All summer long we had a trip planned to the White Mountains in Arizona for our anniversary. We planned on going back to the same cabin in Greer, AZ that we honeymooned at. We were supposed to leave for Greer last Sunday, but after leaving a dinner date with friends on that Friday night, we spontaneously had the idea to go camping the next day on the way up!
A few weeks ago, Donovan randomly asked me what you are supposed to eat while camping. Camping has always sparked his interest since he is outdoorsy, yet he’s never been! I was shocked when I found that out. I grew up camping during summers, usually on various campouts with my church. So for awhile, I’ve been planning on taking him camping and showing him what he’s missing out on!
When we decided Friday night to go camping the next afternoon, I quickly remember how much time and effort is required to plan a campout. Plus it had been years since I had been so it took some more preparation. I planned a bit Friday night, woke up early Saturday morning to finish and get things together, and we went to Walmart to buy food and camping gear.
The most stressful part was getting there! We planned on one specific campground, then we saw a coworker of Donovan’s on the way who told us to go further up in the mountains to one of his favorites. We were shooting to follow his recommendation but began running out of daylight, and I was worried that it would be difficult to set up camp after sunset. Despite our time crunch, it was still a beautiful drive and we decided it was worth it to make a few stops.
We came across a herd of cattle just several feet from our car. This valley was gorgeous!
We stopped at this gorgeous scenic over look – HL Saddle, Arizona
Morenci Copper Mine overlook – this was the size of the tires on the truck that we saw driving through the mine. The trucks look so small in the humongous mine, so it really put it into a cool perspective.
Eventually we came across a small campground, Strayhorse, on the way and decided to just stop at that one since it was almost sunset. We were both so glad we did! It was gorgeous. It was set back from the street just a bit, secluded in the trees, and we were had the whole place to ourselves The site looked over a steep valley of pines between the mountainsides. As soon as we arrived, we saw a family of 5 deer just hanging out. It was so neat!
We quickly set up camp and Donovan laughed at me as I tried to remember how to set up a tent. I had to relish in the moment of actually knowing something he doesn’t, because we all know that once he does it once, he’ll consider himself a pro!
These pictures were taken the next day when it was lighter out…
Our tent. And yes, that building behind our tent is a bathroom. Score!
The view from out tent, also where we saw the deer
Then came dinner where I introduced Donovan to camp food. He was wildly impressed. We had tin foil chicken fajitas. I’ll post the recipe and link it here when I do, but I prepped all of the marinated chicken, red onion, and bell pepper, loaded and wrapped them with tin foil, and placed in the campfire.
While dinner was cooking, I started on dessert. Out of everything regarding camping, I was most looking forward to this – dutch oven apple cobbler. It was AMAZING. I can’t wait to share the recipe with you guys! Plus it’s a fact, everything tastes 1000x better outside.
If you couldn’t tell, this is my husband’s picture of his plate – hence that HUGE serving! 😉
The only sketchy part about being by ourselves at the campsite was that we were alone all night. Before when I had been camping, I was always with a big group. At the youth camps, there were even church leaders who would patrol the site all night long to watch for bears and animals. So being alone kind of freaked me out, but we survived!
We woke up early – like really early. Donovan woke up around 5 am and I got up a little later. He already had the fire going when I came out of the tent. We spent the first hour admiring the sun rising over mountains and the sunlight shoot through the pine trees. I love the quiet, peace, and serenity of the mountains.
Breakfast wasn’t as “fancy” or clever as the night before. We used our cast iron skillet on the fire and made pancakes and scrambled eggs. We bought the Shake n’ Pour pancake batter that you just add water to make it easier. Of course, it ended up a bit more difficult when Donovan shook it and the cap flew off and we lost half our batter! We ended up having just enough and again, everything tastes WAY better outside in the mountains.
Since it was Sunday morning, we had our own little church and talked about the beautiful earth God created for us. It truly does amaze me that God didn’t just do the bare minimum. He went above and beyond. He created mountains, deserts, beaches, valleys, and more. He created so many animals, an entire ecosystem, and a natural cycle. I shared that out of all the creations, I was most thankful for all the smells. Each place has their own smell – the smell of ocean air and mountain pine trees being my favorite. I asked Donovan what creation from God he was most thankful for and he said, “you.” He’s a slick one, but oh so sweet!
Then it was adventure time! We walked around and explored the mountains around us. We went on our own little hike to a peak nearby and looked over the mountain range in awe. We didn’t see any animals but did find a matted-down spot on the ground that looked like where a bear had been sleeping.
This was the view at the top of the mountain on our mini-hike
Later in the morning we packed up camp and headed out toward Greer. Donovan loved his first camping trip and it was so fun to do it together! I love that we both love the mountains and being outdoors. Plus, I only had one flip-out from a flying beetle ( I thought it was a wasp FTR) coming towards me. Overall, our first camping trip as a couple was a success in my book!
—I’d love to hear about your favorite campgrounds, camping foods, and camping experience! Tell me below! —