The Outdoor Group is a recreational and social group that gathers to share outdoor experiences, primarily hiking. We hike on the second and fourth Saturday mornings during the cool months. Our goals are to share strength in fellowship as well as encourage a love of the outdoors and our environment. For more information or to be added to our mailing list, please email us at outdoorgroup@phoenixuu.org.

  • Outdoor Group Campout

    Come join the fun at the Outdoor Group Campout starting Friday, May 20 through Sunday, May 22, outside of Tusayan, Arizona.

    Once again we are going to have to adapt. First COVID canceled the campout in the fall of 2020 and again in 2021. Now our group campsite has been burned out! Tragically, the Tunnel Fire swept through the Sunset Crater National Monument. The campgrounds have been closed indefinitely. 

    I have been giving an alternate spot a lot of thought. We need to be in the high country in late May because it is way too hot in the valley. It is too close to the date to be able to find any group campsites. However, there is always the possibility of dispersed camping in Arizona! 

    The new location will be on Forest Road 302, Campsite E. This area is large enough to accommodate a lot of campers, with motor homes, trailers, and tents. It is a dirt road but is graded and is accessible with a regular car—high profile is not required. There are NO toilets. There are a lot of trees and bushes. There are no amenities of any kind other than spots that have been cleared for camping. It is my understanding that the fire danger in this part of the world is very high; so there will be no plan for an open campfire. If we are lucky, there may be some gas fire pits available for us to gather round.

    There is a lot of space to spread out. There is a large enough space that we can set up a common area for us to all come together and share a meal. Ed and I still plan to bring the hotdogs and buns along with ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, diced onions, and grated cheese. We will have some vegan dogs available. We will also be the hotdog cooks on our portable gas barbecue. We will provide plates, napkins, knives, forks, and spoons. Motels are available in Tusayan, very close by, for those who want to participate but do not want to have the complete camping experience.

    If you are able, you are asked to bring a side dish to share that does not have to be warmed up at the campground. If you do not bring it from home, there are stores in Tusayan that have prepared foods. Please bring whatever you want to drink. I’m sure that some of us will choose to drink beer or wine; so bring whatever you want, but bring something to drink!

    The plan will be to arrive on Friday; Ed and I will arrive on Thursday for anyone interested in joining us then. Friday night plan your own food. We can bring our food to the common area, but each will be eating and drinking what he/she/they brought. Saturday morning we will go for a hike that is yet to be determined. Saturday afternoon after the hike those who wish to have lunch someplace in Tusayan may do so or you can plan to eat what you brought. Saturday afternoon is quiet time to relax and enjoy the forest. Saturday evening we will come together for a shared meal of hotdogs and sides. Sunday morning those who wish may bring what they brought for breakfast to the common area for one last opportunity to be together before people start heading back home. 

    I understand this isn’t the same as being at our group site in Sunset Crater. We won’t have all the nice amenities of sheltered picnic tables, plugs for iPhone charging, campfire ring, and barbecue. We are getting good at figuring out how to work with what we can do, and this is another opportunity to still make it happen and have a really good time. 

    If you are planning on joining us, please respond to outdoorgroup@phoenixuu.org with your name, the number of people camping in your party, and the description of what you will be using for shelter, i.e., 25-foot RV, 24-foot trailer, teardrop trailer, small tent, large tent, etc. That will help me to know how best to direct people as they arrive.

    I am very excited to be coming together in the great outdoors again. Let’s go camping!