Labour Day Camping
I really love to camp. Not car camping, but true interior camping. I’m not all that experienced at it as I’ve only done it a handful of times, but there’s something about packing all your gear into a canoe and heading off into the wilderness that is just so appealing to me. It must be a romanticized Canadian thing.
Then we got kids.
We cottaged the first summer and that was okay. Then we didn’t do any vacation involving the entire family our second summer together. Our third summer together we did a week long car camping trip at Algonquin Park and it was pretty much a disaster. It rained every day. A mama bear and her cub meandered through the camp site daily at both breakfast and dinner time. The kids wouldn’t help out around the site and constantly complained. We couldn’t light anything remotely resembling a fire due to the rain and the really green firewood the park provided. The kids’ tent flooded. The fishing wasn’t great and the trip involved too much hiking for particular temper tantrum prone child. This car camping trip has become a family legend that we all talk about as a big disaster of comical proportions.
This summer, however, I really wanted to do it again. On a smaller scale, but I wanted to see if we could do it and make it more fun than miserable for the whole family. After much begging, I finally got Wifey to agree on Charleston Lake Provincial Park. It supposedly had great fishing, some really interesting hiking, and even an off leash dog area! We signed up for one of the last campsites they had available on the final long weekend of the summer.
The week before the trip, the weather forecast turned unfavourable. Cold, rainy, and more cold. I was worried that the first trimester exhaustion dominating my life would make me a cranky camper. The kids were anxious about school and we had to cram all of that back-to-school prep with packing for a camping trip into a short four-day work week. To make the final decision, we voted as a family and decided just to take the plunge. I’m so glad that we did.
We discovered that the kids are much better campers and are ready for an interior trip. Or rather, they were ready until we found out that they can’t canoe worth beans. In all fairness, it was quite windy, but both kids are a bunch of lily dippers. The dog, who hates water, actually likes sitting in a canoe as long as you ask him if he wants to go for a ride. He won’t get in the canoe otherwise. The dog also doesn’t like the family to be separated too far apart in their canoes or he’ll threaten to jump out and toss you all in the lake for a chilly swim.
The kids can now successfully do dishes and want to show off their newly acquired fire making skills. We can make a kick ass tarp village to protect us from the rain. The stars in the night sky were phenomenal. We are campfire cooking geniuses. We can combine fishing and hiking to get a little of something fun for everyone. We can teach the kids new card games to play at night. We can sing all of our favourite camp songs fireside.
Alas, we’re a camping family again.