camping, camping tips, family camping

Arizona, Christopher Creek (Near Payson, AZ)

by Devon Christopher Adams

Last week we headed north, and we were impressed at how close some of this beautiful nature really was to us. It only took 90 minutes to get to Christopher Creek campground under the Mogollon Rim. The forest ranger told us it may snow that night, and the temperature would be in the low 40s at best. I’d packed the car, and realized we didn’t really bring coats, hats or gloves. Ooops.

Claire was dressed in an old pair of jeans, Merrell shoes I’d bought her, a Grand Canyon sweatshirt we rummaged from day care, and my Smart Wool cap. She ran around the campsite while we unpacked and put up the tent. I was eager to get to the creek for some fishing, and the ranger didn’t really gave a good idea of where to fish. We decided we’d walk down creek and look for a spot. The four of us (Dante too!) headed down the creek. I had the fishing stuff, and Donna had the kid. Dante was a real good sport about walking over rocks and through water. We found a hole around the creek bend and dropped our lines. Donna took some photos of me teaching Claire how to fish with the new pole I bought her. Donna and Dante sat against some trees so Donna could read while we fished. I enjoyed myself, and Claire was relatively and surprisingly quiet. She didn’t really dig the whole fishing thing because we didn’t catch anything.

At dusk we headed back to cook some hot dogs and marshmallows. Donna made up a fire and we unlocked the food from the truck (bear & elk are common in this area). Claire wasn’t really into the whole idea of Smores, but she liked the marshmallows. After a bit, Claire announced she was ready for bed. Donna took her into the tent, and Claire went right to sleep. Donna beat me in a game of Continental before we headed into the tent ourselves.

When we moved to AZ we bought this perfect little "tent in a bag", which was perfect for two skinnier newlyweds. Now that there are four of us and we’re thicker, this tent was squished! It’s 6 X 6, and I quickly realized that I need a new tent. I didn’t sleep well and was up at 6AM. We cooked coffee in a french press and boiled water for oatmeal before deciding to hike down the creek a few miles. We packed up a backpack with jackets, an axe, tons of water, snacks, a compass, etc… and off we walked. I had Dante and Donna had Claire. We found a few people who pointed us towards a scenic walk south along the creek. The weather was beautiful even if they now called for rain, and after about 2 1/2 miles we climbed onto a huge rock to have a nice lunch.

One thing that was a bit of an event was that Claire would not go to the bathroom in "the hole" (outhouse), so we were a little concerned she wouldn’t "go" until we got home in the next day. After modeling what she needed to do, she finally went! It was really funny, but after that first time, for the rest of the trip she’d just drop trou wherever she was! Later on a trail, near a road, she just began pulling down her pants to pee!

After our nice lunch, we walked back up the creek, grabbed our gear and drove out toward the general store. The cashier pointed us up the Rim to Woods Canyon Lake, and she said they’d stocked the lake with trout. As we rolled up to the lake, the clouds rolled in. I tried to get Claire to fish some more, but she wanted nothing to do with it. Donna, on the other hand, saw some crayfish (the call ‘em crawdads here!) in the lake. She grabbed the net and began catching crayfish, which she wanted me to use to fish. We didn’t really catch anything and eventually it began to pour. My rain coat was in the tent back at camp, but I wanted to catch my kid a fish so I stood there fishing in the rain while my women waited under a pine tree.

We were all wet, and I didn’t bring Claire clean socks or panties! The nice woman in the store found Claire some socks in the back, and we bought some dry wood. Back at camp the rain had dissipated somewhat, so we began dinner while I dressed me and Claire in our rain suits. I mostly put my rain pants on so I could sit down! We threw some corn in the fire, roasted some dogs and sat soaking went and happy for a few hours. We were soaking wet, and that night the tent felt wetter than ever.

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What an enjoyable story
by: Anonymous

Thanks so much for sharing about your family's time camping. Rain and all it sounded like a wonderful trip!

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