During a quiet moment of our camping weekend, Kitara looked up and said, “Look, Papa! The trees are making a heart for us!”
I’ve been camping many times. With family and friends. Dare I say, because of family and friends.
It’s . . . not known as my favourite activity in the world.
The weekend after Rock the Shores and the Backyard Weekender, I again came camping at Gordon Bay Provincial Park, but this time, it was different. It was, I realized, the very first time that I’ve ever been camping with just my wifey and kidlet.
Multi-family camping is fantastic, especially for Kitara to have her friends around, but I was very curious to know what it would be like with just us.
Turns out, it’s pretty great in its own way.
Here, Queen of the Forest, Kitara the Sillypants, surveys her domain: campsite 61.
She’s on a boat! We bought this proud and beautiful sailing vessel, the HMCS Lily Pad, to make our camping fun more boaty, and boy, was it a great addition to our setup. On day 3, we rowed her out to a little island where we ate lunch, swam around, picked up trash left by dum dums, and rowed back.
Now, this was a bit of a cheat in terms of “just us” camping. On day 2, the Playles came up and we all tubed down the Cowichan River. It was . . . busy.
But it was excellent thanks to the company which popped up at the roundabout near the river four years ago, O.R.K.A. Adventures.
This small two-brother business looks after every detail of tubing, unlike the sometimes sketchy tractor tire tubes previously rented out of the back of various vans in years past, the defunct gas station they run their business out of is chock-a-block with high-end seat-backed tubes, each featuring a rope to tie to other tubes, life jackets for every rider, and even optional seats so itty-bitties don’t fall right through the middle.
They drop you off, they pick you up, they even have floating garbage and recycling cans along the route! The only thing they don’t do is sell food along the way (which we suggested to them, as we’re all professional entrepreneurs not).
Top left: my itty-bitty, in the water, and taking a break on my legs. Top right: Arya, also using my leg as a floatation device. Lower right: Kairi and Kitara being little fish. Kairi sort of looked like a G1 Transformer in her lifejacket-which-didn’t-fit.
And, lower left: some volunteers from Island Savings were catching empties and throwing out bottles of water, free-for-nothin’, just because. It was really cool to see.
Back at camp, much nature was communed with, including this adorabubble little caterpillar on Kitara’s hand.
As the Playles were on their way, Matt created a kid-monster totem with the littles.
After it was all said and done, a great, relaxing time was had by all. It was quieter than most camping trips (with the exception of night 1, where the campsite two down from us thought it would be an AWESOME idea to bring a generator and karaoke machine, “singing” distorted country songs and shining their Hollywood-style spotlight into the trees until they were yelled at by campers and camp rangers alike to STFU), but it was a nice change of pace.
So, while I’m certainly not one of those lunatics who could declare, with a straight face . . .
. . . I will admit (with minimal duress) that this was one of the least unenjoyable times I’ve ever had
getting nature all over me camping.