Updated: Jan 3
Camping embodies many things that I adore; cheap accommodation, acceptable non-showering, miracles, and packaged foods that may or may not induce vomiting.
Since I like to include these things in my daily life, it’s almost as though I am permanently camping.
Usually, it is one step up from sleeping on the sidewalk! It’s called living the dream.
Do it or don’t. No one cares since you and the people around you have chosen to sleep in the dirt.
Finally being able to poop after four days in the woods.
Reaching Maconalds before the 11 am cut off for breakfast.
Some generic brand food items are wonderful. My taste buds are already tingling thinking about the deliciousness. Sometimes, generic brand food items can make you curl in a ball and scream WHY!? as your stomach punches you from the inside. How will you know? Buy the things you need, then get that one friend who eats everything to test your choices. You will soon know.
ALDER FLATS– Maple Ridge
Survival Tip: Try not to die
We were the only car parked out of the 100 available spaces. Again, that pesky rain deterred many hikers from enjoying nature’s offerings. We fashioned our industrial size black garbage bags and began our adventure. Many of the uphill “paths” were more of “mini-waterfalls”. At one point, a small creek provided cumbersome entertainment. There was a make-shift log bridge but we decided to take off our already drenched shoes and wade through it. When we arrived at the deserted campsite we set up shop and ate some trail mix. Then, we went to bed at 8:00 pm. We awoke (just kidding, we didn’t sleep) at 4:30 am. We discovered our tent was pitched in a massive puddle which was nice. After my brother almost bear sprayed a dog belonging to the only other hiker on the mountain, we discovered that makeshift log bridge from the day before was barely visible under the gushing water. The creek now was more like when Arwen conjured the water horses to stop the Nazgul. The beautifully haunting thing about crying in the rain is no one can tell that you are crying. We made it home alive and my father banned us from being dumb and ill-prepared.
ALICE LAKE– Squamish
Survival Tip: Check the weather report
After a tough lesson learned in the car (I was hungover, the Sea to Sky Highway is winedy and the plastic bag my friend gave me had a hole in it which made for unfortunate times) we were stoked for camping. When we arrived, on a chilly end of October afternoon we were ready for good times. We went for a lovely walk around the lake and played on the playground when it started to rain… more. So we decided to enjoy our packaged dinner at 4:00 pm and hang out in our cozy two-person tent. Thank goodness my friend insisted that we bring flashlights. We played a few rounds of crazy eights and by then it was 5:15 pm. At this point, the rain was really coming down. Then we heard a voice (there were about three people at the campsite). A park lady came by to collect the fee for camping. I am ashamed to say this but since we were technically in the peak season- despite the crap weather, the lake being too cold to swim in and most services were not available... IT COST 30 dollars for one night. We decided to hit the hay at around 7:45 pm, only to be awoken by a shrilling scream.
“She must have heard the price of the campsite”- then I rolled over in my sleeping bag. Just kidding, you can’t roll in a two-person tent.
The next morning we were fresh at 5:00 am. Of course, it was still raining. SO like any logical person, we opened the back of the van and threw the fully set-up tent into it. Complete with all of our gear inside.
Then we went home. Pretty sure the tent is still drying, fully set up, in my friend’s garage.
FALLS CREEK– Wells Gray Provincial Park
Survival Tip: Watch for bears
Now I have only seen about two bears (bums) in my life and I saw them from inside a vehicle on the side of the highway (alive!). Wells Gray is large, by Canadian standards. Driving on the dirt road watch out for these small frogs that you may have to run over in order to get to your campsite. I think bears may be more of an issue than these frogs though. We never saw a bear but that may be due to the preventative measures that we took. We were told that noise scares bears away. So the first time my friend repeatedly hit his metal water bottle with a stick. The second time we were a little unprepared so my friend and I constantly talked/sung/ danced for 2 hours loudly.
JOFFRE LAKES– “near” Pemberton
Survival Tip: Wear Layers in Winter
There is no need to pack a cooler for your brewskies, the land is your cooler.
LAKE LOUISE– Banff National Park
Survival Tip: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel has exquisite toilet facilities
AND a dog. The hotel is heated unlike your tent, which gets bloody cold at night.
RUCKLE PARK– Ganges Island
Survival Tip: Bring food
I have moderate bike skills and my camping skills, to some, may seem even worse. So we decided to go on a bike/ camping trip. 8.3km upwards. I distinctly remember at one point pleading to my friend for us to take a taxi. Just like Serena in Gossip Girl. Instead, this was Ganges Island, where people have fresh “eggs for- sale- stands” that use an “honour system” jar for “payment”.
When we finally arrived our crushed, depleted bodies were ready for some energy. Food. Isn’t it delicious? So we had a jar of peanut butter and some hot dogs in a Ziplock bag. Lucky for us we were smart enough to rest the hot dogs on a picnic table while we went to the toilet. That way, when we arrived back the hot dogs were pecked at by ravenous crows. My Katniss skills were really becoming apparent. After a small debate on the likelihood of catching a disease if we were to consume half-eaten meat, we were left sitting in the tent scooping out peanut butter with our make-shift spoons. It goes without saying that it was raining heavily. After some time, some lovely ladies across the way took pity on us by offering us gummy bears and board games.
SUMMERLAND– Okanagan Lake
Survival Tip: Peg down your tent
It started off rocky when we wanted some pie. I say pie, not exercise so naturally, we needed to take the car. We popped the hood to check the oil only to find a mouse huddled in the engine. After water, peanut butter on the end of a marshmallow stick, a swift ride around the parking lot, and finally a cloth tied to a stick the mouse was out and walked away into the bushes unscathed. The following day, high winds and ominous clouds meant we should go watch a movie in theaters and grab some White Spot. Upon our arrival, back at the campsite, our thoughtful neighbours informed us that our tent almost blew away and they used pegs to secure it down for us. OH! you mean those pegs we originally had but thought nah too much effort, the weight of our bags will be enough to prevent the tent from blowing away?
Circle or straight-line routes are always nice when planning a road trip. You don’t waste expensive fuel while driving unnecessarily and you make the most of your two weeks that you begged work to let you have off. In our case, we chose to use the underrated shape: a squiggle.
Only pack the essentials: Why bring 3 forks when you can bring one and share it amongst yourselves?
Your sleeping bag case replaces a pillow if you shove clothes in it. It also doubles as a dirty laundry bag if you are brave enough.
Hatchets uses are endless; cutting the one piece of soap someone luckily decided to bring, cutting hair, stirring hot chocolate