2016 Summer Camping - Part 1. Payson Canyon

We did so. much. camping. this summer. 

We literally camped every single weekend in the month of August. Because we felt like we had to make up for all our lost time being sick in July - which we did.

(p.s. I've been working on other projects lately and I've kinda neglected this little blog of mine. Which is why I'm writing about the Month of August in November. I'm sure you know how that is)

At the end of July, my mom shocked all of us when she declared that she wanted to go camping.

 She hates camping and hadn't been in more than seven years. We of course jumped at the opportunity to go with her. So our whole family stayed for three days at the Blackhawk Campgound up Payson Canyon. 

 Blackhawk is very accommodating to campers with horses. We camped in "Loop E" which is a designated equestrian area. Most of  the campsites in this loop sit on the outskirts of a large field with a shared water trough in the middle. Also, dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and side-by-sides are banned from driving in this area - so they don't spook your horses. The loop was never overcrowded even on the weekend.  

Chelsea, Colten, and I took the horses and his mule out for a ride while everyone 
else went to go walk around Payson Lakes. (The lake had that algae bloom at this time of year and no swimming was allowed.) 

We travel up a hill, away from camp, and then back down into a beautiful valley. The trail at the bottom of the valley took us through a small meadow, where light filtered through the trees and the wind whispered through the aspen leaves and tall grass. The whole place had an ancient, almost sacred feeling about it. It was amazing. 

As we moved out of the valley and up the next mountain hill, we ran into three guys on dirt-bikes. They were carrying a chainsaw with them so they could clear some of the fallen trees and over grown underbrush from the narrow trail. We asked them how far the road was and they said it was about  a mile climb to the top. 

As we started off again, it started to lightly rain.  Which intensified the smell of leather, earth, and pine. The trail took us under tall old trees and their branches did their best to protect us from the getting wet. 

Thinking that the road wasn't far, we kept traveling.  

Climbing higher, the trail led out to a rocky barren ridge near the top of the valley. We had traveled about three miles now, and there was still no sign of the road. I began to think that we must have taken a wrong turn and even though the horses were tired, we urged them on faster. 

By now, I thought the trail was going to leading us to the very peak of the mountain, but to my surprise when we finally reach the plateau we had only traveled partially up the canyon. We were now in a valley between to hills and the road lay in-front of us. It was a relief to finally know exactly where we were traveling and that we had been on the right path. 

We let the horses rest for a few minutes, and then we started to gradually making 
our way back down the canyon. The terrain wasn't as steep on this side and the horses 
seemed to enjoy their easy return trip. 

Now you have to remember, this was the middle of summer and back home the temperature was almost unbearable. You know, the days were you risk burning your hands every time you try to buckle your seat-belt in the car, and it's hot even with the air conditioner on? 

Well we'd been commenting to each other about how nice the weather had been on our trail ride and how good it felt to get out of the heat, when all of a sudden it started raining again. But not just a drizzle - this was a down pour. The rain drops were huge! They fell out of the sky with such volume, that in seconds we were soaked. 

We looked at each other with wide eyes and began loping the horses.  The wind blew my hair out of my face and tugged at my shirt. Big smiles spread across our faces. Laughter bubble up from our hearts and filled the air that was left in-between the rain drops - which completely drenched us all the way through to our skin. 

I soaked it all up though, because I knew I might not ever experience anything quite like it again. You know the same feeling you had as a kid when you splashed through puddles with your friends during a summer rain? 

Except we weren't kids now. And this time I wasn't going to take that feeling for granted. 

Then, just as quickly as it started, the rain stopped and the sun came out 
from behind the clouds. We slowly made our way back to camp, and the sunshine 
and wind dried us by the time made it back. 

This camping trip was my favorite of the whole summer.   
When I think of what Heaven must be like, I think of these mountains. 

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