I think I have only gone camping twice in my life prior to this summer. Once with my family and family friends which I don’t remember much of as I was a small child, and once when I was a counsellor for Vision Youth a couple years back where all we did was the mandatory hike (for campers as part of their DoE program), eat and chill.
This summer I had the opportunity to go camping twice. A couple of my friends were surprised that someone like me (kind of princessy) would go camping so often in one season since it obviously isn’t the most comfortable or cleanest of living conditions. While I do agree, I suppose I see it more as a social activity and I never really had a problem of spending a couple days living more basically than I normally do (#slummingit). I have no problems with doing outdoor activities, sleeping in a tent or using a communal washroom for a few days. I think what I dislike most about camping would be the bugs and the fact that sleeping on the ground hurts my back after awhile. But these are sort of things you try to suck up, right?
For my first camping trip this summer, I went to Bruce Peninsula with a group of my friends from the MAC dragon boat team. Although the trip was not the most organized and had a very much “deal with it as it happens” kind of attitude, I really enjoyed it; and I have to say of the 2 trips, I enjoyed this one more. I like travelling and going on trips/vacation where I can do lots of activities, be adventurous and go exploring, which I find fun – and we got to do all of those things :) While rainy weather did put a damper on some of our activities, we did manage to go on a midnight hike, swim in The Grotto, and check out Tobermory. My favourite and highlighting moment of the trip would have to be the part during our midnight trek where a couple of us left to go explore The Grotto at night. I wish one of us had a Go Pro to document our adventure because it certainly felt like one at night when we had to hike around looking for the correct path, climb up and down the rocks and hop on some rocks just to reach the entrance of the Grotto. Mind you, this is very late at night and all we had was a few flashlights to work with. It was quite exhilarating although potentially dangerous…
Another very memorable moment of the trip was as we started to climb up from the Grotto after our late morning swim and witnessed huge storm clouds rolling into the area. Our reactions were to hurry back up and head back to camp as our site was a good 15-20 minutes away. But we got caught up admiring the sky because it was just unimaginably epic especially at the clifftop. I remember at one point the sky had a huge divide between more clear skies and an enormous rainstorm cloud…the downpour hit us almost immediately after that. We had underestimated how fast and how close the storm clouds really were, and also how heavy the downpour could be. The 20 minute trek back to camp was quite difficult as we were soaked and also wearing only flip flops, so all the little rocks, dirt and mini tree sticks would prick our feet. But we made it back to camp and luckily the only thing that got ruined from the rain was our firewood. Which we eagerly scavenged for tree branches and leftover firewood from other campsites as a temporary solution.
My second camping trip was to Orillia’s (never heard of this place before, ever) Bass Lake Provincial Park. I enjoyed this trip as well as it really gave a relaxing, “away from it all” feel. But it was entirely the opposite of the Tobermory trip which was just one weekend before. Thus, the contrasting camp lifestyle was very stark. I went with Matt, his friend Allen, and 2 of Allen’s friends Wing and Ivan. They were much more organized, hygenic (haha) and just more orderly as a whole especially during times of cooking and clean up. I guess because I am sort of more laissez-faire that although I found their orderliness to be right and proper (since tidying up ensures tools and equipment are all clean and deters animals away from the site more), I found it a teensy bit excessive. This might be also because I’m simply a lazy person who likes to procrastinate tidying up until later. The irony of this is, despite putting all our food away properly, a raccoon still managed to make a hole in a tent’s mesh entrance/storage way to steal marshmallows ; while at Bruce Peninsula we fully had food out in the open but never had any animal issues.
Unfortunately as it rained on only full day so we did not get to do as much as we wanted to outdoors – we ended up playing a 2-3 hour Monopoly game, where I got tied for first. I probably would have lost if we were to have one single winner, but the game had lasted for far too long to continue. I am quite proud of this win because for 90% of the game I only owned Boardwalk and Park Place. Later in the afternoon when the skies cleared, we went canoeing and fishing. What’s great about Bass Lake is that there are boat and fishing rod rentals, and also a beach. However, the park has a very strict noise policy : S so staying up late and hanging out by the bonfire was basically out of the picture.
Before cleaning up and heading back home, Matt and I went into town to check out their Water Festival. They had a cardboard boat race that I really wanted to check out. This is mostly because my favourite Japanese boyband, Arashi, used to a host a show (D/G no Arashi) where a recurring segment would be their attempt to cross Tokyo Bay on boats made of various weird materials including cardboard!! The other ones they tried from what I recall was salt, lego and also a huge ice block. Because we got lost on the way there, we only saw the aftermath of a few boats :( We did however, have a memorable interaction with a local who was extremely curious how we found out about, and came to their local event. Orillia is very predominately Caucasian, so I suppose we stuck out very much.
I didn’t have much photos from either trips as I mostly kept my phone safe in the tent in fear of it getting wet and ruined… But I will be going on my first back country portaging trip during Labour Day long weekend where I will attempt to take more photos to properly document. I’m a bit worried about how strenuous that trip will be as I’m not a physically strong person, so my strategy is to pack extremely light. We’ll see how that goes!