The Lynx Lake (almost) Camping Trip
Wren and I had big plans to camp last Friday night, which I made mention of in last week’s post. Things didn’t go according to plan. I know, a shocker, right?
Right after I posted that blog, I headed out to Lynx Lake, an extremely scenic little gem nestled in the hills behind Prescott.
Photos from Lynx Lake
I actually got so excited that I did a quick tour around the lake without Wren, since she was on the road back from her vacation in San Diego.
It was very pretty. Very, very, pretty.
The Lynx Lake campground was full, which wasn’t surprising, since it was Friday, and accepted reservations. Luckily the Hilltop campground a mile up the road is first come, first serve, and it was early afternoon.
I drove around the half-empty campground until I found a site I liked, then went back, dropped off my twenty bucks in the slot, and put my tarp down to mark the site as mine, and clipped my receipt to the post at the campsite.
About that time, the campground hosts came by, and we talked. They copied down my license plate, and talked for a bit.
It was about two in the afternoon, so I walked around for awhile, before heading off back to town to do some work on the new house.
I spotted some cool stuff in the area, and was pretty excited about exploring it later.
After Wren arrived from San Diego, we grabbed dinner, left her car at the house, and headed back . . .
. . . Only to find a family had stolen it!
They said they had no idea I was there (I guess they thought my tarp came with the site?), and my receipt had somehow vanished from the site.
Now, they were obviously lying, but they had a ton of young kids with them, so I decided to let it slide. Their kids will figure out their parents are worthless someday without my help, and they might as well get some time to enjoy the woods with them before entering into their lifetime of disappointment and shame.
I drove around and knocked on the hosts’ camper. They were very apologetic, and told me there was a site left . . . in the middle of the loop, completely surrounded by road, next to the toilets. No thanks, right?
They apologized, and said that the family had told them the site was unclaimed and had nothing in it. And I told them I wanted my money back. It ended up that I’d have to drive back out there in the morning to get the ranger to give it back. I was honestly annoyed with the campground volunteers than the people who stole our site, despite how nice they were: They knew I’d paid for the site, they had seen me there, and talked to me, and whether my stuff was there shouldn’t have mattered in the slightest, since I’d f***ing paid $20 for the site already! Their whole job was to tell those people, “No, sorry, someone’s already there.”
Maybe they were intimidated by three tatted-up Hispanic gangbangers from the valley, and afraid to press the point, I don’t know. But it was definitely frustrating, and very disappointing, as Lauren and I had been working to get our schedules to match up for a camping trip all summer, and this was it.
Still, enjoying life has a lot more to do with making the most out of disappointments than hoping to avoid them. It was a pretty night, and there wasn’t much traffic, so we drove up Walker Road, and discovered the amazing little ghost/small mining town of Walker, where the original gold strike that had brought settlers into the region had occurred! It’s an picturesque place, up in the trees, isolated, hemmed in by national forest and recreation area land, and just very pretty, but still just a few miles from town.
Wouldn’t mind living there someday. We may have collected For Sale pamphlets for cabins along the way. Because we all need dreams.
Wren and drove up the road a ways, found a couple of dispersed campground areas we might hit next time instead of paying for sites we might not get anyway.
We were really hoping to see some wildlife, and we weren’t disappointed: we saw two raccoons, several mule deer, including a buck in velvet with the start of a huge rack, and a rather large gray fox.
We slept over at the house, and then headed back to the campground in the morning. After getting our money back, we parked down at Lynx Lake and headed up the creek.
Lynx Creek Trail
The first thing we saw, right at the head of the lake, were a flock of white-faced ibis who’d stopped in the shallows on their way south for the winter.
They took off, and passed nice and low over us for the camera, which I thought was very nice of them.
From there, we headed up the tree-lined trail, and the next cool discovery was a bank full of what we assume are breeding burrows for rhinoceros beetles.
The males were mostly dead, their job done. You can tell them apart, as the males have horns like this guy:
And the females, like this lovely lady, don’t bother which such trivialities.
As you can see, they’re pretty big, though not as big as the Hercules beetles also found in Arizona.
Farther up the trail, we came to an artificial waterfall that Wren and I thought might have been designed to keep introduced species from the man-made Lynx Lake from travelling farther up the watershed.
Either way, it made for a lovely spot, slightly marred by the screaming presence of none other than the family who’d stolen our campsite!
So we continued off down the trail. There tons of beautiful wildflowers growing along the way, which I’ve identified to the best of my ability (with some help from Wren).
Bonus points if you can spot the accidental guest star of this photo! I didn’t even know she was there until I was adding this to the blog.
Birdbill Dayflower: Commelina dianthifolia
Arizona Thistle: Cirsium arizonicum
I was surprised to see red thistle, as the kind I’m familiar with is purple. Apparently Arizona does it in red.
Golden Columbine Aquilegia chrysantha
It wasn’t all beauty, of course, and no hike in Arizona is entirely complete without finding the skeleton of something. I’m not sure what this was, though my thought was either a fawn from this past spring or a javelina.
We lifted it up, and were really psyched to see there were carrion beetles on it!
Which probably makes us weird, but this the whole cycle of life and death is nature. If you’re just going to revel in fascination of the life part, you’re missing half of it.
The Moral of the Story
Even without other humans going around messing stuff up for everyone, things are going to go every way but according to plan sooner or later. Don’t let that get in the way of a beautiful day!