Nice little video showing some good tips about how to use bear repellent (pepper spray) during a close encounter with an aggressive bear.
I don't usually participate in the Day After-Thanksgiving sales, because I absolutely hate the crowds. I also can't stand having to wait in line for more than a couple of minutes as the cashier processes customers whose shopping baskets are spilling over. Still, if you are looking to buy a new tent, now is the time of year when you can get some good deals on camping gear, especially 3 or 4 season tents. We bought our last tent in the fall, and got 50% off which was a real bargain!
In addition to our light weight 2 man tents which we use if we are backpacking into the wilderness, A couple of years ago, Don and I bought an extra large 11 person Columbus Dome tent that we really love! Don is quite tall at over 6 feet, and there is more than enough room for him to stand up in it without stooping. It is also very roomy and extremely easy to put up, (It took us about 30 minutes to set up on our first try.) Now it normally takes only 15 minutes to have it completely set up. While Don stakes the tent floor down, I lay out and assemble the elastic corded poles together.
Because it is a 3 season tent, we did buy an extra large tarp to provide an extra layer of protection during severe weather storms. The extra tarp has worked really well during the occasional snow storm we have encountered in the mountains.
Monsoon season (July-September) is definitely my favorite time of year to go camping in Arizona. Characterized by intense afternoon thunderstorms that leave the thick pine forests of the White Mountains cool with the fragrant scent of pine in the clean air. Its a great relief from the dry dusty summer heat, and mornings are usually sunny and bright, with the formation of massive cumulus thunderheads over the mountains in the afternoons.
Rain bursts can dump enormous amounts of water in a relatively short time, and can cause flash floods in lower elevations of the state. During monsoon season, Arizona experiences a second spring, that turns everything green and causes an explosion of wildflowers in the mountains and desert. Fire restrictions are normally lifted this time of year, which means campers can once again enjoy sitting around a campfire at night.
Since we do a lot of tent camping, we normally cover and protect our tent with an extra tarp during the rainy season. It really does make a big difference, and helps to keep things dry inside the tent. I have yet to find a waterproof tent that was totally resistant to the hard pounding of rain and hail.
The last time we visited Bambi Ridge, a wicked thunderstorm rolled in and it rained for almost 24 hours straight. The area around our campfire was flooded and it took a couple of days for things to begin to dry out.
Poor little Bindi hated getting her feet wet, so she found a nice large flat stump to lay on.
Mornings were bright and sunny!
While we were sitting around camp enjoying the peace and solitude of the pine forest, we heard a couple of loud but muffled cracks from the the leaning tree on the left. Since the ground was saturated, I was a little worried that it was eventually going to uproot itself and fall. I was very careful not to sit underneath it or even tie our dogs out in the fall zone, just in case......
The following is a short video of the stream which always developed near camp after heavy rainfall. It was so nice and relaxing listening to the tinkling of running water while sitting in camp.
The following photos show the emergence and growth of new plant life on the ridge - little gifts of the monsoon rains.
It was a delight to find wild Iris growing along the stream that passed by our camp!
This is probably one of my favorite photos of this trip - It shows a baby pine tree which is just emerging from the soil and is still capped by it's seed hull, dwarfed for the time by the lowly mushroom.
Since I took so many photos on this trip, I am going to break it up into several posts. Next up: Bear Watch at Bambi Ridge!
A couple of years ago Don and I were trapped up on a ridge in the White mountains of Arizona during the fall. It was mid October and we were surprised and caught off guard by a sudden Blizzard that dumped 2.5 - 3 feet of snow on the ground. We were trapped for 5 days, and toward the end of our stay were running real low on supplies.
The only thing we had left to eat were apples, stale bread and eggs, and they had froze solid. In order to make egg sandwiches, I had to actually defrost the eggs on the dashboard of our truck. For fresh water we were forced to melt snow in a large metal pan. To make matters worse we had run out of extra gas, and I couldn't even run the truck's heater at night to keep from freezing to death. We put on several layers of clothing and huddled in the Blue Goose with the dogs sharing body heat. Each day Don would try to make it out with his truck, which is a 4 wheel drive. Finally after 5 days of real good weather the snow melted enough so we could escape our winter prison. It was a real close call.
The following are videos I took on days 4 and 5 showing the road we came in on. Everyday Don and I took the dogs for a walk trying to trample down the snow so that we could get out with the trucks. On one of Don’s walks he discovered that a tree had fallen across the road but was sure he could pull it out of the way with his 4 wheel drive, once the snow had melted.
OK - so the one thing I've always hated about tent camping is the fact that no matter how air tight a tent is, you can never keep spiders out - they always seem to find a way in - usually through a utility or electrical cord port. What I really like about this novel new tent design is that you are off the ground which dramatically reduces the chances that snakes or creepy crawlies will be able to get into your tent.
Also there is something quite fun and exciting about sleeping in the trees, kind of like the leaf hammocks from Avatar which I thought was so cool! Take a peak at the following video released from Tentsile regarding their innovative new tent designs!