We camped near Phoenix for a night before we went to the UK but otherwise we hadn’t been camping in a long while. Between my broken leg last summer and winter weather in Flagstaff, there wasn’t much opportunity but staying in Utah this month, we have no more excuses and have been looking forward to using our all great gear.
We looked around for a camping spot but really, there so many it’s just overwhelming, and in summer places like Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park will be completely filled to the brim. Even if we got a spot we would be surrounded by families, noise and the smoke of 1000 barbecues. Ross pointed out the Cedar Breaks National Monument area in Dixie National Forest and I suggested Navajo Lake. Lake camping is usually really nice. You can be in the forest and still have a nice open area (the lake) to walk around and look at, maybe swim in, and sunsets and sunrises are usually even better with the water.
Navajo Lake is a small lake with 2 campgrounds right on the water and several nearby, Navajo Lake Campground and Spruces Campground, we stayed at latter. Dixie National Forest also allows dispersed camping anywhere in the forest, which means you can pretty much wander off anywhere and camp with a free permit, although you can’t have a fire in high fire danger warning periods like now without there being a proper fire ring.
We drove down several forest service roads just to poke around and explore and saw many old fire-pits but no dispersed campers, in fact our own campground wasn’t even full and was mostly quiet, save one family with several kids. We found one place down a barely existent road that led to flower filled meadow that we’ll keep in the back of our head for next time. It did get rather cold in the evening and at night though, making it hard to stay up with out small fire barely keeping us warm. We didn’t want to use all our wood so we could cook breakfast so we wrapped up in blankets and hoodies, sitting inches from our glowing pile of dry, fast burning cedar, but eventually went to bed so we could get up early and hike.
Our campsite had a large concrete area with an embedded fire pit and grill, a large picnic table and gravel parking space. We weren’t sure where one puts a tent in that set up but 20 feet from the table, in the tall wild flowers and green grass near the lake, was a flattened space where a previous camper had put a tent. We don’t usually crush flowers to lay a tent out but what the hell.
At an elevation of 9,200 feet the lake water was quite cold so although we brought our beach towels and floating tubes we opted to just walk on the beach and have a quiet evening after having spent the day exploring the area. Most campers were there to fish with their families and most seemed to be local, experienced campers.
At sunset we had awesome light coming through the campsite and highlighting the Indian Paintbrush, thistle and other wild flowers around our spot, and when the sun went down, Supermoon came up shortly after and was so bright we barely got to use our new
Solar Powered Water Bottle Cap.