Thursday night - 11:00pm Should be packing the remaining stuff but am instead lounging on the couch half asleep arguing with myself about how I should be packing instead of watching, wait what was I watching, see that's bad that I can't even remember. True procastination there, I am the queen! I give up and go to bed vowing to wake up at 5:30am to get the packing done.
Friday morning - 6:30am Finally wake up to finish the packing and get everyone moving. Shut up, I know it's an hour later than I planned, I need an hour cushion time to hit the snooze button, just the way I work.
7:30am - Carlos and his dad leave to go pick up the barbeque grill from my bro-in-law, Rudy's, house. Should take them about an hour. We figure we'll be out of here between 9 and 10. I know you can see where this is going right? I'll give you a hint, we don't make it out of there even close to that time. In the meantime, I'm doing what else but PACKING.
8:30am - No sign of Carlos and his dad. Zip, zero, they've fallen off the face of the earth and we haven't heard from them either. I hop in the shower because who knows when my next one will be.
9:00am - Call Carlos for probably the 20th time and still get his voicemail. Meanwhile, I'm still packing crap. Seriously, how much junk do you need for a 2 night 3 day camping trip? Apparently 3 tons of crap, cause that's how much I packed. Oh and everyone made fun of me saying "Do we really need all that stuff? All those blankets?" I would reply with "Shut up, when you are freezing your hiney off and it is MY blanket that finally warms you and allows you to drift off into wonderful slumber, you will wake up in the morning and find me standing over your body pointing out a prime spot on my hiney to kiss." Okay, so I didn't really say that but I wanted to and that is exactly how it played out by the way.
9:45am - Still waiting, finally get a call from Carlos and don't get even a hello when I'm asked to find out where the nearest Urgent Care is in Queen Creek. Oh great. Urgent Care. That's never good. So I find it and give them the cross roads and he tells me that Rudy had cut his hand while they were lifting the grill into the back of the truck. Urgent Care won't take him because the cut was too bad so they go to the emergency room. He gets 14 stitches and was extremely close to cutting the ligament or tendon, whichever it is. The cut was on the web part between the thumb and pointer finger. Ouch for sure. But Rudy is a champ and decides to go camping anyway.
1:30pm - We finally all pull out and head on our way to Big Lake in the White Mountains. What should have taken us about 3 1/2 - 4 hours instead takes us quite a bit longer because let's face it with 9 people in two cars you are going to make a lot of pit stops. Oh and we were steadily dumped on by rain. What were we thinking going camping during Monsoon season?
6:30pm or 7:30pm (can't remember now) - Arrive at campsite, it is beautiful there. But wait, am I seeing this right? Our campsite is on the side of a hill. Yes, and that means an incline. That we have to sleep on. Oh fun. None of us had been there before but we were told by others who had been that Big Lake is a great place to camp. So we chose a campground and reserved the sites online. We just happened to pick the campsite that is on a hill.
My parents and my sister and her husband, Whitney and Bryce, were already there and had their tents set up so they helped us unload. It is beginning to rain and is getting dark quickly. We pick some sites and set up the tents. Eat dinner and everyone gets to their tents quick as it is now raining pretty steadily. Nothing is set up inside the tents so I have all three kids and I'm trying to set up sleeping bags and blankets and sleeping pads while CJ and Lexi are being the three year olds that they are and Elli is trying unsuccessfully to crawl around and is instead rolling from the top of the tent all the way to the bottom because like I said earlier, we are on a hill. I'm getting more and more frustrated, yelling at CJ and Lexi to "Please sit down in one spot and stay there!!" and Elli is screaming because she has once again rolled down the tent at a surprisingly fast speed. Carlos finally gets into the tent and is trying to help me settle the kids and it is NOT working. His patience is even less than mine if that's possible and he goes from calm to frustrated in 1.2 seconds. He then exclaims "This is going to be Hell!!" Oh great, now I have 4 screaming babies. We finally get everything situated and everyone in bed. It is pouring rain outside and there is not 1 but 3 rocks underneath the tent where I am sleeping. And no, the little half inch foam pad we have underneath us doesn't help.
It takes me forever to fall asleep. Partly because of the aforementioned rocks underneath my spot, the incessant rain, and the weird cold but hot muggy humid feeling the tent is taking on because of the rain. As I'm laying there I started reflecting on the pioneers and how this situation we were in was miserable for us but was nothing compared to what they endured while crossing the plains. It put it into nice proper perspective for me and I eventually fell asleep. It rained ALL night long. Seriously, all night. Monsoon season. Yeah, we aren't the brightest bulbs in the pack. Oh and because we are sleeping on a hill we started at the top of the tent but by morning we had slid, sleeping blankets and all, down to the bottom. Now the rock that was at my hip is now at my head. Fun times I tell ya.
Saturday morning - We wake up extremely early because that's what happens when you camp. You get up with the sun. We all get up and have a wonderful breakfast of homemade bread and gravy. Yummy, thanks mom it was great! We then find out that pretty much everyone's blankets and sleeping bags are wet from the ground up so we pack up all the wet stuff and head into Springerville which is about 30-45 minutes away to dry things. Oh and did I mention that I now have a full blown head cold making my experience that much better! Super! While in town I visit the local pharmacy to inquire which cold medicines I can take while nursing. I get the okay from the pharmacist to take Alkaseltzer Cold that my mom already has back at camp. We dry our things and head back to camp. I take my Alkaseltzer cold meds and feel much better.
Saturday afternoon - Some people are fishing, some are sleeping, others are out exploring. I'm at the campsite with my mom and Elli, just hanging out when I need to use the restroom. Which is at the top of the hill, by the way. So I make the trek up the hill, and am grateful that there is a restroom to trek to, remember the pioneers didn't even have a porta-potty. Gotta keep it all in perspective you know ;). Anyway I get to the restroom only to discover that my monthly visitor, Aunt Flo, that has been absent for over a year and a half decided that this weekend, this camping trip, would be a great time to return. Yep, that's right, my first postpartum period happened while I was camping. What are the odds? Heavenly Father has a sometimes cruel sense of humor. I don't even have any feminine hygiene products with me. So my mom and I go to the little store down on the lake to see if they have any we can buy. We walk around the store twice looking and searching and finally give in and ask the cashier at the counter. The one thing you probably don't want assistance in finding and they hide it on the shelf behind the trashcan. Anyway, so I get that all taken care of and then the cramps start.
So, let's review: We are camping on a hillside during Monsoon season. I have a full blown head cold and then Aunt Flo tracks me down all the way in the wilderness and she is wreaking havoc on my insides with lovely cramps. Why did I think this was going to be a good idea?
Saturday night - We have a yummy dinner of chicken, baked potatoes, and baked beans. Seriously, the food alone was worth the camping trip. Mom, you did good. Muchas gracias. Anyway, so we eat and because Rudy and Becky got drenched the night before in their little tent we decide to put Lexi and CJ in the tent with Carlos' parents and Rudy and Becky will sleep with us. Oh and remember all those blankets I packed? Yeah, everyone used them so PFFHHT, I was right to pack the whole house, take that! This night was much better. It didn't rain and we were all much warmer and more comfortable. We still ended up at the bottom of the tent by morning though. Kinda unavoidable.
Sunday morning - Again, wake up at the crack of dawn. Eat breakfast and start breaking camp. We get the tents down and mostly everything packed. Carlos, Rudy, Becky, and I decide to take advantage of the showers they have there, even though they were $5/person. Oh but that shower was the best shower I've taken in my life. It was wonderful. Worth every cent. After we get back to camp, lunch is almost ready. We eat and finish loading everything up and everyone heads back home.
Sunday afternoon - It is raining again and we get rained on almost the whole way home. Doesn't matter though, we don't have to sleep in it this time. We make 63 pit stops. Okay, it wasn't that many but it might as well have been for how long it took us to get home. The reason we didn't get home until 8:30pm when we left at 12:30pm? Oh it was because after we passed through Payson and were about 20 minutes down the road the traffic stopped to a standstill because of a car accident somewhere ahead. Cars were stretched out for miles and miles. I'm not sure how far but what should've taken us about 1 1/4 hours instead took 2 1/2 hours. It was crazy and frustrating but a fitting end to our camping trip.
Overall, though we had a lot of fun and we WILL be camping again. Just not during monsoon season. And not on a hill. And closer to home. Oh and preferably not during that time of month for me.
(The view from our campsite. Not bad, huh.)
(A not too great pic of me, I was trying to get the background. Be nice, remember I was camping, no make up or done hair.)
(Elli in her pack n' play. That thing came in very useful.)
(CJ and Lexi with their Aunt Josie heading down to the lake to throw some rocks in.)
(Our campsite on the hill, the blue tarp thingy is the food tent)
(Carlos' Dad in front of their tent)
(Lexi peeking inside the tent)
(Rudy and his injury, he toughed it out though)
(A pit stop on the way home. They were TIRED.)
(A view from our car of the backed up line of cars on the trip home. Can you say frustrating?)