Archive for the ‘car camping’ Category

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

I’m afraid that I’m going to incur the wrath of some with this next statement… I’m so glad that the summer has come to a close.

A gorgeous drive home from Algonquin

Summers can be hectic times.  Schedules are all thrown out of whack.  The kids are off from school and the house becomes a giant clubhouse filled with stinky boys and all of their toys.  And the heat! My god I hate the heat.  My time of year is Fall.  I’m in my element in the Fall.  It must come as no surprise then, that my favourite time of the year for tripping is upon us.  Cozy fleece jackets and bug free nights around a warm fire.  Hot chocolate and frosty mornings.  I’ve been checking out the Fall leaf report for Algonquin, and the leaves they are a changin’.  Break out the calendar, it’s time to start counting down the days to our annual September trip to Algonquin, ye ha!

The view from our canoe access site September 2010 – Algonquin

Next weekend we are heading up for a fun-filled get-away in the park.  We are going to canoe in to a site on Rock Lake for a night and then paddle over to the other side of the lake the next day to meet up with some of Fraser’s family including his folks.  It couldn’t be more convenient.  Rock Lake has both canoe access and car access so visitors of all skill levels and interest can enjoy it together.  It’s become a tradition.  It’s a nice laid back affair with some solitude to launch the trip and family and friends to wrap it up.  Fraser’s mom and dad always cook up a storm and I’m looking forward to bacon and eggs and fried mushrooms and steaks and homemade jam and pies and I’m bringing s’more fixings.  It’s going to be a blast.

Even Lambie needs a sweater in September – Algonquin

So what makes “shoulder” season tripping different from summer trips?  The weather of course.  The thermometer may say 10c but it feels much cooler when it was 30c just last week.  Bring warm clothes, a warm sleeping bag and if possible, plan for cooked meals and hot drinks.  Once a chill sets in, it’s hard to warm up your body and you want to be comfortable.  Also, only the bravest of souls will be

swimming for entertainment, so plan to spend your days participating in other activities.  How about hiking, leaf collecting, art projects, photo shoots, reading…eating?  Personally, I like to take up some yarn and knit up a small project.  I’ve already got a bunch of lovely knitted items named for the parks that they were made in.  I plan on making an Algonquin leaf scarf on this trip.  I swear I’m a lot cooler than I come off in this post!

The Saroyan Scarf – photo and pattern by Liz Abinante

My point is this… Don’t put away your paddles just yet.  Canoeing season isn’t over until the ice is on the lake.  In fact, we have plans to squeeze in another trip to the park before it’s time to trade in our pfd’s for skis.  Stay tuned.

Car Camping – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The good.  I must admit, car camping certainly has its advantages.  We visit the “drive-ins” at least a couple of times a year.  It

these are a few of my favourite things

requires far less planning, you can bring far more stuff  and two beautiful words “indoor toilets”.  You can show up after dark, maybe after work on a Friday, and set up camp with only your headlamp to guide you.  Let’s be honest, you can skip setting up the tent altogether, throw down the back seat of the car and sleep in the trunk!   Campsites that are set up for car camping have all sorts of amenities like showers, electrical outlets, garbage cans and water for cooking.  They are regularly patrolled by wardens to keep activities on the up and up and are able to offer assistance if you need it.  All beautiful things.

keeping the rv company

Our car camping trips have taken us to Algonquin, Arrowhead and Presqu’ile provincial parks multiple times, as well as some commercially run campgrounds.  These locations are not chosen by us, but rather by Fraser’s family.  Fraser’s folks love the outdoors, just like we do, but now pass on the more rugged camping trips.  They rock an RV.  Now THAT is luxury camping!  Because getting out there is just as much about connecting with your family and friends, as it is about the journey, we happily go wherever they congregate.

The bad.  It doesn’t seem to matter where I pitch a tent on those tiny allotments, there is always a car driving past a foot away from my head.  Also, it doesn’t smell like the great outdoors, it smells like car fumes and barbeque starter.  And any yahoo with a license and access to a vehicle can come.  In the backcountry, it takes a certain special someone to hike, paddle and portage in to a remote spot.  You don’t usually get partiers with 2-4’s at the next site.

Now for the ugly.  These places PACK visitors in cheek to jowl.  Swarms of people laughing, yelling, crying, fighting, smoking, and there is food everywhere.  It’s just plain overwhelming.  One of the biggest reasons I go camping is to get away from it all.  Get away from work and the crowds and the stress.  In a lot of ways a car campground is a greener version of the city, except in the city I’m not sitting in a lawn chair next to strangers while they drink beer, blare classic rock and let their dog pee on my tires.  Of course I may be exaggerating just a little bit.  Although there does always seem to be one group that carries on far too long into the night while you’re trying to get some shut eye.
Having said all this, I still go back year after year.  There are bicycle trails for you and the kids to explore.  Marked hiking trails take you to beautiful park outlooks that are a great opportunity for the photo enthusiast in the family and it’s something different than your everyday.  And ANY day in the forest is better than MOST days in the city 😉

car camping...everyone gets a chair

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