Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Apache Trails Adventures and how we learned what a mountain lion sounded like...

The past couple weekends Husband has been fixated on camping, and while I love camping I hate being cold.  But we didn't go in November or December so I finally agreed to go, knowing I'd need lots of layers and feet warmers. He chose the Apache Trial since we'd never been and was hoping we'd see some water along the way.
Which we did.  
There was a full lake at Tortilla Flats and the weather was perfect but as we rounded the corner though the small town, we saw a road barricade for a flowing wash into the road. 
 Unfortunately, we had to turn around find somewhere else to camp, after driving up and down the highway no less than 3 times, we settled on a dirt road.
We drove through one lane bridges, a much different experience than in Kauai.  Here, it's just expected that you know what 's going on and how to wait, in Hawaii, there are signs saying that local courtesy is 3-5 cars, and so on.  Here in the Wild West? There's no signs or suggestions, just figure it out friends!
Once we found a spot, we set up our fire pit right away and enjoyed a relaxing evening under the stars. 
My Kachula 2.0 Blanket/Poncho from Coalatree arrived literally as we were pulling out of the driveway in the morning and was the perfect top layer over all my jackets, it was like walking around with a blanket wrapped around me! I'm pretty excited to break it in properly on our summer road trip to the pacific northwest!  In other news, I had left over french bread, ricotta and pistachios from our cheese board Friday night so I threw together some bruschetta at our campfire.  Foodies like to camp too you guys!
The next morning, we woke up later than expected (woohoo!) after sleeping though the cold and we started our morning off with some breakfast burritos.
One of our favorite easiest camping breakfasts. 
We climbed up a small hill to see our site below and were able to spot a small waterfall behind us. 
a little creek from all the rainfall the week before formed the perfect little waterfall flowing into the gorge below.
I thought I was being silly getting rain boots in Arizona, but I honestly have used these so much on our adventures and in my garden daily!
After our dog Lola passed our old man Brutus has been super bummed at home.  So, we brought him along and he had a blast on the trails.  He's a natural trail dog, leading our kids and friends down the path to the waterfall to find us, and guarding our campsite, alerting us to wanderers and wildlife. We had such a great time on our first adventure into the Apache trail but wanted to set off deeper into the wilderness and explore the closed off area.
 So, the next weekend we set off again (just our family of four and Brut) and headed back in.  This time the road was only slightly obstructed by water and we were able to go all the way to Apache Lake. There were lots of cliffs and one way bridges on the way, and the roads were surprisingly crowded for how far we were in the middle of no where.  They were narrow and if someone didn't pull over two cars definitely wouldn't fit in some areas.
we backed into a pull off of a dirt road and set up our tent for the night.

Husband cracked open a beer and I made fun of him for drinking Miller, what can I say as a #bitchesbrewclub member I can only support craft bears.
You can hear our kids fighting and see our site, in this video. This is where we heard Mountain Lions in the middle of the night, we decided to forgo the tent and sleep in the car just to be safe.  It was pretty crowded 2 kids, 2 adults and a dog in the back of a two door jeep. but we did it, and will probably do it again this Summer in Montana and Wyoming, because I am terrified of bears and don't want to be mauled in my sleep.
It felt like we were in Mad Max, with these walls and waterfalls.
Husband pulled over every 10 minutes on our way back to Phoenix to get another photo.  He's a little more adventurous than me, climbing over guard rails and cliff faces to get a shot.  I might consider the same risks if one of us didn't have to survive for the kids.
These memories of our adventures are probably my favorite thing to share here on this blog.  I love to go back and reread all these posts of places we go and what our experiences were.  I like to look back and remember where we camped and when.  I know some people think that Arizona is all cacti and desert, and while that's true, there desert is so much more lively than people give it credit for, but also as completely desolate as they say.  It's a weird eco-system supercharged my monsoons and desert storms, complete with flash floods and dangerous trails. but there's something welcoming about the otherwise desolate landscape, something clean and inviting. Every time we set off into the Arizona landscape with lots of water and close friends and family, we reconsider that move to Hawaii, 2 and a half years is starting to sound a lot closer...

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