Column: Not a happy camper, but I’ll be back

No (real) regrets over giving in to five-year-old's plea to go camping

I might be the most un-Canadian person in this beautiful country.

I discovered this unsettling nugget of information last weekend when my five-year-old son broke us down and convinced us to take him for his first camping experience — overnight in a real tent.

We have visited many of our friends’ campsites before, having a great time climbing, exploring, sitting around campfires and playing games. But following those memorable visits we got to leave and sleep in our own comfy beds, free of bugs and dirt.

But last weekend, I agreed to camp one night at Golden Ears.

It is one of B.C.’s most popular camping destinations — and rightfully so. With its generously sized sites surrounded by towering old growth trees and toppled trunks, custom made to climb and hide in. Golden Ears is a postcard of Beautiful B.C. with its lake and beaches (perfect for swimming), waterfalls and endless trails.

But camping enthusiasts are a bit like squirrels  — always packing and unpacking, busy prepping food, then cleaning up — so very busy.

How do campers find time to relax?

I was only going overnight and yet my SUV was jammed with pillows, a tent, tarp, sleeping bags, blow up mattresses, coolers, flashlight and more. All of these items needed to be unpacked and set up.

That wasn’t much fun and I was already tired. I was just about to sit down in my fold-out chair when it was dinner time.

Now it was time to haul everything out of coolers, find paper plates, barbecue and pour drinks.

Nightfall came, and all the kids were tuckered out, fast asleep in their sleeping bags, with glow sticks acting as night lights.

Sleep was peaceful, and remarkably quiet. Not a chipmunk rustling.

Then at 7 a.m., a young woman let her dog bark endlessly right in front of her, waking every adult while the kids slept right through it. That was pleasant.

But the real reason I now know I loathe camping is the clean up.

Seriously, campers, after a busy vacation of camping, prepping, cooking, cleaning, setting up and sharing a bathroom with 25 strangers, one night was more than enough.

How do people do it for days on end?

What kind of evil created that small bag that we are supposed to fit the tent back into?

Sweating, swearing, kneeling on the zipper to get it to close — I managed to do it but it wasn’t fun. Then there is all the dirt and pine needles that come home with everything.

I love a campfire as much the next Canadian. I love s’mores and the perfect toasted marshmallow, but that smoke smell gets into everything.

I admire you, dear campers. And you seasoned ones, you really get how to be a happy camper.

Despite my inward grumbles, I will go back because my son adored the experience, exploring with his little friends, gaining ground and independence, getting dirty and taking in all that fresh air.

I’ll grin and bear it, knowing that a clean and comfy hotel room is also in mommy’s vacationing future.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock City Hall (Peace Arch News photo)
City of White Rock’s new anti-racism policy aims to create ‘inclusive’ environment

‘There is still more for us to do,’ says Mayor Darryl Walker

South Surrey’s Kevin McAlpin is hoping to reunite this 50-year-old wedding ring with its rightful owner. (Contributed photo)
Owner of 50-year-old wedding band found near Peace Arch Park sought

Recovered ring ‘is important to somebody,’ says finder

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council earmarks $1.8M in grants for community groups

Councillor Laurie Guerra says it’s ‘essential’ given damage done by pandemic

Screen shot from the SOS Children’s Village BC webpage for their “Big Hearts Open Doors” fundraising appeal. SOS is also currently running a Christmas gift-card drive to help at-risk youth this Christmas. (Image via sosbc.org)
SOS Children’s Village BC launches annual Christmas gift-card drive

SOS collecting gift cards and donations for Surrey’s at-risk youth

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week t

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read