As this summer continues to produce record-breaking temperatures, it’s hard not to spend time outside. Some people like to enjoy a glass of wine on a patio while others climb mountains, and some people fall somewhere in between – camping with a drink in their hand.
I prefer peaceful nature activities, hiking up trails where no climbing gear is required, but on the weekend of July 14, I decided to push my boundaries.
I have been camping with my family since I was three years old. As Polish people, my family always brings their entire house with them on each camping trip, even if it’s only for a couple of days.
My love of camping extended into my teenage and adult years with friends, and we always pick a campground where you park on site with all of your belongings at arms-reach.
A few weekends ago, I decided to go backcountry camping in Kananaskis with two friends and my girlfriend. It was our first time camping at a spot you actually had to hike to.
Although my friend told us the hike was an hour long before the trip, it took us almost three hours to make it to the Quaite Valley Backcountry Campground.
Generally, you aren’t supposed to carry more than 25 per cent of your body weight, but my backpack weighed 60 pounds, more than 30 per cent of my weight, because of my Polish heritage and habits.
The hike was excellent because we had so much company – thousands of mosquitos greeted us and sucked our blood the whole way.
Even though I brought four litres of bottled water, more than half of it was consumed by the time we finally made it to the campground. The pond near the campground, closely resembling a swamp, didn’t look very appetizing either.
I’m sure the scenery of the campground is beautiful to other people, but my eyes only saw trees and mosquitos.
As I attempted to cook a steak using a tinfoil tray on the communal fire pit, the other campers advised me to ditch the tinfoil and use the large built-in grates instead.
My steak then slipped through the grates and fell in the fire. The ash made for an interesting seasoning.
My girlfriend and I decided to pack up and head home the next day instead of staying for a second night.
With hundreds of bug bites and sore backs, we didn’t regret our decision, but realized intense nature activities should be left to those more capable. We, on the other hand, will enjoy Caesars on the deck instead.