This past weekend we made our first camping trip. We travelled 2.5 hours outside of town and stayed one night at a BC Parks campsite. We went for a dip in the lake, the kids roamed and played, we ate roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and the kids got their first look at a night sky full of stars.
One of the things I love about BC is how many different types of climate/vegetation zones there are (I’m sure there’s a more technical term for this!). Where we live is typical West Coast “temperate rainforest”. Thick with evergreens crowded together, the forest floor spongy soft with layers of pine needles and thick humus, ferns and other lush growth thrive underneath the canopy of Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar.
But drive a couple of hours to the northeast and you hit a type of desert. The ground is dry, rocky, and sand-
coloured. The trees grow spaced apart, their bark is a reddish-brown, and they are shorter than the ones near our home. The brush and grass that grows from the hard ground is coarse, spiky, and tough. Despite all the hard terminology, there is an immense beauty to it all. This photo is of the campground; in the background you can see the lake. Across the lake are huge swathes of rolling hills, only spotted with trees, mostly brownish-green in colour. It’s neat to see so much open space, and this photo really doesn’t do it all justice.
We set up camp quickly – this is car camping. Hey, we’re with kids! So you load up your vehicle, drive into your little site, pitch your tent and set up your lunch on the picnic table. In the evening you light a fire in your pit, complete with roasting grill. You buy firewood at the park office (as well as ice cream, decks of cards, and any other stuff you could want). It’s not exactly roughing it, but you absolutely feel as though you’ve “gotten away”. The weather was 30 degrees that day and it felt marvellous to sit in the shade of a tree and watch the kids play.
And play they did. DD went looking for bugs, and was thrilled to find more than the usual selection of sow bugs and small garden beetles we usually have around home. She found all manner of caterpillars and interesting beetles and flying insects. DS was happy to just follow her around and watch whatever she was doing. But eventually he got into the spirit of it all and added to the collection in her plastic cup. I love that DD loves bugs, that she has no qualms in picking them up, and that she wants to bring them all home with her. I also love that she is young enough that I can free the captive souls overnight and she’ll forget about them the next day, having been distracted by newer adventures. It was also nice that the site was open and we could see the road, which formed a large circle connecting all the sites, allowing the kids to wander down to other campsites where children their age were enjoying the great outdoors as well.
With DH getting every other Friday off (the first one is this Friday) we plan to do alot of these weekend getaways. There are literally hundreds of campsites in BC and we’d like to explore a variety of them. I look forward to this all year, and I know how quickly this season passes, so we’re planning to take full advantage of it. I think our next trip might be to one of the Gulf Islands – I enjoy ferry rides as much as the kids do!