I am so happy! We’re able to camp this summer! And with my friend as a neighbour!
As always, change happens in this family with the velocity of, “What just happened?” . I am typing this post from our permanent campsite for this summer about an hour north of our house door-to-site in Auburn Riverside Retreat. So, as you’re probably thinking, wait, what? the reality is, so are we! So, here is the story of how all this changed so drastically in the last week to the place where we’re sitting on the patio of our site with a fire going and the sun setting directly in view. And how we are so much more delighted with the idea of what this summer might be as opposed to what we were worried it might be a week ago…
Last year when camping at Auburn after having such a good time, we put our name down for a seasonal site thinking it might be a better way to spend our summer. After a pretty strong reaction from Emelia to the contrary we decided maybe this wasn’t the solution for our whole family so put the idea on the back burner. Our friends Stephanie and Justin had their name down in case a seasonal site came up too. We had all but forgotten about it for any of us. And then COVID-19 came along and pretty much any camping that we were thinking about involved public spaces and uncertainty. Even as a week ago camping at all Provincial Parks is canceled at all parks until May 30th. What’s worse is that we’re not any more confident that the trips we had planned in July at Arrowhead and in August at Bon Echo would happen. It was starting to feel really grim for our 2020 camping season.
And then out of the blue Stephanie and Justin were contacted about a few seasonal sites coming up available at Auburn on Monday. And Tuesday they made trip up to check out the site. They were on board, and then we were in contact with Auburn and quickly the wheels turned. Emelia who was uncertain about spending a summer there before was quickly onboard as the reality that Provincial Park camping wasn’t likely going to happen (or at the very least in the way we were used to) and that her bestie Olivia would be in the same park all summer! And before we knew it we were working out the finer details of a seasonal site for the summer. But the best part was that the site next to the Sherwood’s opened up and we ended up neighbours!
Before we knew it we were making arrangements to get Wolfie III out of storage and up landed at Auburn. We quickly settled on Saturday morning first thing and the entire family was over the moon! In fact so excited that I was up at the crack of stupid, ahead of my alarm, ready to go. We had the trailer loaded, on the road, and, then docked at the site by noon on Saturday and we were immediately in heaven. The previous occupants of the site had left a dock that we were able to keep for a song and it made the site all the more like our home away from home.
The best thing about this setup is that it’s just over an hour door-to-site and offers a more natural setting like Provincial Parks that we’re used to but also gives us some amenities that we’re not used to getting like wifi, which means I might be able to do a little of my work from home, from the trailer. And with it only being an hour away I can also leave after work and maximize some time on weekends and days off at the campground.We spent yesterday at the site, today, here again and then, tomorrow morning we’re headed back to the city (which sounds so funny). Danielle has plans to get back up here this week, and then I will be right back here this week, leaving Friday when I wrap up work.
It is a near perfect setup – especially when you consider that we were thinking that camping might be out of the picture this year. We have spent two full days doing work and getting set up. And while there has been a lot of sweat and a few cusses, this has been soul charging. I knew that spending time out in nature and next to campfires is important to me, but I didn’t fully realize how much I needed it – especially this year with all the extra stress and uncertainty we’ve been put through. I think we’ve found the perfect remedy for these strange and unique times. And, one that keeps us close to what matters most… nature!
Never honestly though we would be in this boat, seasonal at a campsite. We had loosely thought about this last year as a potential, even to the point of putting our name on the waiting list. But at the time over the winter we thought we were not ready to give up travelling and not visiting our favourite campgrounds. So we decided that we would pass on seasonal so we could continue travelling, and then a worldwide pandemic happened and transient travel was cancelled with no real end in sight.
Just over a week ago we were having a distance driveway visit with Stephanie and Justin and again the idea of seasonal camping came up. Steph and Justin started looking at where they might be able to get in perhaps in a year, much to their happiness they were able to get at the top of the list for Auburn. Stephanie messaged me and quickly John and I chatted and realized this was the only way we would be able to camp this summer. We needed something to balance out our mental health in a crazy and stressful time. I called Auburn and was able to talk to them about potential sites and much to our happiness the site we really wanted came up that day and we could get a riverside site beside the Sherwoods. The parents were happy and the girls were over the moon.
Emelia and Olivia have been attached at the hip via FaceTime since the pandemic started, they have essentially seen no one outside their parents in going on 3 months. So to have someone they could connect with face to face through this pandemic is exactly what they both needed and honestly so do the parents. We all needed this, we needed to place to decompress from the world, everyone is under such incredible stress right now, we need a way to escape. I am grateful for this summer, a way to keep us all healthy and to give the parents and the kids a place to safely distance while staying connected in nature.
So this is where we are right now, sitting on our deck at the site overlooking the Maitland River seeing the sun starting to go down through the trees over the water. Life is stressful right now but right now at this moment life is pretty good.