I mentioned my plan to a friend, who immediately pulled out her calendar and pushed me to pick weekends for camping. We settled on one weekend each month to camp together. I penciled in a few other times to camp as a family. Our first trip was to Lockett Meadow near Flagstaff, Arizona. The weather was beautiful for June. We left a bit later than usual due to an issue with our vehicle. When we arrived the campground was full, fortunately our friends had already found a campsite with room to share. We quickly settled into the space erecting our tent and pulling out our gear. Aine brought her small tent (a gift for her fourth birthday!) and promptly set it up with her friends. She decided she wanted to sleep for the first time in her tent with her friend.
Lockett Meadow is a gorgeous field surrounded by cinder cones. We set up chairs and a blanket in the meadow while the kiddos and dogs ran around the grass. Flowers, scattered throughout the meadow, caught their attention. The kids collected handfuls and quickly covered the blanket. With a little help, they crafted daisy chains - elaborate necklaces and crowns - for each other and the moms. A nearby tree swayed and bent under their weight as they climbed, looking like a group of orangutans. It was a fantastic moment.
After a bit of relaxation, our group set off for a hike along the Inner Basin Trail. The other dad had hiked it the previous day and promised snow at the top. The kids were ecstatic to see snow. They ran ahead and took mind pictures of the scenery. We wove our way to the top through tall stands of aspen. Their majestic canopies seemed to touch the sky. When we reached the snow, the kiddos were tired and done. After a bit of running in search of snow, they quickly regained their energy as they slid down the small patches of snow and built a snow mouse complete with baby carrot nose! When they had tired of the snow play, our friends suggested we hike a bit further. With promise of a view over the treeline only a few yards ahead, they persevered. The view was reward enough for all of us. We could see for miles. A few photos were snapped of our group and then we began the trek downward. Everyone did really well on the hike which ended up being a bit over six miles!
The kiddos continued to explore the campground throughout our stay. Eamon and Benton attempted to climb one of the nearby cones by themselves (under the watchful eye of mama and daddy on the ground). They made it partway up before turning back after concerns over possible poison ivy. Aine played with her friends and everyone hiked through the wooded areas. They found fallen logs and practiced their balancing. A hammock also occupied a lot of their time.
It was really a great camping spot, and we plan to return soon. We left renewed and eagerly planning our next camping outing.