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Camping Mission Accomplished

by Nick Coons
Oct 1, 2003

Last week at this time, I was writing about my pending camping trip, and how odd it was that my wife had agreed to go. I didn't believe it would happen until it actually did. I was in denial and felt the whole thing was a dream. I anticipated an excuse of some sort, "I'm sick," "I'm not feeling well," or, "I changed my mind." But that's not what happened. The camping trip began exactly as we had originally planned.

We started out early in the morning, early for us, on Saturday, and packed everything into the truck. Our drive took us first to the Sunset Point rest area, then to the campground on 89A in Oak Creek Canyon just south of the switchbacks leading to Flagstaff. We found a spot, crunched in by everyone else, then paid the ridiculous price of $16 to stay overnight.

Our dog, Harley, jumped out of the truck. This must have been his first camping trip as well. It seemed as if there was so much to sniff and so little time. He could hardly contain himself. As we began hiking along the creek, he jumped from rock to rock like a natural, and we could tell he was so excited to be there.

After settling in for a bit, we setup our tent and began unloading our supplies. Because we were in a canyon, dark sets in earlier, so our next step was to search for firewood. Of course, it could be purchased at such a commercialized campground, right next to the ice and the vending machines. But I was accustomed to finding firewood, and I was not about to go out and buy it now. Of course, in such a dense area, everything usable has already been scavenged. So with the only wood I could find, wet wood, it took nearly 45 minutes to start a fire and have it catch.

Dinner was great, and consisted of barbecued chicken, baked potatoes, and roasted corn-on-the-cob. The best corn is camping corn, and pro-camping point made very obvious to my wife. See how this works?

The night was a little cool, but was a great start to hot chocolate and breakfast the next morning. We were refreshed and ready for more hiking that day before leaving. And whenever we're in the area, we must fill up as many water jugs and containers as possible from the spring water that flows constantly in that area. This is better than any bottled water I've ever tasted. If only I could have this piped directly to my house.

On our way home, we took the scenic route. Our trek took us through Sedona, Cottonwood, Jerome, Prescott, and then back home. As predicted and anticipated, my wife is now more open to camping, and I think I've got her nudged in the right direction.

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