I had such a fun week with my camping friends Chloe and Courtney!
When we tried to book our annual August getaway to Bon Echo Provincial Park – the same park that has been one of our favourite stops of the summer for the last five years – six months ago, we were dealt the harsh reality on a cold winter morning that there was no sites available. The entire campground (well the sites we use, even ones going down a size) was booked in a mere few seconds. In a matter of seconds we had to deal with not being able to camp there, as well as very quickly – in partnership with the Jornitz family – come up with an alternate location for us to camp. And we had to do it quick lest we lose sites at that campground. As you know from last week, that ended up being Presqu’ile Provincial Park.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still dealing with disappointment as the week approached. But, I’d also be lying if I said that sentiment wasn’t immediately erased the moment we pulled up to the site and saw our Lake Ontario view facing our site. As the week went on, going to sleep with the windows open listening to the waves on the beach, and waking to that same sound was not lost on us whatsoever. Being able to walk the fifty or so steps to the beach and sit and enjoy a coffee watching the lake was the perfect remedy for to landing at your second-choice campground. Being able to watch sunsets and full moons rise over the lake was the icing on the cake.
We spent the entire week waking whenever the heck our bodies decided to. Even Emelia managed to match sleep-ins with us to almost past 9:00 am! And we were surrounded by nature. We had tree frogs take up perching spots on our zero gravity lawn chairs. The girls hunted regular frogs in the rocks along the beach front. We watched a pair of swans in the marsh off the back end of the site. And I got front row seats to a cormorant who was drying off his wings after diving for his breakfast all morning in the lake.
We did our usual taking in the programs that interested us at the bandshell, and went for hikes, bike rides and even explored the newly restored lighthouse that had just been reopened earlier this season. The girls took a hot minute to get reacquainted and then, were basically inseparable for the rest of the week. One of the biggest activities they engaged in was making special bead creations that were almost as tall as Danielle in length. They spent the better part of the week working on a matching set of three of them so they all had one to take home. And of course there were also S’mores!
On one of the clearest nights, as it was the height of the Perseid Meteor Showers, we out to the clearing near our camp site as two families, lied down in the field and watched for shooting stars. Unfortunately the full moon almost made it too bright to see the show, but the girls did get to see a few stars streak across the sky. But the best part for me was silence of it all and just lying there as a group in wonder of what awe nature is capable of. I know this will be a memory that I will carry with me for some time.
I know we were doing things right when more than a couple times through the week we realized how much time was still left in our camping week. Time seemed to be crawling along at just the right speed. By the time Thursday and Friday had rolled around, it was hard to believe we’d only be away camping for six or seven days. When we started the week, I had recognized that through all the really busy-ness of the last six months as well as the emotional roller coaster we’d been on, that it really felt like we needed this vacation. And, as we got into it, I never felt more right about that sentiment—the needing to get away and back into nature.
When the week came to an end, while we didn’t necessarily want it to end, we all were returning back home so much better for it. There’s no physical measure of how being in nature with my two ladies restores me in, but suffice it to say I came back from this week away feeling the most grateful for a camping trip than I have in a long time. It is the was my hope when we first started into our camping lives, that we would get from these adventures. And I am happy to know that there are at least three – if not four – more trips still left in our camping season. It’s a great way to end an amazing week!
This week was perfection, absolute perfection. As John mentioned the week started out a bit heavy hearted because our annual tradition of Wolfe Island followed by a week at Bon Echo wasn’t happening this year. The festival changed in scale and took out camping as an option meant that was not happening this year. Add in the fact that Bon Echo was virtually impossible to book this year, we tried for days with no success that meant we had to flip plans. Crista and I discussed with John and Chris and settled on Prequille as our second choice. The park is almost equalish distance between our homes and it is a beautiful park.
With a park chosen we had to co-ordinate again and find spots as close to each other as possible. We settled again on the Pines Campground which is a smaller quiet camping area with perfect views of the lake. After checking locations and lot sizes we settled on site 123, it was classified as a ‘premium’ site which raised the price a little bit – but man it was so worth it. We had a very large site that has views of the lake. Every morning and night we could hear the crashing waves of Lake Ontario.
The whole week was amazing, the weather was incredible. We started out with cooler temperatures but by Monday we warmed up and had clear sunny skies for the rest of the week. We had no rain what so ever and cool evenings to sleep with the windows open. Once again this week as we have since meeting in 2014 we camped with the Jornitz family. We quickly clicked back in 2014 after a chance meeting when we camped beside each other at Sandbanks. We spent the rest of the that camping trip together and have quickly become close friends. By the end of that trip we decided we would take a chance and book a trip together the next summer at Bon Echo. That chance meeting turned into an incredible friendship, we now plan a trip every August.
The girls once again came back together like no time had passed since our last trip. They were attached at the hip the entire week building the most amazing memories. As the girls get older the more independence they gain, they were off on their adventures with check ins back at camp. The favourite activity other than swimming was rock climbing and frog hunting. Seriously how much more nature camping can you get?
I hope that these camping trips are the most amazing memories of Emelia’s life, the ones she tells her own kids one day. Telling them stories about being up late lying in a field watching for shooting stars, jumping over the waves in the lake, rocking climbing along Lake Ontario, bike riding out to the lighthouse or eating way too many smores and being up until the sky is dark and full of stars. These are the moments I hope she never forgets – because I know her parents never will.