There are a lot of different types of camping out there. You can visit your favorite private campground and partake in various amenities or head out to a national forest and enjoy nature. Regardless of the location, the time camping with your family is an investment in memories. Over Memorial Day we headed to Payson Lakes which is located in one of the National Forests about an hour from our home. The sites in the campground have good separation and there are a ton of Aspen and pine trees. With only about 1 bar of cell service here, there is no Netflix, Facebook or Instagram. If fact, you are lucky to get an occasional text message.
With the large snow season, we had a lot of the ground is still working to find its way into spring. In several areas, the ground was wet and there were even some banks of snow still present. Our first night was spent relaxing and riding our bikes around the lake trail. This trail is a 1 mile loop that surrounds the lake and is great for a walk, run or a ride. While back at camp we were relaxing around the fire roasting marshmallows. I have become the official roaster in the family because I generally get them golden brown without catching them on fire. While enjoy one of my golden creations, one of the camp hosts came by and let us know that a sow and cub were near the campground and that we needed to be extra cautious. Of course, this create all kinds of buzz in the campground. We didn’t have any unexpected visitors that nigh but we made sure the bear spray was close by.
The next day we hit the Grotto Falls Trail to do a bit of hiking. Grotto Falls is a short hike to a waterfall that drops into a space between some rocks. We had done this hike previously but it was much later in the year and we wanted to see it with the increased water from the snow melt. The trail proved to be a bit more challenging this year as it was muddy in several sections which resulted in all of us getting a bit dirtier than expected.
Later in the day we were able to get the kayaks out and on the water for the first time this season. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions. After being there for a bit one of the other kayakers came over and let us know that the bear was on the lake trail on the east side of the lake. We paddled over that direction and were able to see the bear working its way up the hillside. Being on the lake gave us a great vantage point as we were able to hold in one spot and watch and were in no danger due to the separation and the depth of the water. Towards the end of the day it was time to explore the hillside behind out site. Lily and I headed out on the closest thing to a trail and up into the aspen forest. There wasn’t much to be found but it was still fun to explore.
In the mornings while camping, Lily will frequently come get in bed with us. But on our last day there, I decided to go get in bed with her. The two of us chatted for quite a while and watch out the window commenting on the various things that we were seeing. The quality time spent together on this trip was amazing. It was just the three of us out on an adventure together. Getting wet in the stream while hiking; slipping and sliding down the muddy trail; being on bear watch around the campground; paddling the glassy water on the lake and seeing the bear; exploring the hillside near our site; riding bikes around the lake; golden brown marshmallows; having some quality 1:1 time in the morning.
It doesn’t get much better than this…