Back in the Saddle

It’s been nearly six months since I took Stevie out. A lot has happened in that half year – personal, professional, holiday season, etc. It all hit at once. So camping took a backseat, while I sorted everything out and got back on track. But as life finally settled down, I started to feel that crazy itch, the one that nags, “Go somewhere! Do something!” So, it was time to get back out there. And without further ado, here is the story of Stevie’s first trip of 2019:

This past weekend I loaded up the pups, the s’mores and the boyfriend and headed out to Picacho Peak State Park. It’s close, only about an hour and a half (in the slow lane, of course). Because it was only a short 2-night trip, I didn’t want to spend half of it driving, and Picacho Peak was the perfect compromise. I’ve never been before, but it’s just off the I-10 East halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, and despite being just off the highway, it was surprisingly serene!

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We got there just after the sun had set, and honestly I had a hell of a time parking the thing. I was clearly very out of practice, but finally after SO many, “It’s okay, you got it, pull forward a little and try again” (I wish I were kidding, it had to have been at least 20 times, Jacob has the patience of a saint I swear), we finally got her parked and I immediately crushed some Mac n cheese. I deserved those processed carbs, damnit!

It was chilly at night, dipping into the 30s (hey, that’s cold for this Arizona blood!), but we started up a campfire and enjoyed a s’mores while looking up at the stars. Despite being so close to the city, the sky was so clear that there wasn’t very much light pollution, and we had a good laugh looking at constellations and reading up on their mythical legends.

For instance, did you know that Orion was

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Screenshot from the Sky Guide app

quite the womanizer? The legend has it that he was blinded by King Oenopion after trying to “ravage” his daughter, Merope. Once Orion had restored his sight with the healing power of the Sun, he then pursued the Pleiades, or seven sisters. But turns out, he was after their mother all along! What a dog…anyway, “Zeus snatched the group up and placed them among the stars, where Orion still pursues them across the sky each night.” The Greeks sure had some interesting mythology! Next time you’re camping, I highly recommend downloading the Sky Guide app. It’s free, and uses your location to show you exactly what stars you’re looking at (and even the ones on the other side of the world!), as well as their mythology and some interesting scientific facts. It’s definitely fun entertainment for a night out by the fire.

We slept in until 8:30 the next morning – unheard of since I wake up for work around 6am every day, I can’t usually sleep in. There’s nothing like waking up to the sounds of campfire breakfasts being prepared and kids playing in nearby sites – even if they are screaming and bouncing around on pogo sticks relentlessly, it’s still nice to remember what it’s like to camp as a kid and how much fun it is to make those memories with family.

 

After bacon and eggs (the best way to start any day!), we drove the pups over to the Picacho Peak trailhead and did the Calloway Trail, which is a short 1.5 mi roundtrip hike that leads to an overlook to the east. It was a little rough on Nemo’s stubby legs, but he kept on trucking, and got so many “awws” along the trail, which I choose to believe is like puppy fuel for him 😉 The wildflowers were in bloom, and I couldn’t stop staring at how green the peaks were after all the rain we’ve had lately.

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We came back to the trailer for my absolute favorite of camping activities: napping! We queued up some Game of Thrones (I don’t know about you, but we’re prepping for Season 8 by rewatching Seasons 1-7 before April!) and lounged about in the camper, while the puppies napped off the hike and the cool breeze blew through the open windows. It was a magical afternoon, and just what I needed. It’s the first time I’ve truly felt relaxed in what seemed like months. I wish that afternoon could have lasted for a week!

For dinner we cooked some delicious tacos out on the fire pit, and after dinner I proceeded to kick Jacob’s butt in every game I had on deck: Monopoly (Game of Thrones edition!), Scrabble, Uno and Phase 10. Sorry babe, what can I say, I was just on fire 😉 We’ll rematch next time! After another round of s’mores and 20 questions by the fire, we said goodnight to Picacho Peak and zonked the heck out for the night.

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In the morning, I did not want to get up because getting up meant packing up, and heading back into the concrete jungle

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Pancake save!

for another week of work and obligations. But, there was still one more camping breakfast to enjoy, and ooh, it was a good one. Cheesy scrambled eggs of course, but we also cooked up some pancakes. I had woken up super early that morning, and instantly went, “Crap! I forgot syrup!” I don’t know about you, but I think dry pancakes are….less than ideal. After falling back asleep for another two hours, a genius idea came to me – leftover chocolate from the s’mores! So we sliced up a banana and melted some chocolate for the yummiest pancakes in the whole world. Best mistake ever!

All weekend, I had been telling Jacob that we would likely get a lot of looks from the “I used to have one just like that!” crowd. And shockingly, we didn’t have anyone take notice of the little trailer! Until….literally as we’re pulling out of the site, a guy (we’ll call him Jerry*) comes running up and waving at us to stop. He proceeds to tell us that his friend parked a trailer in his backyard – yep, you guessed it, “Just like that one!” I passed off Brooke’s information in case he ever needs a kick-ass restoration, and we rambled on our way home, dreaming of our next trip.

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Tension is who you think you should be.

Relaxation is who you are.

– Chinese Proverb

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