Camping trips 2 and 3

We went on our second camping trip this summer at the end of June, to Aspen Campground near Woods Canyon Lake. This time, we went for 2 nights, and we were joined by our friends Pat and Pam. We also stayed for two nights, which was good because I think the first night is always just a little rough.
Woods Canyon Lake
Reading with Pam and Pat!
We went for a little hike at Woods Canyon Lake, played horseshoes, read books, and enjoyed the company of our friends! It's especially nice to have extra distraction for the boys as well - they love all the attention.

The boys slept in their own tent next to ours both nights. Elmer slept like a champ - he loves his tent and his sleeping bag. While it took him a long time for fall asleep because he wanted to know what was going on outside the tent, he slept all night until the morning. Arthur went to sleep pretty well, especially when Chris got out the guitar and sang some bedtime songs, but he woke up both nights pretty early. This time, I brought him into our tent with us. The first night, I laid him down on the bed, turned around to zip up the tent, and he was already dead asleep when I climbed into bed! So then we sort of got a little more sleep - he hogs the bed and is quite the wiggler in his sleep.

Arthur taking a break from my backpack
Elmer and Chris

It was a really great trip, with beautiful weather and great company. Best of all, we reignited Pat and Pam's love for camping, so we can look forward to more camping trips with them in the future!

Pat is the horseshoe champion
Chris's adoring fans
In July, on a whim, we went to Houston Mesa Campground, which is literally just 2 miles from downtown Payson. There had been an article in the newspaper the week before we had planned to go camping talking about all the things to do along Houston Mesa Road, so we thought we'd give it a try. At the last minute, our friends Suzy and Chris decided to join us, so we had company again on this trip!
Our campsite
East Verde River at the Water Wheel

Our first night was spoiled by a very large group of campers setting up camp starting at 10 PM and not finishing up until 2 AM - the cars just kept coming! And again, Arthur woke up about 3, but I just brought him in with us again and we all got a little more sleep.

The Water Wheel!
About to make a poor choice
The next day we had a great time - we went for a drive down the road, which allowed Arthur to take a much needed nap, and we enjoyed exploring. We went for a little hike along the East Verde River, where we unwisely scrambled down some boulders with the boys on our backs and had to scout out an easier climb back up. Elmer did a little hiking out of the backpack and scrambled up a hillside like a trooper. An old water wheel was one of Elmer's favorite sights!

East Verde River at Second Crossing
Arthur tossing in some pebbles

Chris & Suzy with the boys
That evening, we got a spectacular rainstorm right before dinner. We all huddled under our canopy, enjoying the rain for a while as the rain got heavier and heavier. Finally, though, we realized we couldn't cook dinner on the fire or the cookstove in that downpour, so we all loaded into the van and went into Payson for dinner. The town was just flooded - water was calf-deep in the parking lot! But the rain stopped before we finished eating, and after dinner we headed back to our campground. Suzy and Chris's tent was a little wet, so they decided to pack up and just drive home. Our tents, however, were dry, so we stayed. I'm so glad we did - the boys were exhausted from such an exciting day and went right off to sleep. The air was cool and fresh from the rain, and the campground was much less crowded from all the people leaving due to the storm. Chris and I sat by the fire and talked, and then had a quiet night. For the first time, Arthur didn't wake up at all! We all slept until sunrise, then packed up our very wet gear and went into Payson for breakfast at the Beeline Cafe. When we got home, we had to unpack all the tarps and tents, spray off all the mud, and lay them out to dry. Even with all that, though, we didn't mind the rainstorm - it was certainly an adventure!
Elmer liked standing in the river.
Arthur jumping!

Since August and September have other trips (posts coming soon), we'll probably squeeze in one last camping trip for the year in October. We love these trips!

Love all my boys so much!