And he said, "Do we have to bike?"
I said, "What else do you have going on?"
Ryan responded "Camping"
And within 2 hours we were rummaging through our camping gear and off to the grocery store to plan a spur-of-the-moment trip to the White Mountains!
White Mountains are about 4 hours NE of Tucson -- and it is my favorite place in the state! It is all pines and about 30 degrees cooler. In the winter time they get snow and all the hiking trails turn into cross country trails. The scenery is absolutely breath-taking and there is so much wild life!!
Our favorite camping destination in this area is Big Lake - and we always stay at Rainbow Campground, which is across the road from the lake.
I've gotten so used to reallllllly "roughing it" with backpacking -- that I felt like were staying at a 5-star resort. I started freaking out when I realized the bathrooms had flush toilets and a sink! (anyone who heard me must have thought I'm from the "back woods" lol)
Friday was a long day. I woke up at 4:10am, got a 5 mile run in, started work at 5:15 am, worked until 12:30 (which was almost a full 8 hr day!!), and then we drove 4.5 hours to the campground!
We got there just in time to set up camp, and watch the sunset just 1/4 mile from our tent! Breathtaking....
I LOVE the big pine trees! Look how big that thing is compare to our tent!
Saturday morning we had an early start. It was about 35 degrees, so it was a mad rush to get a fire started and breakfast cooking. We made breakfast burritos on our camp stove and coffee with pumpkin creamer. Warmed my soul!
After breakfast, we headed down to the lake for some fishing. The view of the lake was breath-taking. We had the lake to ourselves for the 1st hour!
We rented a boat -and this time we got a motor boat. 5 years ago, we tried the row boat. And let's just say, that didn't work out so hot ;) -- it makes for a funny story in the long run!
I thought Ryan looked like "Grumpier Old Men" with his fishing hat and flannel!
I'm not much for fishing. I enjoy sitting in the boat with my Kindle and enjoying the lake.And perhaps a beverage.
I was reading "City of Thieves" -but took a break for something different and picked up a book called "Saving Abby". It's a book about a couple who have been married 7 years, that cannot conceive, and they travel the world writing children's books to try to distract their pain.
After fishing we headed back to camp, I used our left-over fajita meat from Friday night to make campfire nachos, and then we headed out for a hike!
This was one of the best hikes I've ever done! We saw elk, a family of 5 deer, a fox, found (and devoured) wild raspberries, and got an amazing look-out!
This was a map of the trail we did. We just did 5 miles of it up to Big Lake Lookout - which used to be a wildfire look-out station. When we were here 5 years ago, we got climb up in the tower, but that has since burned down :'(
Devastating burned trees. But eventually...new life will come.
This picture doesn't even come close to doing justice of how vast the view is. But if you can see the miles and miles and miles of "sticks" that were once lush pines. Very sad.
My attempt at a panoramic shot of the views from the top!
On the way down, we went off trail and were hunting for deer bones to bring home from Miles ( we get him back in less than 1 month, and he LOVES chewing on bones). All I could find were a few vertebrae bones though.
However, what I did find was wild raspberries and poison oak! These raspberries were so sweet and delicious!! I didn't realize I was standing in a field of poison oak until after I ate the raspberries. I paid for it at 3am. ;)
Here is a picture of the trail. This was just such a neat and beautiful trail!! I could have stayed out there for hours.
Because we had a lot on our "to do list" at home, we decided to pack up early Sunday morning. Instead of cooking breakfast in the 35 degree temps, we decided to find a good breakfast shop on the way home.
We stopped in Pinetop, AZ -- which is an adorable little touristy mountain down. We had breakfast at a place called "Darbie's Cafe" and it was - a-mazing!! I had the Asparagus Crepes -- which were crepes stuffed with asparagus, onion, avocado, and tomato -- and had hollandaise on top.
These trips are always so restorative and good for us! It's going to be a crazy couple of months or so ahead of us -- so I am so happy we squeezed in a camping trip when we could!!