This is us- the Mr., the Littles and I on our first ever real family camping trip last May long weekend- since having kids we have mainly stayed in cabins which was quite posh while it lasted but our Littles were keen to sleep in a tent- how exotic! So last year we loaded up the old mini- van (not Cooper) right up to the top- we were not sure what camping with kids would entail- and where we were going the last thing we wanted was to be cold or wet- two distinct possibilities- we were Tofino bound!
Now if I can back track for a sec here- my parents used to take my sister to Vancouver Island quite a bit when we were young- my Dad to go fishing and my Mom to eat said fish- we would always camp out of our Chevy van that had been converted (sort of) into a camper van (sort of). I vividly remember the first time we visited Long Beach on the West side of the island- a stone's throw from the town of Tofino- we climbed out of the van (parking was free back then) and I had my shoes off before anyone could say anything- we waded out into the surf in our jogging pants and flannel shirts until we could no longer feel our toes.
Like many Canadians our family has a deep history with the great outdoors and camping specifically- there really is nothing like loading the entire family into a vehicle and driving for hours on end just to set up camp and get eaten alive by mosquitoes- dinner was usually some elaborate affair prepared by my Dad over the Coleman stove while my Mom attempted to keep my sister and I out of the fire pit.
The East Coast of Vancouver Island is a magical place- long sandy beaches, stretching on for miles, ancient trees hiding you under their canopy and if you are lucky- like we were- whale sightings right from the beach! There are so many fun things to do in Tofino and area- a person could spend a lot of money imbibing in spas, kayaking, whale watching, fishing and the like- but what we have always gone for is the sound of the waves- those waves are the most magical sound in the world- a powerful force reminding a person we are all part of nature. Plus no one even bats an eye lash if you decided to run into town sporting a poncho, socks n sandals or are noticeably aromatic- these are my kind of people.
Our long weekend last Spring was perfect- the weather was pretty good and only really rained on our last day as we were striking camp at 5:30 in the morning- rain water pouring down our arms pits as we folded and shoved soaking wet tarps into the back of the van- the kids slept through the whole thing. Momma and Daddy got what we needed- some relaxing in the weak Spring sunshine on the beach watching the Littles run up and down the sand. Time spent meditating on the campfire with a frosty beer on hand while the Littles gorged on S'mores and luxury of all luxuries I took a nap- it was life changing!
This year our thoughts are turning towards exploring more of this beautiful province- booking season for the B.C. Provincial Parks is this coming week- so exciting and yet a little nerve wracking as competition for a long weekend spot is fierce! We have plans to go camping with several families this year and I am planning an epic girls weekend with a handful of old friends- it is going to be crazy fun! Girls we should probably have a camping meeting about this!
As I see the sun struggling to peak through the clouds this afternoon I am getting excited about the upcoming camping season and while this may be a tad nerdy I will admit I may be thinking about doing an inventory on our camping gear this weekend! I was checking out the M.E.C. web site and noticing some cool new gear- I'm thinking this year we need better camping plates for sure- and a better camp espresso maker;) Over the next few weeks I am going to share some of my "Camping With Kids" survival tips as well as my picks of favourite gear- yah I'm not excited at all!
Friends it is Friday once again and I am pretty relived to see the end of this week- I love our weekends! This weekend I am looking forward to a visit from my Mother In Law and possibly a trip to Ikea with my Sister in Law. I hope whatever you get up to this weekend that your feet are dry and your mug is full- Happy Friday Friends!