?! Or I try to catch up on reading.

Camping is a time not only for the physical aspects of one’s self, but also the emotional.  In a world that stresses on  getting the most likes on instagram, we forget to take care of that inner part of ourselves.  Almost daily.

And as I write this and reflect on the fun I’ve had this year outside.  As I put the finishing touches on the pages in my scrapbook.  The desire to go camping is driving me insane.  Literally that’s all I want to do.

So here’s my prescription…

Most camping experiences have revolved around a similar story.  Beautiful scenery.  Amazing starry sky.  Close friends catching up.  However, each one could stand alone as the high light of the summer.  Or early spring or late fall when it’s obviously too cold to be sleeping outside.

April 4th, 2015

Cedar Mesa, Art’s Point

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The Group: Marshall, Dakota, Michael, Diesel, Bentley, and Mocha

Memorable Moments: The camping began when it became somewhat warm enough to explain why I was sleeping outside.  Poor Mocha had to watch as Bentley and Diesel ran around free as little birds.

 

July 12th, 2015

Fire Road 171

The Group: Marshall, Bentley, Diesel, Kelley, Mike, Freya, Odin, Gaya, Erika, Basil, Mark, Bella, Violet, Chris, Heather, Jordan, Skyler

Memorable Moments:Violet’s friend brought a didoredue….an Australian instrument, and a bunch of fun toys that the boys enjoyed immensely.  The boys throwing hatchets at trees….  It’s actually surprising that we all got out of there with all of our limbs intact.  Violet’s going away camping trip!

August 23rd, 2015

Ashurst Lake

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The Group: Marshal, Bentley, Diesel, Kelley, Mike, Freya, Odin

Memorable Moments:Marshal and Mike not drowning and not catching any fish.  The seeds of book club planted.

September 6th, 2015

Cedar Mesa, Art’s Point

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The Group: Marshall, Bentley, Diesel, Kate, Geoff, Sally

Memorable Moments: It rained off and on for the set up.  Catching up with Kate and Geoff.  Awesome hike in the afternoon and then a morning hike to Birthing Panel.

September 12th, 2015

The Aspen Grove

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The Group: Marshall, Bentley, Diesel, Tammy, Corey, Payton

Memorable Moments: We got our summer shot of our aspen tree.  Marshall and I spent most of the time bonding on our own.  Corey became the dog whisperer when he fell asleep. Fireside morning jokes.

October 11th, 2015

The Colosseum

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The Group: Marshal, Bentley, Diesel, Kelley, Mike, Freya, Odin, Roxanne, Nico, Jordan, Skylar, Mike 2

Memorable Moments: The successful first batch of komboocha.  Over eating.  Rushing to Sunday night football.

2016 Camping Resolutions: Complete a backpacking trip.

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A New Year…

Written 01-12-2014

And it’s time for some New Years Resolutions.  I have three.

1.) Keep my desk at school clean and clear of stray papers.  (Already Failed)

2.) To be more conscious of what I’m eating.  (So far so good, unless I have the opportunity to eat fry bread.  Then it’s a fail.)

3.) To take advantage of this amazing place I’m living in/travel more.

So while 1 and 2 might seem very generic, I’m really looking forward to number 3!  And what a way to start out the new years resolution!  I went with a small group and had no real plans other than to enjoy the local scenery.

The Toes

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Location: A local hiking area called the Toes

Temperature: Was in the range of the 50s.  So while the rest of the country freezes, we are enjoying an uncommonly warm winter.

Who: My friend/coworker Jackie, my boyfriend Marshall, and the dog Diesel Dan

Difficulty: Moderate to  strenuous

Time: 1.5 hours

We started off with no real intention, and we were throwing ideas around as to where we might go first.  The Toes are full of possibilities and I’ve never done the same hike twice.  There are multiple sites of pictographs and remains of native housing.  Though you can’t see it in this picture, there is a giant K tagged on the rocks that you can go to.  There are some formal ceremonial points that make you wonder if the ceremony was about bravery.  Plus some awesome look out points that give you a good view of the local scenery: Black Mesa, Skeleton Mesa, Laguna Creek, and El Capitan.

To get to the rock formation, first we had to climb in and out of an off shoot of Laguna Creek.  Since the weather has been so wonderful, most of the snow has already melted and had begun to run off to join the larger body of water.

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Diesel stands poised, ready to jump in

With Diesel, it’s not a matter of IF he will find water and get dirty, it’s WHEN he will find water and get dirty.  His vote is to always go to Laguna Creek, where he is able to splash and play in the water, and potentially get all of us wet and muddy too.

To much of his dismay, the three humans vetoed Diesel’s desire to continue getting wet and muddy.  Instead we headed towards the actual rock formation.  Before we got to it, we had to first treck over some sand dunes.  Thankfully it’s just cold enough to keep the ground frozen, and make the hiking a little easier.

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Our trail blazer

Diesel seemed unconcerned and unhampered by the sand.  He spent most of the time running ahead of us and then running back to us.

As we neared the base of the rock, we saw we were not the only ones who were enjoying the nice weather.  There are usually people who enjoy the toes.  Some just enjoy the hiking and exploring.  Some use it for their horses, and others use it as part of their exercise routine.  Many times the athletes or service men and women home on leave will run up and down that 45* face.  Which was Jackie’s plan too.

ImageImageSo up the slate rock, my least favorite part of the Toes.

ImageOur goal was to get to the very top and enjoy our lunches and take in the view.  It was a little stop and go, but eventually all three of us made it to the top.  Diesel made it to the top a couple of times.

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More than one close calls with this dog

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While the girl’s talked, the boys explored

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The views made the hike worth it.

Then it was back down the slate slightly, to come down the other side of the Toes.

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I always seem to forget what is on the other side of the actual Toes, and it seems to forget that the rest of the word exists as well.  It is dead silent.   Which is weird to think about, since 163 is not that far away.  I grew up around noise: cars, music, tv, people.  It’s nice to find a place that is silent almost all of the time.

The scenery might seem out of place too.  Being a desert, you’d expect more sand and less green.  But thanks to a heavy rainy season, we were able to enjoy some more vegetation.  There are a variety of shrubs and trees, along with different types of cactus.  I tend to get myself poked with them at least once on every trip.

And if this is here, waiting to be explored, what else is waiting for me? Over the next few hills.  I haven’t done much exploring beyond the Toes, but I’m thinking I might have to go see more as time allows me to.

Overall it was a nice hike to start off the new year.  A little old, mixed with a little new.  As Jackie put it, it’s hard to imagine that we live here.  We live in this little corner of the world that is so beautiful, it’s no stretch of the imagination why the local tribe considered it sacred.  I’m looking forward to the  next few adventures that await us!

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Timer fail

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Marshall, Myself, and Jackie