Safe arrival, nice dinner, and an early morning hike in Cottonwood

We arrived at the campground yesterday early enough that the ranger station was still open. That’s quite unusual when we arrive on a workday. Kathryn and I have a rhythm of who does what we we set up our campsite, so we had everything as we wanted it within the hour, well before sunset.

Our campsite at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona.
Our campsite at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona.

After setting up the campsite, we took a break for a few minutes and then, since both of us had eaten early lunches, decided we were ready to head over to Pizzeria Bocce for dinner.

We’ve eaten there a number of times before, so we had an idea of what we wanted before we arrived. However, when the server described the special, a four bruschetta appetizer, we switched out our usual caprese salad. And we were glad we did.

The bruschetta special at Pizzeria Bocce in Cottonwood, Arizona.
The bruschetta special at Pizzeria Bocce in Cottonwood, Arizona.

After the bruschetta, we went back to our usuals, the Cire’s pizza and the ice cream cookie dessert. However, in a twist, we ordered beer by the pitcher — they were really half-pitchers, but who’s counting? — which I don’t remember seeing on the menu before. Both were Arizona craft beers. The first was an amber ale from THAT Brewery in Cottonwood. I remember the second was a pilsner, but I don’t remember the brewery. I ordered the pilsner because Kathryn expressed a preference for something lighter, but having tasted both she preferred the first one. She’s developing a palate for beer surprisingly quickly.

A cattle guard on the Lower Raptor Trail in the national forest near Cottonwood, Arizona.
A cattle guard on the Lower Raptor Trail in the national forest near Cottonwood, Arizona.

After a delightful night’s sleep, which was interrupted by exactly zero bathroom trips — we’re learning! — we had a sunrise cup of coffee before heading out on a four-mile hike into the national forest. Our plans for after breakfast are to check out a nearby city — one we haven’t visited together before — and to pick up some provisions. As it turns out, after many camping trips, we’ve taken some of our equipment for granted. Flashlights, it turns out, are rather important when camping.

The weather has been pleasant so far. There was a little light rain before we arrived yesterday, and it looks like there was a little more overnight. However, the forecast for tomorrow is ominous, with rain likely most of the day and into early Sunday morning. We’ve dealt with rain before. We have a tarp over our picnic table, so it’s not a huge deal. What sucks is rain with heavy winds. Fortunately, that’s not in the forecast.

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