Tag Archives: Camping

Changing my mind about camping

Camping was rarely fun for me. My parents would take us on camping holidays when my brother and I were small, and it was fun to be on holiday, it was fun to visit new places (or old favourite places, like FlamingoLand, or Market Harborough) but living in a tent is not one of my go to choices. Scout camp every year was an adventure, and a chance to do some great outdoorsy stuff, but returning home was always a great relief. Food! Electric kettle! Comfortable bed! Yay!

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The morning is my least favourite time on camps.

When we came to Canada, we discovered camping was a different animal out here. For one thing, campsites are different. As a kid, I wouldn’t be surprised when we parked the VW in a field, and filled our kettle and pots from a standpipe at the gate. There might have been a toilet block somewhere nearby. But here in Canada we have beautifully maintained individual plots, with a tent pad, a firepit and a picnic bench. There’s always at least pit toilets on a site, often a shower block, and the staff patrol the site several times a day, cleaning, restocking and offering firewood for sale, as well as checking who’s paid for their site and so on.

So this year, when Mrs Dim said she’d booked a campsite for her birthday/Mother’s Day weekend, I grumbled and complained because I always do, but I didn’t dread it. She’d picked Nairn Falls because we’ve been there before, and she loves the fact that the sites with the river behind them have their own white noise generator (the river) to drown out any sound from other campers. This was the first weekend the site was open, so it wasn’t that busy and we arrived on a Friday afternoon that was beautifully sunny.

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It didn’t take long to get the car unpacked and the site set up – it’s the same tent we’ve had these past nine years, and we’ve got a system for putting it up*.

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Since it was now almost teatime, Tiny Weasel and I figured sitting and reading was the best thing to do, but Mrs Dim had a brief commune with nature, and then said we should check out the walk to the lake.

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It turned out to be a little more of a hike than we’d thought, and it was a good thing that Tiny Weasel had grabbed a bottle of water on her way out of the site, but it was worth the walk.

Then we had food, and a well-earned rest.

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The next day we decided to tackle a bigger hike, and drove out to a start point that was along 8km of potholed track. But the opening view was encouraging:

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The terrain was occasionally broken up with fallen trees that will be cleared later in the season, but other than that it wasn’t hard going. Once more, we were heading for a lake.

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Which we had no trouble finding.

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Though it did take us a while to leave. Along the way we had talked of all manner of things, made great and wondrous plans, and revised the plot of a new play (Mrs Dim is an excellent sounding board for plays, and this one is almost entirely down to her invention.)

We even met a local having a snack.

Chipmunk close up

We spent the afternoon and early evening in Whistler, before returning to the campsite for one more evening round the firepit. Clearing up the next morning was nearly as efficient as setting up had been, and before long, there was just Mrs Dim and Tiny Weasel on the site, saying farewell to the view.

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Camping is still grubby and occasionally uncomfortable, and I don’t sleep well. But it’s also good family time, a great break from the digital world we’re so obsessed with, and a chance to listen.

 

*Argue, argue, argue, huff, argue, tent.

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RVs – or Camping the Easy Way

I’ve made no secret that camping isn’t my favourite thing, even over here where camping gets done right: firepits, tent pads, running water, toilet blocks and good access. But I have a dream: Waking up in a campsite without feeling like the cat slept on my head and the tent pad was replaced with orthopaedic rocks overnight.

Yeah, this is how I look when camping. No one needs this in the mornings....

Yeah, this is how I look when camping. No one needs this in the mornings….

So, just for a laugh, we went along to the Snowbirds RV show in Abbotsford to see how the other half camps. And boy, were we in for a surprise.

Just one wing of the Tradex facility. There were three other areas of equal size - plenty to see.

Just one wing of the Tradex facility. There were three other areas of equal size – plenty to see.

In the huge Tradex facility there were lines and lines of RVs on display. From humble trailer tents, through the fabulously appointed Rpod…

Small on the outside, but containing a bathroom and a kitchen and double bed...Plus a zip-on shelter out front....

Small on the outside, but containing a bathroom and a kitchen and double bed…Plus a zip-on shelter out front….

…Right up to the monster coach-sized rolling homes.

The biggest RVs had pop-out sections and living areas larger than the flat I lived in at college.

The biggest RVs had pop-out sections and living areas larger than the flat I lived in at college.

We’ve looked at the Rpods and trailer tents before, but only online, and this was an opportunity to really poke around inside them. What I found weird was that these smaller beasties were the ones designed for family camping. Once you got above a certain size, the RVs were aimed at the Snowbirds – the seniors who run south during the winter, and are looking for all the comforts of home in warmer climes without being tied to another mortgage. The big coaches I had assumed could hold a reasonable-sized rock band and their groupies, actually were meant for an old couple. One bedroom, no roll-out spare beds, bigger bathrooms, and plenty of day-living space. The appointments were plush, but Oldster plush. The whole place looked like Grandma’s house (in a good way. If Grandma had a thing for leather sofas.)

There was more of interest for us in this model - a converted van...

There was more of interest for us in this model – a converted van…

We’re looking for something to suit our old bones better than a pad on the floor. And a built-in bathroom is more appealing than those late-night treks across a pitch-black campsite that may or may not contain bears.

Bears who would be scarier than these ones. And the weasel...

Bears who would be scarier than these ones. And the weasel…

We discovered the Rpod would be great, but the trailer tents are more in our price range and neither is likely for now, since we still haven’t got a hitch put on the car. That’s the one hitch in the plan! That we haven’t got a hitch! Ha ha ha ha ahem.

So it looks like we’ll still be in tents next summer, unless the books sales pick up and I make my first $20,000 and decide to blow it all on an Rpod. Or unless the Rpod people would like me to write them a glowing review of their product from personal experience? Go on, lend us one and we’ll be ever so careful with it.

 

The weasels can sleep in the tent outside it…..