From the moment I discovered the Mogollon Rim, I’ve been smitten as a kitten and habitually embarking on day trips as often as possible. How could I not with it being such a short 2 hour drive away from Phoenix? With every visit, I envied the campers capping off their nights with a bonfire from the rim, and getting to wake up with the same blissful view. I finally decided I was long overdue for catching a sunset and sunrise from the edge of my favorite getaway; which meant finally camping on the Mogollon Rim for myself.
After getting the car locked and loaded, and our furry children in the backseat, tails wagging and heads sticking out of the window, my boyfriend and I navigated the car towards Payson. Leaving Phoenix on a Friday afternoon, we made it to rim country before dark and with time to spare, which was needed as we began hunting for a free camping spot along the edge.
With serendipity on our side, our hunt came to an end after a 20 minute drive along the gravel of FR 300, which was surprisingly a breeze without 4-wheel drive. We arrived at a spot where we were swallowed by pine trees and a 360 view of the rim, it was the perfect place to set up camp…with both of the dogs’ approval, of course.
Remembering both our tent and fire wood, which is impressive considering how forgetful my boyfriend and I can be when packing for a camping trip; we had a room with a view and a fire crackling in a jiffy. And while we went to the rim to be disconnected, to our surprise we had cell phone reception if we needed to get in touch with the outside world…for emergencies only.
Fresh air, the smell of food cooking, and the campfire surrounded us, as the dogs ran (a safe distance away from the rim’s edge) around our isolated camping spot. All of us were enjoying the freedom of space and nature the Mogollon Rim graciously gifted.
Camping at the Mogollon Rim made my soul feel full, and content, and happy. It’s remarkable what spending quality time with nature can do; allowing us to escape the rat race and busyness of every day life; letting us soak in the views, sounds, and smells; giving us time to see things with a new perspective, creating a mental shift of sorts in the lives we live.
You see, although I grew up in Iowa, I was indeed raised in the city, which left me with little to no camping experience on my life’s resume. But after moving to Arizona over a year ago now, well that changed everything for me. The diverse landscapes of this state and all it has to over tempted me to get outside and see more, and getting outside has ultimately changed everything.
I can’t run ‘home’ to Iowa when I want to escape the unexpected curveballs of life, but I can run straight out the door and look up…. or I can jump in the car, disconnect, and go camping for a weekend at the place I find solitude and peace, at the Mogollon Rim.
Although my heart is as loyal as can be to the Mogollon Rim, my nomadic nature loves exploring new places on or off the map. Do you have any other favorite places you like to getaway, or spots to camp at the rim?