Despite my worries, the family's camping adventure turned into a great memory
I was worried about the August long weekend.
My two children, my husband and I headed out to west-central Alberta for a camping trip. Itís been years since I camped, with the last time being a less-than-glamorous week in a tent on the Oregon coast.
Although I was born and raised on the farm, I am not a rustic girl.
I donít like cooking over a fire, not having a shower, being bitten by bugs and using an outhouse. And that is just what I was envisioning the long weekend to be.
Despite my trepidation, my family was invited to camp with my husbandís cousin and best friend, so in an effort to please my long-suffering husband, I agreed to the weekend.
The prospects got better when we received the offer of a 36-foot trailer for us to stay in.
Belonging to an aunt and uncle, the trailer features two pull-outs, a queen-sized bed and a large washroom. Even this classical-music-loving girl thinks trailers, with their ingenious engineering and cozy atmosphere, are fun. Who doesnít love tiny ice trays and 12-inch windows?
The site, perched over a creek, on a piece of picturesque farm land belonging to an uncle, made the stay even more tolerable, as did its location, just one quarter section Ė a 10-minute walk Ė from my dadís house. I figured if things got bad, I could simply head over to his place.
We pulled up to the site, and the kids ran out in excitement. Although my teenager looked slightly less impressed, my 11-year-old son bounded out of the car to check out the ravine and creek that we would be staying by.
I noticed right away that the whole campsite was set up, complete with two full-length leisure chairs and an awning. I started to breathe easier.
After unpacking food, clothes and gear, the guys headed down to the creek, taking the three youngest kids, ages 11 and eight, and the dogs.
I sat down with my friend and the tension in my shoulders started to dissipate even more.
A few hours later, the troupe came back up the hill, the guys loudly offering to make dinner, which was OK by me. Roasting and barbecue ensued while we played badminton and catch with the kids, followed by a meal of potatoes, garden carrots, chicken and shrimp, ate in the great outdoors. After dinner, we had some visitors as more relatives dropped by. It was fun to catch up with those I havenít seen for awhile.
After an amazing lightning storm, during which there were 15 of us huddled under a couple of awnings trying to stay dry, we headed down the path to the fire pit area.
The guys got a blazing fire going and we sat around visiting, roasting marshmallows and making smores. Yum.
I donít know if it was all the fresh air, but I certainly slept well that night, as did the kids.
In the morning, I headed to my dadís house and the two of us spent a pleasant morning in town visiting and getting a few groceries.
He headed back to the campsite with me to check out the dam and swimming hole the guys were working on. It was cool for him to wander by the creek he spent so much time by as a youngster.
An amazingly warm afternoon drifted by, with the kids running back and forth from the creek to the badminton net and the bowĖand-arrow target area. They got filthy and soaked from the creek, but had an amazing time.
My husband and his cousin once again offered to make dinner while we hung out. Who was I to refuse? They proceeded to make another delicious meal.
After dinner, we had more relatives stop by, this time bearing pies.
The fresh strawberry-rhubarb and apple pies were quite satisfying.
There were no storms on Sunday afternoon, but there was another blazing fire and more smores.
This time, I stayed up late visiting, playing the sceptic to ghost and sasquatch stories and trying to keep myself from being burned by an overzealous fire keeper.
Monday morning included a breakfast of bacon, eggs and hashbrowns, once again cooked by the guys.
We then all pitched in to clean up before heading back to our respective homes, tired kids in tow.
Although dirt and insects were part of the weekend, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my wilderness adventure.
My worries over sleeping in a tent surrounded by bugs, eating wet bread and being bored never came to fruition. Instead, I had a wonderful time with good friends and stayed in a beautiful trailer.
All that and I may have created memories for my kids. I had so much fun, I just might consider doing it again, especially if I donít have to cook.