Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Camping after a long wait!!!

It finally happened, Amanda and I went camping! We have been planning this trip for Two Month’s, but we have needed this trip for a year. I have been working my Ass off for my Mother. Everyday after work Amanda and I would have to go over to my Mom’s House either to take her to Doctor’s appointments or to do a bunch annoying chores that no one else would do. I would have to build shelves, fix broken sprinkler heads, mow the lawn, trim trees, paint stuff, Re-surface the patio and front porch, clean out the alley of years of tree droppings, Cleaning out the sheds, watering and trimming plants around the house, etc,.. She did pay me for the work I’ve done, but like I said it was annoying work. It was because she wanted the work done right away. My Mom has no Patience!!

Here we go; on May 21, 2010 we were growing restless and could not wait any longer. We started packing the van as fast as we could. We had so much stuff we had to cram it into the van. We packed everything but the food. That night we went to bed wishing that we could have left that night instead of in the morning. I set my alarm for about 6am so we could finish packing and go over to Robert’s to help them pack their Trailer for the trip.

The day of the Camping Trip had finally arrived. May 22, 2010 we woke up to the alarm going off. Amanda and I got up and dressed ourselves for the trip. Then we finished packing the van and drove over to Robert’s House. We got to Robert’s by 7am and found out they would not be ready to go for 3 to 4 hours, they told us to go ahead and head up north to Payson so we did. We are finally on our way by 7:30am. I drove to the 202 freeway and got on. My intention was to drive on the 202 to Country Club and get off and take the Bee line toward Payson. But the Department of Transportation or whoever was in charge of the freeway’s decided to close the 202 at Priest Dr. and not put very much effort in letting you know until it was to late. We got on the 202 at 32nd st and headed toward country club, everything was flowing great until we past the last exit till priest. All of a sudden we came to a complete stop then we started to crawl toward priest. We are stuck; it took nearly an hour to get off the freeway. A little after 8:30 am we got on to priest and head as fast as possible toward McDowell rd. McDowell rd goes straight to the bee line highway. Finally we are on the Bee line highway and heading north and out of town. Once we got past Shea Blvd and the Fort McDowell Indian community the traffic thinned out and so I set cruise control to the speed limit. Two boring, but stress free hours later we were in Payson. Since we could not check in at the camp site till 2pm we went to Wal-Mart to finish buying the stuff we needed for camping. We got back on the road and headed up the 260, I decided since we had a lot of time till we could check in, we drove up to the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery. We walked around taking pictures and fed a few of the fish that people were aloud to feed, and then we watched a worker feed the rest of the fish. We then got back into the van; we stayed there for two hours so we could waste time till we could check in.

On the road again, we head toward the camp grounds. Amanda and I decided to drive threw Christopher Creek to waste more time, we got back on the 260 and drove to a view point across from the road that leads to our camp ground on top of the Mogollon Rim. Amanda had to go to the bathroom so while she was in the restroom I went to the view point and took a few pictures she later joined me and we both froze our butts off because we were dressed for summer and on the Rim it was very cold still.

Before we left the view point she grabbed warmer clothes and changed in the bathroom I just threw on a jacket, ahhh warmth. We left the view point and crossed the 260 to the road that led toward the camp grounds, we made one more stop at another view point took more pictures and then drove to the camp grounds but it was still to early to check in so we kept driving and we to the lake (Woods Canyon Lake) down the road and walked around for awhile. Its time to check in, we drove to our camp grounds (Aspen camp grounds) and so we Checked in and listened to the speech of the rules from the Camp host. Finally we arrived at our camp site and started to unpack the van and set up our tent. It is now 2pm and Amanda and I are trying to set up the Tent. By 3pm the tent is up the van is unloaded. Robert and Kathi finally arrive and try to park their trailer at their site next to ours. Robert could not back the trailer in, so Robert and I pushed it into place and he and his wife set up their pop up trailer.

We made dinner and ate, after we finish eating Robert and I got our Crayfish traps out and baited them with Chicken and drove to the lake, then we hiked to a good spot and threw them in for the night. We hiked back to the vehicle and went back to camp and got ready for bed. We are asleep by 9pm.

May 23rd, 2010 after a rough, cold, and restless night, I wake up around 4:30am because I can’t sleep anymore. The tent is a beautiful tent but not made for cold weather. Robert couldn't sleep any longer just like me he got up around 4:30 am. We both got dressed and went outside our tent/trailer. 6am came and Robert and I went down to the lake to retrieve the traps. We have four traps between us; we hiked to the locations of the traps and empty them into a bucket. We had close to 30 crayfish in the bucket. We grabbed the traps and hiked back to the vehicle and went back to the camp site to eat breakfast. After we ate breakfast Amanda and I loaded our fishing equipment into the van. Robert would not be ready to go fishing for an hour so we went on ahead. We had to find a good spot that sheltered us from the wind because the wind was blowing 20 to 30 mph at times. Amanda and I got our fishing poles ready and started fishing. An hour or so later Robert arrived to fish; I had already caught one trout by the time he showed up. We brought power bait with us and that is what I caught the first fish on. We continued fishing with no luck; Robert brought corn so we fished with this too. Robert decided to buy worms since everyone around us seemed to be using it and catching lot of fish. Bam as soon as we started using worms we started catching trout. Around noon we got hungry so we packed up the fishing equipment and went back to camp. We caught a total of six trout, I caught 4, Robert caught 2, Amanda nearly caught one but she did not land it fast enough and it fell off the hook, plus she was fishing on top of a boulder. We Drove back to camp and ate lunch, Robert, Kathi, and Amanda lay down to take a nap I did not. Around 5pm we made dinner and after we ate; Robert, Amanda and I went back to the lake around 6:30pm to set the Crayfish traps again for the night. We baited the traps with the smaller of the trout we caught the larger one Kathi saved to eat. When we arrived at the lake people were still fishing, we did not want to set the traps were people could see them. The last time Robert went camping he set out his traps and people messed with them. We walked around a bend out of sight of the people and set the traps in the water. We finished setting the four traps and went back to camp. When we got back Robert turned on a weather radio and it said there was a cold front moving in, Amanda and I could not take another cold night in the tent. We emptied out the van and set up a bed in it and we went to bed, we were asleep again by 9pm. Well I thought I was going to sleep, I tossed and turned all night. I woke up every couple of hours thinking it was morning, 12am, 2am, 3:30am, and finally 4:30am I had enough. It was cold outside the van and in the van. The temp over night was in the low 30’s.

Morning May 23rd, 2010 my back was killing me, sleeping in a Mini van is not comfortable when you are 6’ 5”, my feet hit the front seats and my head was nearly touching the back door. Around 5:30am Robert and I set off to retrieve the traps. Three of the crayfish traps were also minnow traps so guess what we caught a lot of. We dumped the crayfish into the bucket and gathered everything up and headed back to the camp site to eat breakfast. After Breakfast Amanda and I put the van back together so later we could all drive back to the lake in one vehicle. The four of us arrived at the lake around 8:30am and decided to rent a couple of boats. We walked to the lake store and rented the boats, but we had to walk down to the dock to get on the boats. It was 8:55am when we got onto the boats and were under way. Robert and Kathi went one way and Amanda and I went the other. The boats went a scary max speed of 2.2 mph and as slow as 1 mph. Amanda and I puttered around trying to troll but no luck, Robert and Kathi had no luck either. Robert found a tree sticking out of the lake and tied up to it so we tied up to it also. The wind was so strong it kept pushing our boats around making it hard to fish in one area. After an hour of this and with no luck Amanda and I untied and explored the lake. We tried to fish here and there but nothing. It was getting close to time to return the boats so Amanda and I headed back toward the dock. Since we had only planned on renting the boats for four hours we headed in around 12:30pm. A four hour boat rental cost 45 dollars and an eight hour rental cost 85 dollars. Besides the cost of being out longer Roberts and my back were killing us. When we got out of the boats we found out Robert and Kathi had caught at least 5 trout to our zero trout. We went back to the lake store to pay for the rentals (49 dollars each boat after taxes).

My back was hurting so I laid down to rest it, I was too long for one picture so Amanda took two.

I merged the two picture to show how long I was in the boat.

We packed the fish and fishing equipment into the van and headed back to camp to eat lunch. Robert, Kathi, Amanda, and I laid down in our Tent/trailer to take a nap. The temp was in the 60 something degree range and was very beautiful with very little wind. After awhile Amanda and I got up from our nap and were bored so we explored the camp grounds. We returned to the camp fixed Dinner and around 6 pm Robert and I headed back to the lake to set the traps yet again for the night. Robert decided he was tired of hiking to put out the traps so he put his traps in a new area and I hiked to the old area to set my traps. We went back to camp for the night and it was getting cold and since we were allowed to build a campfire now we started one and sat around the campfire roasting marshmallows and after we finished doing that I threw something into the fire to change the flame color to blue and green. It was getting late so we put the fire out and headed for bed. The temp tonight was supposed to be colder then before so Amanda and I made our bed in the van again. This time I left the Van running all night to keep us warm. I tossed and turned all night again but I was able to sleep till 5:30am instead of 4:30am. During one of the times I was awake tossing I checked the temp outside it was 19 degrees and 50 degrees in the van.

May 24th, 2010 I got up and let Amanda sleep longer. Robert and I left in his truck to get the traps. I hiked to my traps and Robert walked to his traps, my first trap had maybe 10 or more crayfish in it the second trap had a hundred minnows and a few crayfish in it. I started panning the minnows out like I was panning for gold, when I was done I gathered my traps and hiked back to Robert. I discovered when I got back to Robert his first trap had nothing in it and well his second trap we don’t know as it was snagged under water. Robert and I tried for an hour or so to free it with no luck so back to camp with out it. When we got back to camp we ate breakfast. After Breakfast Amanda and I had to start packing up our camp site as it was almost time to check out. Robert and Kathi were staying till Saturday so they helped us pack and we put all the crayfish into two one gallon size Ziploc bags and put them into one of my ice chests so we could freeze them for the trip back to Phoenix. We were able to keep them alive in a bucket of water using an aerator for the 3 days I was camping; this also helped purge them of the food/poop that was in them. In Arizona crayfish are not native so they can not be transported alive. Amanda and I took down the tent and packed everything back into the van so we could head home. While we were packing Kathi grabbed Amanda’s camera and started taking pictures of us and of the camp sites.

We said our goodbyes and left, as we were driving home I stopped at one of the many view points along the Mogollon Rim and took pictures of ourselves and we also stopped off at the View Point across the 260 again to take more pictures there.

We got back into the van and drove straight into Payson and stopped at the McDonald’s for lunch. They screwed up my order oh well I was hungry and I did not want to go back to fix it so I ate it. We left Payson and drove straight home no stopping. Along the way my twin Brother Mike and His wife and Kid drove past us as they were heading up to the same camp site I just left three hours earlier. We past each other just outside of the Fort McDowell Indian Community border. An hour later we were at home unpacking the van. Boy it is hot here in Phoenix; it’s been cold up on the Rim. I received a text from Robert Around 2pm and it said he went back to retrieve the stuck trap and it came up very easy. It had like 10 or more crayfish in it. We meaning Amanda finished unpacking, we took showers ate dinner and had to deal with our cats who missed us a lot then we went to bed. (Oh sweet sweet comfortable warm bed how I missed you.)

The End

Wait my neighbor is playing his music loud, I MISS THE QUIET WOODS!!!!