Rim View

September 15, 2009

When Herbie woke up Friday morning, he staggered into Moo’s bedroom where we were picking out the perfect car-trip-to-go-camping outfit.

“I don’t know if I can do it,” he wheezed.

“But – but – but… I ALREADY MADE THE CHEX MIX!” I wanted to shout. But instead I just gave him sad eyes and suggested he take a really long shower.

20 minutes later he re-emerged and declared himself camping-ready. Hooray!

We packed our tiny Honda Civic until it was bursting at the seams (Herbie: “Maybe you should start thinking about things we can leave behind.” What? The Bailey’s? The mini powdered donuts? The three bags of toys? Are you crazy?!) and drove off toward Payson. I guess this is the month where I realize I have not been properly exploring my home state, because I had no idea the drive to Payson was so beautiful. Have I ever even been to Payson? No idea.

Over the last few years, Herbie and I have developed a habit of bitching about living in Phoenix and secretly plotting our escape to Portland/Redondo Beach/Canada/Spain. But our recent trips have reminded me that Arizona is a stunning state. Lately, when I think of desert, I picture the dry, dusty mountains I see every day in town, pockmarked by gray shrubs and the occasional lonely saguaro. But the desert we drove through on Friday – now that’s desert! Ocotillos, century plants, palo verde trees, mesquite, ironwood, and an entire army of saguaros marching down every hillside – the whole thing looked exactly like the illustration accompanying my 4th grade “Desert Life” report, minus the happy quail taking a ride on the back of a rattlesnake.  If the Phoenix mountains looked like that, I might actually go hiking. I would have taken a picture, but the camera bag was wedged between the lantern and… three bags of toys.

We reached Woods Canyon Lake just after lunch, and found that all the campgrounds closest to the lake were full, but no matter – we found the perfect little campground just a 10 minute walk from this:

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As I told Moo, “It’s the whole wide world!” She was not so impressed. But she was delighted with our foresty set-up:

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We all barely survived the first night – Herbie decided to sleep in his own tiny tent to protect us from his germs, but Moo kept waking up wailing, whether she was cold or kept forgetting where she was, I don’t know.  Finally I begged Herbie to come sleep with us, because I was freezing, too, and Herbie could heat a small town with his self-generating warmth (it’s his superpower).

Then, Saturday – just about a perfect day.  We ate Hostess powdered donuts, collected rocks, walked to the rim, had a picnic at the lake and then we all cuddled in the tent during a dramatic afternoon thunderstorm.  That night we ate hot dogs, roasted marshmallows and sang songs around the campfire.  Then I held Moo in my arms, and we sang all the star songs we could think of as we gazed up at the sky.  After she fell peacefully asleep in the tent (this time wearing about six layers), Herbie and I cuddled by the fire and tossed pinecone after pinecone into the flames – WHOOSH!

The next day, we lazed around our campsite until finally, the weather decided it was time for us to go home.  With just about 10 minutes of packing left, it started sprinkling on our heads, but as experienced campers, we laughed it off and continued rolling up sleeping bags.  Then the sprinkling turned to bonafide rain, and then suddenly, the clouds burst.  “Moooo!”  I called, as the rain pelted us.  I scooped her up and ran toward the car, our only shelter.  I stashed her in the backseat.  “Mommmmyyy!” she cried, but I handed her Hop and a can of Pringles and giggled, “It’s raining, weeee!”  She stuffed her mouth full of Pringles and peered out at the door at her crazy Mommy and Daddy running around madly in the rain.  (Okay, I was running around madly.  Herbie was cool as a cucumber.)  But really, what’s a camping trip without a good soaking?  When we finally unearthed the umbrella, Herbie opened it and held it over our already drenched heads.  Then he kissed me.

“Great weekend,” he said.


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Making our “scary” faces.

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Throwing rocks into the lake – why is that always so delightfully satisfying?

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From toy bag #1…we always had special toys that only came out on camping trips (Oh, how I miss you, Suzy-Goes-Camping), and I intend on  continuing that tradition.

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Didja hear the one about the horse, the pig, and the deer who went for a drive?

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My little angel, trying to hide the fact that she’d been chewing the same mouthful of carrots for 10 minutes.


3 Responses to “Rim View”

  1. millie Says:

    If I can’t get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, this is my favorite place to go for a day trip to walk the trail and have a picnic lunch on real china with real silverware. Not very “campy” but an elegant picnic on the Rim. Great story!

  2. Beth H. Says:

    looks like it was a wonderful trip!

  3. from the wings Says:

    Whoosh, goes the pinecone! It all really was that wonderful.

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