Friday, March 8, 2013

The Great Outdoors

     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.

      So when the Mr. and I started dating my big "test" to see if he was "the one" was to go camping- folks often show their true colours when they are camping. Our first trip was to Bella Pacifica  Resort just outside of Tofino- and it was three days of heavenly bocce games, sunshine and beer- I knew he was a keeper after that trip when we got home and he aired out the tent before he put it away.  Every year we returned to the same campground with the same group of people- the cast of characters changing slightly over the years but the spirit stayed the same- even in hurricane force winds and pouring (like really pouring) rain- those were among some of the best camping trips! It was only natural that we would choose this as the place we celebrate our first official camping trip as a family!

   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!


  1. CAMPING! We've been going since I was pregnant with H, and it's been amazing! I love sitting back with my trashy magazines and watching the children get dirty. We camp mostly in the redwoods, since I'm in California, so it's not terribly sunny, but that's good since it's a nice break from the heat. I hope that some of my kids's best memories are from camping. Some of mine are!
    We should relive some of our Guiding days and take our families out together! We could meet up in Oregon!

  2. So fun - camping with kiddos. We would have gone camping with them sooner however I was a little thrown off by having our kiddos so close together- and to be frank I did not relish the idea of camping in the rain while pregnant- a trip to the outhouse is a little different in BC than California:)
    We totally should meet up in Oregon for a long weekend of camping- can you imagine how much fun that would be! Plus we were thinking of going to Portland again so maybe we just need to head further south & camp!


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