Return to the parks


August 10,2014

When our kids were younger, we camped several times every summer because it was affordable and it was something we enjoyed. My wife grew up camping with her family right up until her mid-teens. As a city boy camping was not something I’d really ever done. I got the hang of it quickly, though, so you can imagine that after 20 years, it was a disappointment for us when we had to suspend our annual summer forays into the provincial parks. Disappointment is actually a gross understatement, in 2007 the doctors found I had cancer and camping was the least of our concerns while we dealt with the crap that goes along that type of diagnosis.  

Seven years I’m still here, Sandi is still sane and we’re thinking we should sell the tent trailer that’s been parked in the driveway. Opening it up for the first time in years we were surprised how good it smelled, almost like new I thought. But that’s not all we found, memories from our days in the parks with the boys stirred from the fabric, the old camp stove and the long forgotten plastic horseshoe game. It didn’t take long for us to decide to give it one more go, just to see if we really were too old to be doing that sort of thing.

We arranged a short weekend trip to a nearby park. Sandi worried using the trailer would be physically too much so we decided to use our ground tent instead. It’s a very good quality Eureka tent with lots of room and we remembered it was easy to put up. Of course we brought along our queen-sized fold up guest bed with the inflatable mattress that sits a couple feet off the ground. We also brought a dinning tent because who has time to deal with wasps and mosquitoes, certainly not us.

The forecast was 40% chance of thunderstorms, or 60% chance of sunny weather each day. I’m the one who says the glass is half full and this time fortune was on our side as we had wonderful weather every day, the bugs were scarce and the park was one of the best we had seen.  We did learn that setting up and tearing down the tents is much more work than we remembered, and that if you remain calm the skunk that passes 3 feet from your leg late at night by the campfire will not cover you with stink.

Most important of all, we learned that camping without kids is really very nice. That may seem an odd thing to say except that we didn’t have a long engagement and we started our family when we were young, Sandi and I didn’t get to spend much time together as a young couple. We delayed that by just over 30 years and it turns out there are still a few new things to learn about each other.

So the image at the top was taken on one of our hikes in the park. It’s a small creek that’s seen its share of water, sometimes quite a bit at once and other times, like now, just a little. I like the way it conveys endurance and strength.

Sandi and I plan to camp more,, but with the trailer. We’re even thinking about upgrading to something designed for a retired couple who might have the occasional young companion tag along. Who knows.