Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Camping and a fun weekend up north

We had been wanting to take the kids camping for awhile and they had kept asking when were going to go. Well my good friend Kelsee Brady Bradshaw lives up north in Heber AZ and I hadn't been able  to visit her since she moved there. Soooooo..... we decided to knock our two birds with one stone and do both in one weekend. We arranged schedules and left for the great North. Northern Arizona! It is actually only about two hours from home. It shocks Jon that we can have 110 degree temps in Mesa and then drive north to a couple hours to beautiful trees, mountains, fresh air, and best of all 75 degree temperatures! Kelsee and her sweet family live on a giant ranch and take care of it for the Worsleys who built a 21,000 sq ft. log cabin on their land. They take care of the land, llamas, horses, cattle, and the lodge. They live in the top of a beautiful red barn. They renovated the top of the barn into a gorgeous four bedroom home. Kelsee is as good a friend as they come and I was pleased this weekend worked for us to come visit. We got up there Friday afternoon and the plan was to stay just one night with Kelsee and then to go find our Camping spot and camp the next day. The weather was perfect and the tree lined skies, clouds, and the gorgeous views made for a fun afternoon and evening. The kids wanted to swing from the rope swing and swim in the giant deep manmade pond on the property. After swimming, Kelsee's daughter Brighton had packed a sweet tea party picnic to have with Bailey. Bailey felt so special. The boys played with Cager and some of the other kids whose family also lives on the property in the lodge. They had fun swinging, jumping on the trampoline, and running around exploring. Later that night after a delicious meal kelsee made us we had a big bonfire and roasted smores with a few other families that were in town and came by to hang out. After the fire we went to the lodge and toured it and played in the giant fun game room for the rest of the night. I was in awe at this place. It is the largest natural log cabin in Arizona and it is so gorgeous. The work are craftsmanship that went into building were beyond amazing. Each room was decorated and told a story about an ancestor. There was a giant tree in the center of the lodge to symbolize the family tree and the lodge was built as a place for generations to gather. I love family and the idea that went behind building this beautiful place for the owners family to come stay for generations. They honor their ancestors and use the strength and faith of past ancestors to help influence future generations. I really believe the more effort we put into family and work we do in building good strong relationships are some of the most important things to be focusing on in the lives we lead. After touring the lodge we played games and stayed up visiting. Jon and some of the other men went out on quads and in trucks to go skunk hunting. They had some success in ridding the property of those nasty smelling animals. Jon had fun getting to know some of the guys there and they all had a fun time and even had a round robin ping pong tournament. It is safe to say that we had a really great time and are so thankful to have good friends and for their willingness to host us! The next day we headed out on our own to go find a camping spot. Jon wanted to camp near a lake and there were several beautiful ones to choose from. We ended up going to Bear Canyon Lake and camped up a hill only about a 5 minute walk from the lake. We had some rough roads getting in but were happy once we found the perfect spot and set up camp. The kids explored for a while and found walking sticks. Then we went down to the lake to swim and fish. After that we went back to camp just into for a late afternoon rain storm. It  didn't last for long and the kids enjoyed it. Jon got a big fire and then dinner going. Since this was our first trip camping just our own little family we decided to go with something simple and cook hot dogs. After the hot dogs we went on a little hike and found a cute fort for the kids to play in. It looked like thats where some elk had bedded down a couple day prior because you could see their foot prints, poo droppings, imprints where their bodies lay. After that we roasted smores again and sat around the campfire visiting. When it came time for bed I got everyone situated and then Jon and I sat under the stars until the campfire burned out and visited. Love the great outdoors, fresh air, and being able to see the skies. We went to bed and I tried to sleep but just as I was about to fall asleep our camp neighbors decided to turn on music and a movie screen with a projector. Luckily all the kids were asleep and Jon fell asleep fast because I was kept up for a while by the obnoxious noise coming from the opposing camp. grrrr I hate when you try to escape the noise   of the city by coming out into the woods only to have people like them bring the noise with them. Eventually I fell asleep and in the morning I got up to make a giant yummy breakfast for my family. After that the kids explored while Jon and I cleaned up camp. We headed home and were grateful for a quick weekend getaway up to visit friends and go camp in the nice cooler weather. Sophia was such a cutie and loved her pink camping chair. She kept picking it up and would move it all over the camp site to where she wanted it. She was  a trooper and did so well camping.

 The red barn in the back ground is where Kelsee and her family live. 
 Sophia meeting the neighbors new puppy. She was not happy he kept trying to nibble on her and take her snacks.
 Kelsee showing everyone how to use the rope swing on the dock.

 Jon giving it a try

 My kids with Kelsee's cute kiddos. The lodge in the back ground.
 We stopped on the Mogollon Rim to take some pictures of the gorgeous views. Trees and mountains for miles.

 Catching craw dads down by the lakes edge.

 Eating our first meal at the campsite. Pb and honey sandwiches, chips, and grapes.
 Bear Canyon Lake

 Jon giving his new fishing pole a try. We didn't catch anythings but kind of got a late start.
 Sophia loving eating as a family in her pink chair. She looks so grown up in this picture.
 The big fire Jon built for us. Love my mountain man:)
 The lake was cold for these kids but they still got in and swam a little.

 Sophia and I watched from the shore.

 The movie room at the Worsleys lodge.
Little miss Sophia at 20 months old.

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