The Wilderness of Coconino National Forest/ Mormon Lake

This past weekend we were invited to a location that remained unsullied by the wilderness black family. Personally, I have always wanted to camp in the Flagstaff area, it's probably the best places to camp in Arizona. After a 4 hour drive from Tucson to Flagstaff, we decided to camp at Mormon Lake.  

Although, I have never camped at Mormon Lake. I have been here before, and the memories I had are no longer the reality. I remember a vast lake with tons of people enjoying the vibrancy of wildlife and isolation which Mormon lake provides.  The lake was dry... Inevitable the dry lake and the abundance of liquored up tourist attract large amounts of utility vehicles. 

However, you couldn't tell the wildlife that. We saw the largest herd of deers  grazing on open lands. Thousands sprinkled the plane simultaneously, one of the most beautiful sunsets Arizona could behold blanketed the horizon. This was our welcome, and it was warm. 

This was a weekend camping trip, so we wanted to keep our costs down. We found some dispersed camping off of Ashford road which means we didn't have to pay. Since we arrive during sunset, it was a mad dash to ensure that camp and dinner were ready for all parties. 

The next day, we were able to see our surrounding and the camping situation was well worth unveiling in the morning. We could still hear the utility vehicles and motorbikes however we were so isolated that it made for a warm but comfortable breakfast. 

After breakfast, we all decided to go to the Lava Tubes. I'm going to do a separate post specifically about that experience but just know to bring a jacket. 

After leaving the lava tubes or cave we went back to camp and napped and took in the silence of Coconino National Forest. The solitude and the environment were enough to make this one of my new favorite places to camp. Another sunset unveiled the night. The stars were the main event. Growing up in a very desolate location you see the stars often, however, I have never seen the stars in this magnitude. I was able to view the Milky Way clouds, every cluster, and every planet. 

It was a weekend camping trip, so there isn't much more to talk about. If you love dirt roads, isolation, a connection to the heavens, and cave exploring, Coconino National Forest is the place for you. 

Andres Portela