This past week we made our annual camping trip to Keats Island. Peter and I have been camping there countless times before (him especially) and this marked our 5th year camping with the girls. (See 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2016. 2017 is conspicuously missing but my excuse is that I was severely pregnant for much of that summer.) This year I was really struck by what a gift it is to return to the same place each year with our kids. They already have so many great memories on this island and in the Plumper Cove campground. Walking through the campsite we could pinpoint where we had camped each year, where we swam, where we hiked. That’s where the slugs overtook our site the year it rained the whole time. That’s the part of the dock where Rose walked straight off the edge into the water. That’s the site we stayed in the year Pearl woke up at 6am and screamed her head off. This year we got to add to our family memories the spot where Pearl swam solo and where she jumped from the dock into the ocean for the first time.
After getting my second Covid shot Friday morning, I felt pretty miserable Saturday evening so we decided to hold off on our original plan to leave Sunday morning. However, I woke up Sunday feeling perfectly fine. We got ourselves organized and headed out after lunch. With our recent kayak purchase, we were excited to make the crossing in a slightly more seaworthy vessel. In our previous tandem kayak, we always made sure to cross early in the morning when the tides were calmer but this year we felt comfortable crossing later in the day. We were also able to travel across all in the one kayak. Keep in mind that’s four people plus all their gear and food for three nights of camping.
Peter did a fantastic job of getting our food organized for the trip. In the past, having to bring all of our food over has been a major reason we haven’t stayed longer but Peter put a lot of planning into it and we ate well. There were even afternoon gin & tonics!
Typically one of the highlights of our time on Keats Island is a short hike to Camp Barnabas where we can get ice cream and walk around the farm. Last year the Camp was closed to visitors; this year their hours were limited to weekend afternoons. Since we try and avoid camping on the weekends (too busy), we had another year of camping with no ice cream. Instead we hiked to Keats Landing and had a picnic on the dock there. We held some chocolate bars in reserve so that the walk still felt special and they were rewarded for their hiking work.
We are also really enjoying this new stage that we are in with our kids. Every year camping with them is a little different as they get older and grow in independence. Things like eating meals, hiking, using the outhouse, and going to bed at night are all a little easier every time. It was especially fun this year to watch them swim and climb more independently. I’m so thankful this place can continue on in our family memories.