Christopher Creek Campgrounds, Northern Arizona
It’s hard to believe it took my husband and I nearly 14 years together to finally go camping. I am going to start sharing our family travels in this new Travel Trip Tuesday series. We have been a lot of places especially all over AZ. To kick it off I am taking you back to our first family camping trip to Christopher Creek in Payson, AZ. TRAVEL ARIZONA Christopher Creek, Payson.
If you aren’t the camping type and you’re really considering it. I am going to share my best tip for camp fire cooking. Along with a easy dinner you can make where everyone is hands on!
About Christopher Creek
With it’s high elevation of 5640 ft, you will definitely enjoy the fresh crisp air. Christopher Creek is a part of the Tonto National Forrest, known for it’s tall beautiful trees and it’s low desert canyon creek and near by fishing and swimming holes. There is plenty to do such as hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. Or you could just set up a hammock between a few trees and unwind in all of it’s natural glory.
If you are in the Phoenix area like I am, this was a perfect escape from city life with the family. Only a few hours drive and we were in a completely different terrain.
Camp fire cooking 101
It’s all about the prep. Be smart and prep your meals ahead of time, as in before you leave your home. Make a check list of the seasons and ingredients you’ll be working with. Pre-cut any veggies and meats. Store all your fresh ingredients separately. For this meal, I am sharing my BBQ Chicken with sweet potato packs, and a few fresh veggie sides to go a long with it. As you can see here I already had my veggies cut; sweet potato, brussel sprouts, and seasoned carrot sticks. I brought sea salt, pepper, olive oil, BBQ sauce, and aluminum foil. See how easy this is already?
You’ll want to get your fire started while you are preparing your dinner packs. For the sides, I just layered foil and dumped my pre-cut veggies down, added oil salt and pepper and closed them up. For the individual meals, have each person in the family add as many potatoes they want to a few smaller layers of foil. They’ll want to add oil salt and pepper, then top with one chicken breast (defrosted) and drizzle with BBQ. My absolute favorite BBQ sauce it Bill Johnsons. Close the packets and place over the fire. You’ll want to keep them above the coals, on indirect heat. I would recommend they are to the sides. Cook them for 15 minutes and check them. Once they are fully cooked, plate them and enjoy!
Fishing in Christopher Creek
You will need a fishing permit if you intend to fish where permit able. We don’t really fish, but our boys were really excited about the thought of catching their own fish and adding that to their dinner. In our case, we did not need a fishing license because our younger boys were fishing. And as a family you can have 2 kids under 12 years old fish for free. Don’t be deceived by the picture, my husband, who is not a fisher, was just showing my son how to drop the line. One of my favorite photos.
Like I mentioned before, this was our first family camping trip, and as cool as fishing sounded… we were not prepared! We didn’t have a really sharp blade to clean the fish, so what should have been quick and simple, soon turned into a literal blood bath. I took what I remembered from being a kid and showed the boys how to do it. And by show, I mean I verbally guided them because I always hated handling fish and their guts.
So another tip, whether you plan to fish or not, always bring a sharp knife with you. We have since found this to come in handy on some of our other adventures. Add that to your camp gear.
Also we used night crawlers as bait, I was pretty surprised how easily my boys took to ripping them in half and jabbing them with a hook. Should I be worried??
Christopher Creek Review
We had a really great time and for such a quick trip with Payson being so close, we have since returned which I will share a pretty cool secret spot in a future post. We learned that Camping in April up North can still be pretty cold. As a matter of fact the weekend we were there it was about 40 degrees that night. Our boys retreated to the van to keep warm. My youngest and I doubled our sleeping bags and my husbanded took the cold like a man, and just complained about it the next day.
We also learned to fish and clean a fish, how to catch craw dads, how to yell at Josh for catching wild snakes, and how much we enjoyed the adventures of being out doors.
I hope this inspires you to get your families out of the house and onto new great adventures!
Leave a comment below on your favorite things to do at Christopher Creek!