This summer I’ve been especially struggling with the Arizona heat. Maybe it’s because I’m older or maybe it’s because I want to be more active outdoors. Whatever the case is, the brutal Arizona summer has been keeping me indoors and causing major cabin fever. As of this last week I hadn’t traveled anywhere with Wynston for a month and a half so I felt the dire need to get out of the house. Since my mom has a home in Payson, AZ (northern Arizona) I figured it’d be the perfect getaway for a few days. We could escape the heat, get out of the house and potentially explore. I wanted to take Wynston on a new mountainous adventure because I’ve been craving time in the great outdoors, and turns out we had a lot more fun than we anticipated!
Wynston and I drove north to Payson on Thursday. We spent a relaxing evening with my mom, stepdad David and their dog Cooper. It was raining, which is a welcome occurrence here in Arizona. We took advantage of the storms by catching up on their screened in patio before mom and David made dinner. Delicious stuffed turkey burgers were on the menu, and mom even made Wynston and Cooper one of their own!
The next morning I knew I wanted to spend the day getting lost in everything the pine-covered mountains have to offer us. My mom decided to join us so we headed East late morning. I wanted to check out the Mogollon Rim area because I knew there were lots of potential camping areas and hiking trails. We weren’t disappointed.
Our first stop was just 30 minutes from mom’s house, at the Mogollon Rim visitor center. The stop allowed for lots of great photo opportunities. The weather was beautiful with a nice breeze, and scattered cloud cover that gave us a reprieve from the sun’s warm glare. Of course we were at a higher elevation, which meant the higher we climbed, the cooler it got.
The Rim views did not disappoint. We could see the entire Payson valley at a glance. There’s something so peaceful and serene about looking over a monstrous valley of of pine trees. And that’s exactly what I was in search of – a relaxing outdoor experience.
After the brief visit, we decided to head across the highway to Rim Road. I knew there was much to be desired as we continued to ascend the mountain. Campers and utility vehicles paved the way for us as we found the entrance to Woods Canyon Lake. Neither myself or mom had ever been there, so we decided to check it out. After all, water isn’t easy to come by in Arizona, especially a large body of it that you can enjoy for recreation.
The area wasn’t incredibly populated, which was a welcome sight. We easily found parking and figured we’d start by checking out the Woods Canyon Lake store. The store is equipped with fishing tackle, drinks, snacks and emergency items. The most fun part? The boat rentals! Neither mom nor I knew you could rent a watercraft, and after checking with the employees to see if dogs were allowed we decided to rent a paddle boat! I was SO excited. Mom and I hadn’t been on a paddle boat in 25 years. Only $30 for an hour – sign us up!
Woods Canyon Lake is small and you can only use the rental boats. There is a boat launch, but you cannot bring your own boat to the lake. Also the fishing boats must use electric motors – no gas.
Mom and I were beyond excited for our impulse adventure. It was the perfect day and I was most stoked about taking Wynston out on the water. For years I’ve had a bucket list for Wynston, and one of the items on it has been taking Wynston on a boat. Luckily I never specified what type of boat, I just knew I wanted to experience the freedom of boating with him. So I did – in a paddle boat. And it was absolutely wonderful.
Now, keep in mind that I was not prepared for our paddle boat outing. I didn’t have sunscreen, Wynston’s life jacket, or any other potential boating necessities. But we made do! Thankfully I did have Wynston’s Gold Paw Sun Shield Dog Tee (affiliate link, he wears a size 8) on hand so I put that on him for extra precaution. I wasn’t worried about him jumping ship to go swimming, so the lack of life jacket didn’t worry me too much. I did check the general store for doggy life vests, but to no avail.
Renting the paddle boat was as easy at paying for our hour at the store and walking to the dock to pick up our ride. The two attendants handed mom and I life jackets, gave us a brief rundown of the boat and off we went! Wynston made himself at home between mom and I. I wet down his shirt so he was always staying cool. We had plenty of water and I made it accessible for Wynston to drink the whole time.
Mom and I took the boat to the middle area of the lake and just enjoyed the sunshine. We floated, relaxed and took in the peacefulness of our surroundings. Every now and then Wynston would stir, sitting up to take in the cool breeze, then he’d lay back down. The rocking off the boat put him to sleep almost immediately.
The paddle boat was nice and spacious – perfect for Wynston’s first boating adventure. Although paddling isn’t much of a work out, my hip did end up hurting because I need a hip replacement. However, I think it’s the best option for two people because you can chat and relax. Plus the two back seats offer extra storage space.
I ended up with a sunburn, I left my Kurgo water bottle in the boat (major disappointment) and my hip hurt, but it was SO worth it. I loved our adventure so much, that I’m going back this week for more! Next time we are going to rent a kayak!
Our outing to Woods Canyon Lake is just what the doctor ordered for me. I’m feeling excited to get back out on the water and try new things! Since Wynston had a good time, I’m confident he will enjoy kayaking. After all, as long as he’s with his mom, he’s happy!
Stay tuned for upcoming posts about our water sports adventures. In the meantime, if you’re interested in boating with your dog, check out these helpful posts from some of my fellow pet bloggers:
5 Tips for Paddle Boarding With Your Dog – from You Did What With Your Weiner?
How to Keep Your Crazy Dog From Jumping off the Boat – from Something Wagging This Way Comes
Keeping Pets Safe on Boats – from PetsWeekly
Pets Ahoy! Boating With Pets – from PetsWeekly
Have you ever gone boating with your pet? I use boating as a very general term – it can include SUPing, canoeing, kayaking, or any sort of water vessel! Do you have any tips for a rookie?!