I slipped away to the high country of Arizona, where sunsets swallow the whole sky in a hungry pink mouth, where you can hear the wind rushing at you before it hits your face, where wildflowers bloom in improbable, bursting colors, and where at night the Milky Way twirls around the black sky in her sparkling wedding dress… I went there to gently, quietly, joyfully enter the second half of my life.
For my birthday, we had planned to pack up the car, rent some MTBs from a LBS, and head up north for some mountain camping.
After finishing two-weeks of real, nitty-gritty, bike camping around Lake Michigan, car camping with bikes in tow seemed like a breeze.
Except we ran in to a few problems. First off we kind of waited till the last minute and the LBS we had been counting on was actually out of rentals.
Second… I really wanted to take my dog, and wasn't sure how to manage bringing him. When we go out riding, do we leave him at camp? No way, he would freak out and maybe get eaten by a vulture. Would we take him with us in one of those harness things? Where do you even get one of those?!
I had a lot of questions and not so many answers, so we packed up and took off - with the dog but without the bikes.
So, actually we just went Birthday Camping.
We decided to use it as a scouting trip for our next bike-camping adventure in Christopher Creek/Forest Lakes area.
Drew Trail is either an easy two mile hike down the Mogollon Rim, or a terrifying, rugged single-track downhill bomb on your MTB… whichever you please :) i'm sure uphill is not pretty either, but since we had the dog, we didn't fully test it out.
There is fishing and, if you dare, swimming in this muddy water hole at the Woods Canyon Lake. Little Man dared. That's the dog's name… Little Man.
There is also a walking trail around the lake, which is bikeable but kind of busy, and a partially paved path that follows the Mogollon Rim around the entire campsite area, which you could ride on any sort of bike, especially good for kids.
This may look like pretty bare-bones camping to some, but to us, bringing a car FULL of equipment was GLAMPing! (Glamorous camping, for those who don't watch Parks and Rec).
Arizona sunsets do something indescribable to the colors on the horizon: the sun melts pink and warm and the mountains line up in hazy rows, from darkest to lightest, as if playing a childhood paint-by-numbers game.
If you've ever used one of those doggie harnesses some cyclists use, or have other suggestions on how to camp/bike with a pup, leave your tips in the comments!