My niece Christie and her three kids, aged 4, 7 and 9, moved to Calgary and seemed to have become city-folk. As their aunt I felt it was my duty to ensure that they experience the great outdoors. I realized that they had never been camping and I thought it was time to change that!
I flew to Calgary with a huge suitcase containing two tents, a tarp, backpack stove, sleeping bag and a Thermoses. Unfortunately, I didn’t have room for much more. Christie didn’t have any camping gear but brought bedding, ‘play’ tents and some flimsy air mattresses. She also brought the food and had the kids help prepare the menus.
We loaded the van, complete with Scout, their large dog, and headed off to B.C.! We arrived at Dry Gulch Provincial Park and set up camp. I noticed clouds moving in and insisted that we put the tarp up first. Good thing as within minutes thunder was booming along with lightning and torrential rain. We huddled under the tarp and waited out the storm which, luckily, moved on quickly.
I thought we would have no problem finding a fuel cylinder for my stove, however, no such luck. Without a stove we would have to do the cooking on the campfire. Luckily there wasn’t a fire ban so we bought some firewood from the Park Facility Operator, however then realized that we didn’t have any kindling or an axes.
No problem, the kids and I set out and foraged empty neighboring campsites for wood chips and shavings. Pretty soon we had enough to start the campfire and we were able to cook our hot dogs and smokes over the fire.
We ended up putting the doors of the tents together so we could be in close contact, and we snuggled up together, with the dog, and had a great night’s sleep.
It was a weekend to remember, and I think I was successful in planting the love of the outdoors with my family; my niece, great nieces and nephew still talk about The First and Best Camping Trip Ever.