We set out on our day-trip rather late in the day. Fortunately Alamo Lake is not too far away. The drive took us through a few small towns full off abandoned storefronts and run-down homes. We turned off the main road toward the lake with full bladders and excitement. After finding a restroom, we scouted out the camping. There is a campground, but Dave wanted to see what the National Forest camping was like (and we didn't want to pay the $7 campground fee). We followed a circuitous dirt road with the laughter over the dips and bouncy terrain drowning out the complaints from Aine and me about our touchy tummies. The camping appeared to be pretty good, although different from our typical forest locales. There was plenty of space and a few scattered campers. As the road progressed we found ourselves closer to the lake and our goal.
It was a cold day by Arizona standards, and the lake was mostly deserted. It was gorgeous in the late afternoon sun. We gathered rocks and made a cairn to mark the path back to our vehicle. The kiddos ran ahead and picked up rocks and sticks. We spotted animal tracks and scat. We even discovered a bird carcass which appeared to have been a meal for a coyote or bobcat. We tried identifying the animals and decided many used the lakeshore as a watering hole and hunting ground.
As we walked we stopped often to look at the lake. The colors were fantastic. We continued along the beach ending at a boat ramp. The kiddos ran up and down the bank reinforcements as we progressed toward the boat launch and ramp. It was unused, so we walked to the end to throw a few rocks into the lake and watch the sunset. Our walk back was a bit quicker as we were losing daylight. There was some concern expressed by the younger set, but we assured them that we still had plenty of light and flashlights if necessary. We found our cairn and the path back to the car easily.
With a bit of fresh air in our lungs, we started back toward home. As we drove, Dave remarked on the lack of light and the encompassing darkness. He thought it would be a great place for stargazing. With decisiveness, he pulled over on a dirt road, and we all climbed out to see the stars. Once our eyes adjusted to the dark, we were treated to an amazing night sky. The kiddos went crazy over all the stars they could see. Dave pointed out the Milky Way to them as well as a passing satellite. I saw a shooting star, but the others missed it. The kiddos laid on the hood and watched the night sky for a bit of time. We would have stayed longer if it wasn't getting a bit too cold for us.
When we arrived home, my intuitive husband asked if I hated our day trip. With all honesty I told him I had a great time. It was a beautiful area of our state that I look forward to visiting again. I will remember though to wear my motion sickness bands!