Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Camping in Oak Creek Canyon

So Ivan, Calissa and I went camping this last weekend in Oak Creek Canyon outside of Sedona. I've always wanted to go to Sedona and I will most definitely go back. I could spend a month just going through the artist galleries and studios. And several more months exploring the area around Sedona. I could shoot thousands of pictures in only a few days. The scenery is amazing. The colors are gorgeous. If you are driving down I-17 from Flagstaff, do yourself a favor and take a detour through Sedona. It's worth the extra hour or two.

This is only our second camping trip since Calissa was born. I was looking forward to the fresh air and lots of exercise. I was really hoping that I could break the insomnia that has plagued me since DD's birth. Two plus years is alot of not sleeping. Although I did get to go on a couple of short hikes (or walks), they were solitary and not nearly enough. On the first I went to the bottom of the canyon to hike along the stream. It was gorgeous and relaxing. I enjoyed being able to have some uninterrupted photography time, but other than the climb up and down the hill to camp, it wasn't really a workout. The second hike was also along the stream but farther up the canyon in a flat area. Again, wonderful, but not exercise. I slept pretty well while camping, but the insomnia returned as soon as we got home.

We came home a day early due to some noise problems at the campsite. The site we were at was located just off the road, which ended up being much busier than we expected. A very popular trail was located just up the canyon from us as well as several resorts. When we set up camp on Wednesday, the campground was pretty empty. By Friday afternoon it was busting at the seams. The sites had an 8 person, 2 vehicle max. The group next to us ignored that rule. By Saturday, we were in the middle of a veritable tent city. There were probably between 35 and 50 people congregated in one site. They had spread out their tents as more sites became available, but they still had 5 family tents in the site to our north, 4 in the site to our south, and 2 in another site adjacent to the northern one. I also think they had another site just across the road in the campground. It was obviously some sort of family reunion. For as many people as they had, they were pretty quiet. They weren't blasting music, or shouting, or acting up. But that's still too many people. I go camping to get some space, some peace. Our tents ended up mere feet away from each other, our kitchen just steps from one of their circles of chairs. The worst part was that general courtesy regarding boundaries was ignored. The kids ran in and out of our campsite with no admonishment from the adults. The older folks also walked back and forth between our tent and kitchen area. I shouldn't have to stop and wait for traffic to ebb in order to walk from my stove to my tent. The kids continued to get bolder as they realized there were no restrictions being enforced to the point that when we laid down to take a nap (which turned out to be impossible) on Saturday afternoon, they continually came up to the windows to peer in at us. A camping family reunion is a wonderful idea. But this was not the place for it. There was a group camp site they could have reserved, a KOA nearby, or even one of the resorts. At the very least they should have gone to a campground where they could have gotten several sites right next to each other. There were places available like that. The rangers did nothing to enforce the rules either, several came around on Friday and Saturday. So we forfeited our last nights fee and left. Next time, we will stay in one of the bigger campgrounds where we can get away from the road and rangers are there all day to handle issues like this.

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