We have just returned from our semi-annual camping trip to Keats Island. It was a hit all around. Pearl cried when it was time to leave and is already full of plans for next year. This was her third time, Rose’s second, and I don’t know what number for Peter and I. (Though I do know that my first time was ten years ago.) Peter and I have camped here with friends and we have led youth group camping trips here and it is one of our favourite spots to visit.
Like last year, we brought our kayak over. Also like last year, Peter and Pearl travelled by kayak with most of our gear and I came across with Rose. Last summer, I carried Rose in the ergo and had a backpack. This year I brought our big Deuter camping backpack and filled it as full as possible and carried Rose who is a little too big for long hikes in the Ergo now. Unlike last year, I actually got a ride directly from Gibsons to Plumper Cove (where the campground is) from a kindhearted Camp Barnabas boat driver. On the way home, I hiked Rose in the backpack from Plumper Cove to Keats Landing where the ferry took us to Langdale. The hike is about 2km, not overly strenuous but probably about as long as I want to do with Rose at this point.
In other years we’ve camped over weekends and found that it can get busy and sometimes loud. Going in the middle of the week this time made for a much quieter campground and we had our pick of sites. So I didn’t feel bad when the kids were a little loud or cried and we didn’t have to worry about a lot of noise while they were sleeping.
The girls did great and had a blast. They ate well, played well, and slept well. In fact, it was the best kid sleep we’ve had yet while camping. In June we did a trial run in our backyard and were able to tweak things a little.
We didn’t pack any toys or books for the girls. I bought them each a water painting book but that was it. (When the pages dry, the colour vanishes and so you can paint them over and over again. Rose is really too young for it but I knew she would need her own!) Yet they never asked for toys and they never got bored. At bedtime, Peter and I took turns telling stories and they fell asleep quickly and easily. It helped, of course, that we kept them up late after a day outside!
Both Pearl and Rose loved throwing rocks in the water and watching the fish swim by the dock. Pearl had fun jumping in the ocean off the dock and loved the independence of running from our campsite to the water pump and back. They helped gather firewood and filter water and were mostly happy hikers. (Rose stopped to touch every cluster of ferns.)
Of course any highlight of a trip to Keats Island is a walk to Camp Barnabas and a visit to their general store. Mostly because the general store serves ice cream but Barnabas is also a beautiful property to walk around and has a small farm with sheep, chickens, bees, and a rabbit.
It’s a gift to be able to visit such a beautiful spot and spend time outdoors and with each other. We came home filthy and exhausted but so happy.