Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, camping, Cooking, family, Friends, Grand Canyon, Happy Campers, Life, National Parks, Oregon, Road Trip, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, Travel, Utah, West Coast Road Trip, Zion National Park
Has the economy got you down? Are you yearning for a vacation but just can’t afford a plane ticket to paradise? Fear not my friend, PARADISE is in our own backyard, explore the great outdoors! Happy Campers is a unique camping tour service. For those that don’t know “how” to camp, we teach you. For those that do, we show you more! Your trip guides are a chef and an archaeologist. Both of us are experienced campers and will show you the ropes on everything from pitching a tent and building a fire to hiking “smart” and getting the most out of your nature experience.
We take groups of 2-12 people on camping trips lasting from 3 days to 2 weeks. Each trip is custom fit to YOUR NEEDS & DESIRES. We can camp on the beach an hour away or at one of our Nation’s beautiful National Parks 5-6 hours away. We tell you what to bring, show you how to set up camp like a pro and even cook gourmet campsite meals for you! Abigail, our resident archaeologist, will teach you about the geography of the area we camp and hike in as well as show you how to keep an eye open for traces of old civilizations. We will also teach you basic survival skills. Don’t worry, this isn’t boot camp, there is plenty of time for relaxing and just enjoying your surroundings.
Trips start as cheap as $50/person. This fee includes all your meals, snacks, firewood and campsite fees for the trip. You bring your tent & sleeping bag and we’ll show you how to use it. Make your reservations now! We will be guiding trips from April to August anywhere within 8 hours driving distance from Southern California. Camping is fun & affordable and there are many BEAUTIFUL places here in the US worth exploring. Come enjoy Nature with us!
Leave a comment with your email address and we will contact you about planning your trip. Gather your family or a group of friends and lets go camping!
Check out some of out past trips:
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Life, National Parks, Road Trip, Travel
Just outside of Las Vegas lies a fascinating American monument. For the childrenless 20 or 30 somethings reading this, it might bring back torturous flashbacks of ancient school day field trips to boring relics built by really old people. I assure you this trip was both fascinating and entertaining. We were headed to Grand Canyon but decided to stop at the Hoover Dam just to say we had been there. This was to be a 4 night, 5 day adventure ending at Slide Rock near Sedona, AZ. We woke up before the sun on Monday morning and were on the road by 5 am. By doing so we were able to avoid all the rush hour traffic. After driving for 3 hours, hunger set in and we decided to stop in Baker at Bob’s Big Boy for some breakfast.
Another hour & 45 minute drive and we were at Hoover Dam! I haven’t been there since I was a kid and a lot had been done since I was there last. An amazing desert colored visitor center and entrance had been built.
This bridge is an amazing feat and has even been on cable tv’s Extreme Engineering. When complete in 2010, it will be the World’s biggest arch bridge and help to alieveiate traffic on the 2 lane hwy that crosses the dam itself. Its cool to have been able to witness such an amazing structure in its building stage. Check out the tv episode about it of you have a chance, its pretty interesting.
So we were feeling pretty sleepy at this point but our next stop was the Grand Canyon and the anticipation was high! Another 3 hour drive and we were finally at the Grand Canyon. When you get there, the canyon isn’t visible; it just looks like desert for as far as the eye can see. We paid our National park entrance fee of $25; which is good for one car for 7 days. Once inside the park we went to check out campgrounds. Since it was the middle of the week, we didn’t make reservations… luckily we found a spot at Mather Campground. The campground had warm pay showers and we were content. There wasn’t much daylight left so we hurried to set up camp.
By this time were we so tired we could barely keep our eyes open. We went back to camp, scrounged up some dinner and went to bed. In the morning we were going to see the canyon by the light of day, and we could hardly wait!
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, camping, Cooking, Grand Canyon, Life, Photography, Road Trip, Travel
We woke up early; excited to explore the canyon. Since the National Park is protected, personal cars aren’t really welcomed at view points around the canyons rim. The parking lots just aren’t big enough to accommodate everyone Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year to see one of the Wonders of the World. The environmental impact of all the people and their cars would be too great so the park service came up with a wonderful solution. Visitors park their cars and take air conditioned trams to all points of interest. No one has to worry about parking or traffic or any of those mundane issues. Here are some of the sights we saw…
After a sweltering hike along the Rim Trail, we went back to camp to wash up and have a snack before going back to the rim to watch sunset. When we got to camp, we discovered why you are supposed to secure all your food items. A bird had ravaged our pantry, he ate everything from chips & incense to tea & cereal. Items and trash were strewn across the campsite. The bird was proud of his work and sat squawking in a tree high above us… laughing at our lack of caution.
Next we showered up and headed back to the rim to watch sunset. Sunset is amazing from any point in the canyon, there is no bad spot to watch the spectacle. The sky changes colors every minute and the sun paints the canyon walls in a million colors. I’m not even gonna caption these next pics, just marvel at how the sights changed from minute to minute. These pictures were taken in order over the span of about 30 minutes…
WOWSERS! That sunset was bananas! We went back to camp, cooked dinner and settled in around the fire for jiffy pop and beer. I gotta say it was a good day!
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, camping, Cooking, Grand Canyon, Life, Photography, Road Trip, Slide Rock, Travel
Despite the sweltering heat the day before, we woke up to a cold and overcast Grand Canyon. It was time to pack up camp and head 2 hours south to Slide Rock State Park. On the way out we explored more of the canyon and tried to stay warm.
We stopped in Flagstaff to get groceries for the next couple of days. For $13.77 each, we were able to get steak & wine for dinner plus breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next day! Driving into Oak Creek Canyon brought back memories of road trippin’ with my hippy parents as a kid. We got a site at Cave Springs Campground and set up for the night. The campground is one of the more beautiful I’ve visited.
After a while around the fire, we went to bed, excited to explore Slide Rock State Park the next day…
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, camping, Cooking, Life, Road Trip, Slide Rock, Travel
Slide Rock is about a half hour from Sedona and a definite MUST SEE before you die. This place looks like a masterfully planned water park, but Mother Nature created it all. The river cuts through limestone forming a smooth and perfectly shaped water slide. During the summer this place is jam packed with water lovers but since it was still cold at the first of spring, we had the place to ourselves. Hiking the park is equally if not more satisfying than swimming it…
We didn’t really pack for snow or cold weather so Abigail and I chickened out and slept in the car that night. We drove to Sedona, got some gas and came back to camp. Then we slept with the engine running and the heater on blast. Ethan hated us for deserting him, be he had the proper gear plus… he’s Ethan, he was fine!
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, camping, Life, Road Trip, Slide Rock, Travel
We packed up camp in the rain and headed for home. Cave Springs campground was so beautiful and we were sad to leave it.
Our first stop was in Sedona for breakfast and a few trinkets. Sedona reminds me a lot of Palm Springs. Next we stopped in an old mining town called Jerome. The town was a ghost town for many years before some eclectic hippies turned it into an artists town. They had some cool stores here with unique one of a kind items as well as a winery!
I had to Wikipedia this place because it has a pretty fascinating history. Check out this excerpt:
Jerome was incorporated as a town on 8 March 1889. The town housed the workers in the nearby United Verde Mine, which was to produce over 1 billion dollars in copper, gold and silver over the next 70 years. Jerome became a notorious “wild west” town, a hotbed of prostitution, gambling, and vice. On 5 February 1903, the New York Sun proclaimed Jerome to be “the wickedest town in the West”. In 1915 the population of Jerome was estimated at 2,500.
Jerome had three major fires between 1897 and 1899, burning out much of the town. The 1899 fire prompted Jerome to reincorporate as a city, and to adopt a building code specifying brick or masonry construction, as well as improving the fire companies. Despite these changes, the large and luxurious Montana Hotel, built of brick, burned in 1915. In 1918 fires spread out of control over 22 miles of underground mines, burning the inflammable massive pyrite. One of the mine fires continued to burn for twenty years. This prompted the phasing out of underground mining in favor of open pit mining at the United Verde. Blasting in the mines frequently shook the town, sometimes damaging or moving buildings; after one blast in the 1930s the city jail slid one block down hill intact. Lawsuits were frequent, but the mining companies usually won. By 1929 Jerome’s population was over 15,000. Arizona had become the nation’s leading copper-producer.
The United Verde and Jerome prospered in the war years, but the end was now in sight. Phelps Dodge closed the Clarkdale smelter in 1950. In 1953 the last of Jerome’s mines closed, and much of the population left town. Jerome’s population reached a low point of about 50 people in the late 1950s.
Today Jerome is a tourist destination, with many abandoned and refurbished buildings from its boom town days. Jerome has a large mining museum, presenting the town history, labor-management disputes, geological structure models, mineral samples, and equipment used in both underground and open-pit mining. The National Historic Landmark designation has assured architectural preservation in this town, a mile high on the side of Mingus Mountain. There are numerous bed and breakfasts in Jerome and two hotels. Restaurants range from hamburgers to fine dining. The community spirit in this town of 400 has created a vibrant group of events from its legendary Halloweeen Dance to the Jerome Home Tour in May. Jerome is known as an art destination, with more than 30 galleries and working studios. First Saturday Art Walk began in 2006, and has become a popular monthly event. In 2007, Jerome became a sponsor of The Sedona Plein Air Festival, and hosted some of the best-known plein air painters in the country. The Old Jerome High School is home to many artists and their open studios. Artists and craftspeople display their work in an open-air art park in nice weather.