Last summer Peter and I had a joke that camping with our children (then aged 3 and 10 months) was “an investment in future fun”. It was a lot of work, it wasn’t always enjoyable, but we felt it was important and something we wanted to do with them and we hoped that we were paving the way for future adventures to be easier.
This year, I think we are beginning to reap some of the rewards. We’re not all the way there to it being easy but it is easier and more fun. After our trip to Keats we made two more overnight trips to some local spots. Our time on Sakinaw Lake was with friends and planned months in advance. (As is necessary when you’re attempting to co-ordinate with six adults.) Our trip over to Thormanby Island was more spur of the moment. Peter had been there before but I never had and when we mentioned to some friends that we hoped to get there, they offered to take us over. Thormanby isn’t so far away and it’s known around here for it’s endless sandy beach but you have to either have a boat or take a water taxi over. Fortunately, for us, our friends have a boat and were planning their own trip over.
Actually, I should mention here, that our friends are Seaforth Expeditions and they not only have a boat but they made their boat and recently completed the Race to Alaska.
We joined their family for a boat ride over and dinner together on the beach. Then Peter, Pearl, Rose, and I were left to camp alone on the island. And by alone, I mean alone. While there are cabins and houses not far away, we were the only campers on the beach and it made for a pretty cool experience, feeling truly isolated from the rest of the world.
The evening was warm and the sunset was spectacular. We made s’mores and played in the sand before crawling into bed.
Once again, we kept the girls up past bedtime and all went to sleep at the same time, telling stories by flashlight in the tent. They fell asleep easily and slept well all night.
The morning was slightly overcast but warm enough. We decided to explore the trail and walk into the forest. The path started out narrow but widened out into a backwoods road, rough driveways turning off to private properties.
When we returned to our campsite, I settled Rose for her nap (yay for babies who nap while camping!) while Peter and Pearl took off to explore the beach on the other side. It began to rain. It began to get windy. I sat in a chair, the tent positioned to block most of the wind, and read in the rain until Rose was deeply enough asleep for me to sneak in and join her. Pearl and Peter had a blast exploring the beach and building structures but sitting still in that weather was a bit miserable.
We texted our friends that we were thinking of leaving sooner rather than later and then set about making lunch. Fortunately, we’d already planned for hot noodles and the winds had subsided a bit.
Please enjoy photo evidence of one of the sweetest moments my girls have shared; Whispering secrets on the beach while we load up the boat:
We made it home with enough time for baths, showers, and some laundry before packing right back up and heading out for our next camping trip. Literally, I washed clothes and then re-packed them. We sort of have our camping uniforms now.
This time we were only going about an hour away and were car camping. Friends of ours have a connection to a property on Sakinaw Lake and this was our third year camping as a group. Six adults and five kids under five years old. (Pearl is the oldest and Rose is the youngest, in fact.) We share meals and spend our time swimming, paddling, and hanging out on the dock. We brought our kayak and friends brought paddle boats. The property also has some floats and a peddle boat that was well used.
As much as we love our family time and solitude, it is so fun to camp with good friends. The kids run wild, digging and swimming. We tell the kids that there needs to be an adult with them if they go down to the beach or on the dock but it doesn’t really matter which adult it is. When Peter and I wanted to take our kayak out on the lake and Pearl didn’t want to come, she happily stayed behind with her friends. As we were on our way back, we spotted our friends in the peddle boat, three small passengers along for the ride, including our girl. It’s such a gift to have friends love on and watch over your kids.
Sleep was a little trickier on this trip. Rose did just fine but Pearl took quite a while to fall asleep. I think it was mostly excitement due to the day and knowing her friends were sleeping close by. She tossed and turned for a while before finally succumbing. In the morning, Rose woke early and I ended up cuddling with her until I could sneak out and join the adults for morning coffee.
We did eat much better on this trip. Combination of car camping and sharing meals, which also meant that each family only had to plan for one meal.
One family of our little trio is moving away at the end of this summer and we’ll miss them hugely. We’ve already agreed though that we will try and keep our camping trips together an annual tradition.
So, our camping trips of 2019 have been a success. Not sure if we’ll manage to squeeze one more in before the end of the summer since the days are filling up fast, but I’m so glad we’ve had the opportunities to explore our beautiful part of the world.