Friday, August 1, 2014

Family Campout at Paliza, July 25-26, 2014

Hanging out
More hanging out

Sam, Kiley, and Joey
Noelle and Tyler

Joey parked on the water

Kayla toasting a marshmallow

The old folks
Dorine and I took our annual overnight family camping trip on Friday, July 25; usually we go to Villanueva State Park, but this year we decided to go to the Jemez Mountains instead.  Heidi, Devery, and Sam and Kiley, and all of their kids, ended up going with us.  We weren't sure where we'd end up, but I had the Paliza Campground in the back of my mind.  Paliza was the site of several church fathers-and-sons outings that I'd attended (both as a son and as a father), as well as one of Darren's 11-year-old scout campouts in 1999, although I hadn't been there in a long time.  I was afraid the place would be packed on a Friday afternoon, but what we found was strange: although the USFS has obviously spent a lot of money improving the campground, it was semi-closed -- gate closed to vehicular traffic, no running water, bathrooms locked, and no resident "campground host."  A sign said the campground was still open to walk-in camping, so we looked around and decided to stay at the host's site just inside the gate; thus we didn't have to carry all our gear and food very far.  There were quite a few people camping in the area, but only one other party stayed in the campground proper -- which was probably fortuitous given all the noise the grandkids made.  It was inconvenient not to have access to water, and to have to do as the bears do, but otherwise things worked out well and we enjoyed ourselves.  I do still think that the best camping option is to go to a state park and get there early, but there are lots of nice USFS and BLM campgrounds in New Mexico, too.