Dawg Gone Jagger Got Me

Jagger Lost Dutchman SP

I’ll never let my guard down again! I thought I could trust “man’s best friend”, but he really got me 😦 There’s no tellin’ what he’s going to say, I mean, I didn’t expect him to hack the blog!

I agreed to not edit his posts, so I apologize in advance and take no responsibility for his posts. Maybe I should add that to the disclaimer 😉

You may notice a few changes to our website over the next month or so. I agreed to include him more often and give him some of the spotlight.

Back to the Adventure

Now I lost my train of thought. Oh right I remember, we had just finished the first weekend here at our camp at Aspen Campground, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and said goodbye to the Lost Boys of Mogollon Rim as they left for home.

Aiden Cross Country Meet

On Thursday the plan was driving down the mountain to attend Aiden’s track meet. When I was ready to go Jager had that “what about me” stare on his mug, waiting for our eyes to lock paths. “I won’t leave you Jagger, I’ll be gone too long and the Boys invited you over to spend the afternoon in their backyard with your friend Jax.” Instantly his tailless butt started wiggling and then he jumped for joy!

When the track meet was over, we went out for a bite to eat and a little family time together. After leaving the restaurant I drove to Janessa’s house to pick up Jagger and Aiden. It was a school holiday Friday, so he would be spending the night with Jagger and I. Hopefully they don’t have any sneaky business planned. I’ll have to keep an eye on them.

While driving the two hour trail back to our mountain camp, I notice Jagger is holding his head a little higher. “Alright Jagger don’t get a big head! You won this round.”

It was dark when we arrived back at our camp, but having spent almost two weeks here I drove right to our campsite with no problem. Aiden and I unloaded his stuff and brought Jagger into the Coach. Everyone got settled and we then called it a night. It felt good when my head hit the pillow.


Friday morning we started our day fairly early. Aiden fixed us breakfast and is becoming a pretty good cook. He even tackled Cinnamon French Toast one day and did quite well.

When our mess was cleaned up and we were ready for the day, it happened. I had just walked out of my bedroom, freezing in my tracks. I caught Aiden and Jagger snickering as they were watching TV together. Jagger noticed me out of the corner of his eye, I gave him my best “Clint Squint”. You know the look Clint Eastwood gives right before a gunfight. It made me wonder, Was Aiden in on Jagger’s plan? What else do they have up their sleeves? “Go ahead…make my day boys!” 🙂

Aiden and I were in high anticipation as the Sun started to get low in the cloudy sky, Friday evening. (I hope it doesn’t rain this weekend like it has been this past week. It felt like we were already in the middle of winter with the rain and lightning, huh Jagger? He does pretty well with the thunder, but occasionally I will look over at him and he has the look of fear on his face. Sorry Jagger you’re not always the tough dog you pretend to be at times.) Tonight my daughter Janessa will head up the mountain with Seth after she gets off work. She is bringing the boys bikes and Aiden’s new GoPro he got for his birthday.

As the sky darkens, they arrive and the excitement begins as we try to fit all their stuff in the Coach. If I wasn’t traveling full time there would be plenty of room. The Coach has lots of storage, but most of it is full of my stuff. After we unload Janessa’s truck we sit around the campfire that Aiden was working on earlier this afternoon. He lights his creation and like magic we have a nice fire. I must say he did do a good job preparing the fire for tonight.  He’s going to be a great woodsman. The following night Seth has his turn showing off his bonfire abilities.

When the fire was hot enough we roasted the hot dogs and heated the barbeque beans to go along with the meal. For dessert, you guessed it, roasted marshmallows and s’mores with lots of chocolate. By the time we finished our meal the forest was black and quiet, with an exceptional “wahoo” here and there from campers unseen, but here for the weekend also. Eventually we clean up our mess and retire to our warm Coach as the temps are starting to drop quickly. They are expected to get down into the low 40’s tonight.

Aspen Campground

I say, “Good morning camp! Rise and shine!” While Aiden and Seth are quick to respond, Janessa groans and stays buried in the blankets for a while. I remember those days all too well. We laid around the camp all morning just being lazy. Just after eating our lunch we mounted up in the Workhorse for a drive to the rim for a walk and to view the sun on the green valley below.

I had checked out a few forest campgrounds this past week and wanted to show my guests all that I found. When exiting the Rim parking area we turned left on the gravel forest road named 303. From there we spent a fun afternoon getting lost in the trees, looking for any signs of Fall and for that special boondocking site for another visit next summer. For Jagger however, his thoughts were on running free in the forest and chasing a frisbee the boys were throwing at our stops along the way.

Our last outing was on Sunday. We all got on our bikes and started pedaling down the trail out to the Mogollon Rim for a picnic lunch that Janessa had thrown together for us earlier. We found a bench to enjoy the view as Janessa handed out our meals.

After lunch we did a backtrack towards camp, but continuing on past. Within seconds I hear “Mom we are supposed to turn there!” Then Janessa replies, “bummer we missed it”. You could hear the wheels turning. It amazes me how quickly kids figure out we’re going the wrong way as we pass the campground entrance but kept on riding. “Are we going to the store for ice cream?” I smile when I hear Janessa’s reply. “I guess we have too now, we already passed the turn to the Caoch.” I used to make silly comments like that myself when my kids were little.

Our destination now was the general store at Wood Canyon lake. The thought of our reward is what motivated us to keep going. “Ice cream makes everthing better.” Janessa reminded Seth at one point down the trail. I’m pretty sure that is one of her favorite quotes.

That evening Jagger and I again say goodbye to family, knowing next weekend we will see them again. We are moving our camp this coming Friday. Houston Campground will be our new home, not in Texas, but just outside of Payson.

Safe Travels…Gary and Jagger

More Photos: Aspen Campground and the Mogollon Rim


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