Starting in the late 80’s, a few friends of mine went camping every Canada Day
weekend, and I joined them starting in about 1990. Gail started in 1992 when we
started dating, and we’ve gone every year since (though Gail took a year off in
1999 when she was 8 months pregnant). The numbers of people that went on these
trips kept growing, until we had over 30 people and 8-10 camp sites. A few years
ago, we decided to move the weekend from July 1st to the August long weekend,
which was less busy, and easier to get camp sites. It’s not like interior camping
or anything; one family had a tent trailer, while the rest of us were in big tents
(our tent is big enough for me to stand up in the middle). Just about everyone had
air mattresses to sleep on, and Coleman stoves and barbecues, and some sites even
had electricity, so we’re not exactly “roughing it”.
However, in 2004, we found camping very challenging — Nicholas was only
2 so he had to be supervised every minute, and it also rained a fair bit. We’ve
had a number of rainy camping weekends, and those are just no fun at all:
- At one point in 2004 we had DVD players going in at least three different
mini-vans to keep the kids occupied
- In 1996, Gail and I left a day early because our tent leaked, so everything
we had brought (particularly clothes and sleeping bags) got wet. That was also
the weekend my old 1988 Cavalier died, so we had to borrow someone else’s
car just to get there.
- Another year, everyone drove into the nearest town and we all went to a
restaurant for dinner. A completely non-camping-like move, but it had rained most
of the weekend, and we all just wanted to be dry for an hour or so.
2004 seemed far more work than fun, and so we really had no desire to go the
next year. Some other families felt the same way, and so last year, the camping
weekend was officially cancelled; a few of us rented a chalet up in Collingwood
for a weekend instead.
This year, we decided to try it again, but for a non-long weekend, and so
last weekend, the tradition was resurrected, up at Balsam Lake Provincial
I’m very glad it was, because everyone had a great time. The weather co-operated
(no rain, not too hot, not too cold), the beach was nice, the lake was warm,
the kids behaved themselves as much as we could have expected them to, everything
went off without a hitch. We had 9 campsites and 33 people — the kids ranged
in ages from a little over a year to 10.
My buddy Jeff bought a Jet-Ski a couple
of weeks ago, so we all had a ride either on it or being pulled behind it on a
tube, so that was a lot of fun. One of the tubes was shaped like a hot dog, and
you’re not supposed to sit on it, you kneel (especially when you’re in
the back). I was behind Ryan, and so kneeling the whole time (it was all of about
10 minutes) just killed my legs — three days later, my legs are still stiff
and sore. Playing baseball last night didn’t help much; they loosened up during
the game, and felt pretty good afterwards, but today they’re as bad as yesterday.
I just hope they’re better before my next ball game on Thursday night. In the
words of one Mick Jagger, what a drag it is getting old.