This weekend, August 15-17th, the boys went camping near Payson, AZ, in Tonto National Forest. The local attraction being Ellison Creek, at the “Water Wheel”, where two creeks join together creating a wonderful riparian area full of swimming holes and fun waterfalls. We spent Saturday setting up our base camp above Ellison Creek in the pines. We then went on a short hike down the creek to a local Swimming holet. The fellas had a blast swimming and exploring the area. The weather all weekend was nice, temperatures during the day around 100 degrees, but we had the creek to cool down in. There were a couple of afternoon showers but nothing enough to dampen our spirits. Our focus for the weekend’s SIC ( Sharing is Caring), was on morality. We spent some time journaling on the subject in the shade to get a break from the sun. Saturday night we held a meeting in camp, focusing on the third step, which entails giving your will to a higher power of your choice. The following morning, we slept in a bit and had a relaxed morning making breakfast, taking a morning dip in the creek, and playing some Spikeball. Later in the morning we hiked to the opposite side of the Water Wheel and dipped down into the canyon to a spot called “The Log”. The water here was freezing cold and gave us a nice break from the heat. There was a cool natural water-slide here that the boys had fun sliding down. We then followed the creek down the canyon and found another wonderful spot directly below two waterfalls. We all sucked it up and swam in the cold water to try and sneak behind the falls. We ended the day’s adventure further up Ellison Creek at the same swimming hole spot from Saturday, and of course, we spent some more time jumping and enjoying the water. Before we headed back to camp, we spent some time under a few juniper trees sharing our journal entries from the previous day. We then loaded into the van and drove into Payson to refuel the van, and the staff surprised us with ice cream sandwiches. In camp that night, we held another meeting, with our focus on the 4th step, which talks about creating your own fearless moral inventory. This can be a tough subject for some, but the fellas really pushed themselves, and it ended up being quite constructive. Monday morning, we woke up around 7:00 A.M., packed up camp, and got ready to head back to Flagstaff. Before we headed out we held our community meeting, which we do at the end of every weekend, focusing on questions, comments, concerns, confessions, constructive feedback, and affirmations to the group.

After the meeting, we all loaded into the van, and right as we were about to take off, a little dog from a campsite nearby strolled into camp and jumped in the van, wanting to come with us. Sadly, we couldn’t bring him and his owners came and grabbed him. We jammed to some funk music on the two-hour drive back to Flagstaff, capping off a very fun weekend.