Lakeside camping in the Arizona desert.
About 6 months ago from Australia I was talking to my friend Mike about camping, and how I was too afraid to camp in the US because of the mountain lions, pumas, bears, rattlesnakes…. coming from Australia many people find that strange as we are known for being a country full of animals and insects that can kill you. It spawned the meme ‘Meanwhile in Australia…’ accompanied with an image of another terrifying thing from our country.
But my problem is that in Australia, you can outrun anything that could kill you. Here a mountain lion could pounce on you before you knew what was happening. To be honest, my Mum had a huge influence on this fear, constantly telling me terrible stories about the beasts here in the US.
Mike thought I was a little silly I think, and promised to take me camping when I got to the US. He assured me it was fine.
And take me he did! He took some time off mid week and we head out to the shoreline of Bartlett Lake, in the middle of Tonto National Forest.
We set up a tent on the sandy shore, built up a fire and camped out looking over the lake, with a stunning view of the mountains, and a landscape dotted with cactii.
We went for a walk along the shore, testing out Mike’s GoPro.
We had brought along some firewood but went gathering to find more. Mike built up the most comprehensive fire pit I have ever seen.
We set up the chairs facing the fire, and watched the sun set with local craft beer, Four Peaks Kiltlifter. It was perfectly silent except for the crackle of the fire and the faint splash of the hundred of little fish jumping out of the water to catch bugs.
I cooked up some rosemary ranch chicken skewers, and we stuffed toasted naans with greens, tomato, garlic salt and the chargrilled chicken. We roasted some potatoes in the embers, cut open the tops and filled with garlic salt, herbs and butter.
We sat in front of the fire until we ran out of firewood, and then as the chill set in and the embers died down to a dull glow, Mike pulled the sleeping bags out of the tent and set them up under the big, amazing sky filled with bright, twinkling stars.
‘What are we doing?’
‘We are going to lie here until you see a shooting star.’
I had told Mike earlier that I had never seen a shooting star. I was always the one that whipped my head around, saying ‘Where???’ when other people see them.
So we lay there. We talked. We laughed. Mike saw four shooting stars and I missed them all. We couldn’t stop laughing at how bad I was at seeing them.
We lay there until we almost fell asleep. And then, way to the side, just above the mountains, a quick line of golden light. My first shooting star.