Monday, October 18, 2010

Camping Trip #2 for the Year

This past weekend we had our second two-child camping trip - this time to Lost Dutchman State Park, located outside of Apache Junction, AZ, at the foot of the Superstition Mountains.

All in all, a good trip!

By which I mean that we're all alive, relatively unscathed, and still on moderately good speaking terms with each other.


After we got our camp site and ate lunch, we realized that it was too hot and shadeless to stick around, so we drove back to Goldfield Ghost Town, an attraction we'd noticed on the way in - only 1/4 mile away from the campground.

It was fun! We didn't stay long, but we did take the train - how could we not? - which our eldest greatly enjoyed. Here's the view from the train:

There are two places to ride - an open-air car or the caboose. We were put in the caboose. A word to the wise - do NOT go in the caboose. Hot, airless, enclosed, hard to see anything, and impossible to hear the driver (he gives a brief history of the Superstition Mountains). But still fun!

Pictures of the ghost town - I have no idea what is real and what is "yea olde ghost town" invented for tourists:

Our eldest's favorite - an antique steam tractor that is the exact likeness of "Trevor" on Thomas the Tank Engine:

The church - "Church on the Mount" - still a functioning church, and my ideal church building - loved it!!!

The church's minuscule Sunday School/fellowship hall - adorable!

Our camp!

Our car with the Superstitions in the background:

We actually ended up taking two cars with us because we had SO MUCH STUFF. And believe it or not, I did my absolute best to pack lightly. Crazy.

Baby waking up from his nap! He didn't get very good naps during our trip, and the next day (when we came home) he took five naps - basically slept the entire day away! Poor baby, he was so tired!

The two most exciting parts of the trip for our son - the TENT and the AIR MATTRESS. Life doesn't get any better. 

Our camp kitchen - hot dogs, SPAM, baked beans, marshmallows.

Baby sacked out in his stroller.

Our eldest's attempt at photography.

So... we had fun! Outdoor cooking, a visit to a local attraction, two trips back into town for forgotten supplies (tarp and lantern batteries... and ice cream while we were at it), half an hour driving around Apache Junction while we waited for the sun to go down, a walk around the campground, and all the fun of sleeping four people in a tiny tent. Wildlife: Lots of desert birds, flocks of quail, tons of coyotes at night (I love their sounds!!), a spider tunnel so big that it must have belonged to a tarantula, ground squirrels, and others.

The downside to the trip was the fact that one of our party simply has a hard time with camping. So beside all the fun, it was rather stressful. So when we got back, we had a long discussion about how we can make our camping trips less stressful, and we've come up with ideas that we're going to try - possibly renting a tent trailer, or trying to find a cabin, etc. etc. However, this trip was much less stressful than our last, so we're at least making progress!

Another factor to consider was that this trip, like all others, turned out to be much more expensive than we anticipated. We have allotted $15 per month for "camping money," and I had $25 for this trip - $15 for our camp site and $10 for unforeseen expenses. The actuality? The cost was more like $75 when we added up camp site, train ride, trip #1 for supplies (and a toy), trip #2 for supplies, ice cream, and lunch when we got back because we were too tired to cook. So my $25 was completely insufficient! However, as we only go twice a year, saving $15 per month should work out pretty well for future trips - I'll just have to be sure to have enough saved up. The trials of learning a budget! 

But all in all, a success!

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