The first day is rained. Not just drizzle, but torrential. We hurriedly put up one tent. Mom entertained the kids inside with games, books and stories while Kirsten and I struggled with decisions involving which tarp should go above, under and in which vicinity. We got soaked. Really, really soaked.
More than once we exclaimed that Jeff and my grandfather, another man of the sea, would be horrified at our knot tying skills. More than once, I wished I had paid closer attention to the formation of the knots that I had seen tied so many times. Kirsten and I imagined Jeff and Grandpa watching us from heavenly camp chairs, beer in hand and exclaiming with exasperation, "Why didn't you show her/them the *insert appropriate knot here*?"
We managed to erect an impressive tent city nonetheless. I must say we were proud. We even thought to slope the tarps to the back of the site to ensure that the water ran off rather than pooled. Again, this may seem elementary, but when you suddenly find yourself without your husband's camping skills for assistance, you realize just how little you actually knew about some things.
I have never, ever stared at a tarp with lust. Never thought I would. But when I saw a fellow campers setup, I have to say that I longed to own a tarp as big as this one. It covered the tents, the picnic table, their large Suburban, hell, the entire campsite!!! It was impressive. Every walk we went on that involved passing this mammoth tarp, the kids would exclaim, the adults would stare and drool and I would attempt to snap a picture of it without looking like I was some creepy, odd-oid in the throws of tarp-lust.
Because of all the rain, we were able to have a campfire...Oooohhhh, how I love fire. We've been having quite the time in our province this Summer with forest fires so burning has been banned until recently on the north island. Thankfully, I got to indulge my inner firebug. Camping without fire is just wrong as everyone knows.
Although many of us prefer not to talk about it, even while camping we have to use the...potty. Happily, we had a kid-sized potty along for the trip so that we didn't have to frequent the outhouse as often as many people with four kids would be forced to do. Unfortunately, when we had to empty the receptacle or use that facilities ourselves, we'd have to enter the 'Realm of the Rotting Crap'. I abhor these places. But I have to say that either they have had made some real developments in the smell suppression in the last while or my smell receptors are not what they once were. The reek, while revolting, didn't cause me to hold my breath upon entering and hold it to the point of near unconsciousness as it used to. The thought that does disgust me is that this smell is made up of minute particles of fecal matter that used to reside within someone else's body....and then, I breathe it into mine. Anyhow, my real issue with outhouses is what is in the bottom. I can't help it. Each time I head to the toilet, I tell myself, "Okay. This time, we aren't going to look. Right? Got it?! No looking. Not even a peek. It just revolts you to the point where you have trouble removing it from your consciousness before meal time. Just. DON'T. look." But no pep talk can stop me. I glance in there and am somehow pleased that my response is one of near gagging at the repulsive soup that resides beneath the cloud of flies. I can't sit on the seat for fear of one of these little winged creatures landing on my ass. I hover and hope I have attained enough distance from the slurry below to inhibit the fly's desire to alight on my body. Don't they say that when a fly lands, it shits and when it eats it, lays an egg or something equally terrifying? I do not want either matter on any of my parts....especially not on those parts.
Mom and Kirsten surprised me with balloons and birthday cake on my 34th birthday.Mom even managed to pull off and craft out in the woods! Birthday hats made from recycled paper plates and ribbons. This is where my craftiness began, people. But the actual reason for all the helmet wearing was the near constant bike riding that was taking place. Liv was in her glory riding her bike in a hardened groove from the outhouses and back to our campsite in a neverending circle.
The other favoured pasttime was catching sculpins and crayfish off the dock. I know they say that there are no such thing as lobsters in the Pacific, but, dude, these things were getting big! A neighbouring camper actually caught 22, fried them in garlic butter and ate them....Not my plan, but it was so fun to catch them!
Liv and I created some Inukshuks in the water and I took a huge amount of joy in photographing them in the varying light produced at different times of day.
Freckles even enjoyed a new pasttime called "stare incessantly at the chattering squirrel". He'd occasionally attempt to burst off into the bush with the log that he was tied to in pursuit after the teasing squirrel. Luckily for the squirrel, Freckles cannot climb and could not manage to drag the very heavy log farther than a centimetre or two each time. But his staring contest kept him occupied when we weren't out for a walk or a swim.
All of us had quite an adventure....
And I found a surprise far along a logging road that deserved some notice as I thought it was pretty cool...