Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend 2012

It's been sooooooo long since we last went on a hike.  Life has been very busy with holidays, new babies, sports, etc.  We finally managed to get away from the big city and went camping over Memorial Day weekend.  The plan was for Shannon, me and the kids (Brigham, Jacob and Lilly) to go up ahead of James and Matthew and set up camp.  James and Matthew would then come up after work.  The day started off as planned but did not end as we had anticipated.

My sweet mother-in-law, Ann Downs, was in the hospital due to complications from her cancer.  While Shannon and I were driving up to Williams, her condition worsened.  James informed me that she was going to be transported to hospice the following day so I urged him to stay by his mother's side.  Matthew was able to stop by and see her before he drove up to Williams.  All of Ann's children were by her side during this difficult time.  Most of the grandchildren were able to stop by and say their goodbyes as well.  Ann passed peacefully away in the early morning hours on Sunday with her daughter, Andrea, by her side.  We love her and will miss her dearly. 

George and Ann Downs at our annual Downs Family Christmas Party.
 We did have our moments of fun while camping but at the same time it was difficult to enjoy our trip knowing Ann was leaving us. 

The weather was especially cold.  It was below freezing on two of the three nights we were camping.  Because of the fire restrictions we were not able to have a fire or cook with charcoal.  This made for early nights and cooking in a dutch oven on a cook stove.  It was an adventure!

On Saturday, we woke up to rain and hail.  Fortunately it didn't last long.  So instead of sitting around camp freezing (without a fire), we decided to go check out Bearizona.  Bearizona is a new wildlife park just outside of Williams, Arizona.  We were a bit skeptical about whether or not we would actually see any animals but decided to venture forth anyway.  We're glad we did.  You drive through the park (2 miles) and there are sectons for each of the different animals which are separated by what I would describe as giant cattle guards and electric fences.  They tell you to keep your windows rolled up and your doors locked.  We started off seeing the more tame animals and ended with bears.  The kids loved it.  Then you park and go to another area of the park - more like a zoo.  The kids got a bit of an education as we were driving through the bear section - we did not expect to see bears mating.  We had a good laugh and quickly moved on.  It was a bit pricey ($20 for adults and $10 for children 4 and up) but we had a good time.  Here are just a few of the animals: 


On Sunday, we decided to go on a hike.  Yay!!!!  Finally after several long months.  :)  The Davenport Hill trail is 2.5 miles one way.  The trail starts at the Dogtown Lake parking lot.  You hike about 1/4 of a mile on the Ponderosa trail to get to the beginning of the Davenport Hill trail.  Its an easy to moderate hike.  The trail is beautiful.  Lots of trees and shade.  We saw about 6 to 7 deer (does) and some lizards as we hiked. 

Brigham at the beginning of t hike. 
Matthew, Shannon, Jacob and Lilly.
Lilly (our youngest hiker) getting a ride from Dad.
The boys showing how much they love each other!

I love these guys!

Jacob is only 4 and he hiked the entire trail (5.5 miles) on his own steam.  He did a great job!  I'm so proud of him. 

This is the top of the hill. 

We made it to the top!

Brigham and Jacob conquering the rock hill.

There were beautiful flowers all along the trail. 

We tuckered out Lilly! 

My little hikers!
After our hike I went fishing with Brigham.  I was a little concerned because I don't know how to rig a fishing pole (although I was sure I could figure it out).  Brigham was awesome.  He got his pole ready, baited his own hook (gross!) and cast in his line all by himself.  I brought along a book to read while he was fishing.  Ha, ha!  I should have known better.  :)  Brigham was very chatty and before long he actually caught a fish.  Our general fishing rule is catch and release so I didn't think this would be a big deal.  Brigham got the little red tool thingy out and was holding the fish and looked at me and said, "dad didn't teach me how to do this."  OMG!!  I sure didn't know how but I didn't want the fish to die.  So we both made several attempts to dislodge the hook from the fish's tongue (again gross!).  Unfortunately the fish didn't make it and we had to pull the hook out rather forcibly.  I was traumatized!  Brigham then proceeded to gut and clean the fish with a very sharp knife.  I was concerned but he managed it without any injury.  The fish is now sitting in my freezer waiting to be grilled and eaten.  Oh boy!
The catch.

I just kept thinking - please don't cut yourself! 
We had some fun on our trip but I don't ever want to go camping again without James.  Its way too much work. 


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