Pining for Ponderosa
For the last six years, Jason and I have gone camping every summer with the same group of people. This August, we continued the tradition with an overnight outing at Ponderosa Campground, which is located in Bear Canyon near Nephi. I was the one that suggested we pitch our tents at Ponderosa; I must be a genius or something because Ponderosa was pretty wonderful.
Ponderosa’s campsites are shaded by a stately grove of Ponderosa Pines that were planted a century ago. Under their protective canopy, the temperatures remain cool enough in the morning for sleeping in late without tent scorch and just chilly enough at night for appreciating a cozy fire. Yup, genius.
In way of evening entertainment, we gorged ourselves on our customary hotdog and s’mores roast, along with a heaping serving of campfire ghost stories dished out mostly by Drew and me. Our longest tale involved Stinky Joe, cacti monsters, zombies, kitty cats, logs and mummies, AKA a bunch of incongruent elements requested by the children. We had a flavorful and colorful night.
Before we came home the next day, we checked out a couple of close curiosities. A section of the forest adjacent to Ponderosa has lovingly been converted into Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. Over the years, visitors have added items and built houses for Piglet, Christopher Robin and the rest of the Pooh characters amongst the pines. The Wood was quite darling and popular with both the kids and adults in our group.
We also took a short hike to a nearby onyx quarry. Although some of the younger children complained through the entire trek about having to use their legs for moving, clearly a function those limbs were never designed for, their grievances were forgotten once we reached the quarry and an all-hands hunt began for the coolest pieces of Bacon Onyx hidden amongst the rock rubble. (Naturally, some ice cream bribery was involved.)
Our convoy decided to return home via the Nebo Loop Scenic Byway, a genius idea that I can’t take credit for. We ate a snack in the Devil’s Kitchen, a peculiar cluster of red conglomerate stone reminiscent of Bryce Canyon, and gawped at Mount Nebo’s geological magnificence.
Ponderosa was a satisfying continuation of our camping ritual. There were s’mores, shade, stones and Pooh aplenty. And what’s a camping trip without Pooh?