Tag Archives: Camping

Like Father, Like Son

A recent conversation I had with my son:

Rhys: Mom, I’d like to learn how to do five things.

Me: Oh ya? And what are those five things?

Rhys: First I’d like to learn how to canoe. Then I’d like to learn how to hunt with a bow and arrow. Third, I’d like to learn how to fish (he’s already surpassed my fishing capabilities BTW). Fourth, I’d like to make a hut. Fifth, I’d like to learn survival.

Me: Man, your father would be having a proud daddy moment right now if he were here.

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Move over Bear Grylls and Jim Shockey, Rhys is after your jobs.

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Soggy Boots and Sore Feet.

Mantario.

I’ll start off by saying that James and I had tons of fun together. I think that we’ve realized that we are very good travel partners, and not just to cushy hotel rooms and delicious restaurants but to difficult places like Haiti and bear infested forests. It was a hard couple of days but we kept each other laughing and moving. I especially appreciated James keeping an eye on me. He would make sure I climbed up/down rock faces safely,  he made me a hot cup of coffee and sent me to snuggle in my sleeping bag when my limbs were practically convulsing due to being wet and cold, he would lift my pack off of my back when I needed to stoop down and tie my boot for the umpteenth time (note to self: get new laces!)…what a guy. He also said that he would fight any bears that came along, what more could you ask for in a husband?

Anyways, I don’t know what we were thinking going onto the trail after three solid weeks of rain. Stupid. I’ve never been that waterlogged in my life, everything was wet. Everything. In the first quarter-mile we had to wade waist-deep through a stream. I had my boots strung around my neck and was holding my pack above my head. We should have known then and there to turn around and try again when the conditions were better, but we didn’t and we pressed on. A few hours later we found ourselves crossing a beaver dam because the ‘bridge’ was broken and flooded. That was interesting to say the least. We eventually (after a 9 hour hike) got to the second campsite in from the North trail head on Ritchie Lake. Our friends that we were supposed to be meeting halfway (they were coming up from the South) also couldn’t complete the hike because of trail conditions and had to turn back in the end. But we tried and I’m proud that I was even able to attempt something this difficult.

My feet were my downfall. They would have been fine if the trail was dry but it wasn’t and so they weren’t. I have really good quality hiking boots from MEC, I had hiking socks on and a pair of wicking socks underneath, but none of that matters when 75% of your hike is through swamp. I wrung my socks out a few times throughout the hike and each time I got AT LEAST a cup of water out of each one, it was like hiking with aquariums strapped to my feet. What concerned me was that every time I looked at my feet they looked as though I’d been sitting in a bath for half-a-day, but kinda bubbly.  It was gross and I was happy to rest them under the heater when we got back to the truck. Even a few days later they still look a bit swollen to me.

James and I will defiantly try hiking again. We realized that we had packed really well and had thought of pretty much everything we needed (except extra laces). It feels nice to be out in the middle of nowhere fending for yourself, paying attention to nature. It’s so quiet and still…except when you wake-up to a furry creature sniffing the top of your head from the other side of the tent. Then you get to see if your husband is a man of his word and if he’ll actually fight a bear for you.

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What have I gotten myself into?

Pray for some dry nights and strong feet…we’re off on our Mantario adventure.

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Camping with kids – Part 1

So we did the unthinkable, we went camping on May-long. I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t go camping on the long weekend in May because it will inevitably be rainy and cold but we decided to ignore what the weather stations were saying and head-out anyways. After all, the kids have been counting down the number of sleeps until they get to have a fire, roast marshmallows and sleep in their tent…how could we say no!?

For our first camping trip with the kids (this season) we decided to keep it fairly close to the city so we went just north of Gimli to Camp Morton Provincial Park. It was a small campground (about 17 spots, I think) which turned out to be great for easing the kids into living out of a tent surrounded by bush and using an outhouse. There were mainly young families occupying the rest of the spots so the kids quickly made friends and ran around non-stop with a mob of toddlers and their dogs.

We had a thunderstorm Saturday night, which the kids slept through, but we were unaffected since we’d put up a tarp across both of our tents. Sunday proved to be a scorcher and we made the most of it by going on a hike, playing in the water, reading out in the sun and napping in the shade. The kids had so much fun camping and playing with their friends that the didn’t want to come home. I’m glad they enjoyed a few nights of sleeping in their tent…now I don’t feel bad about dragging them out into the wilds of Manitoba every couple of weekends. Here are a few pictures of the kids at Camp Morton.

{okay, this isn’t the kids…but it just seemed fitting}

{probably one of my favorites of the weekend – this is at Gimli harbor}

{enjoying a snack, sitting by the fire}

{checking out the lake and throwing rocks in the water}

{rhys and ammie playing Red Rover for the first time – ammie didn’t really get it}

{trying to re-route a little stream}

{playing in the water – rhys went all ‘swiss family robinson’ and was hauling driftwood around the whole beach for a good 45 minutes}

I think that I’ll be doing a post sooner or later with tips for camping with little kids. I already have a number of good pointers that I’d like to pass along to those of you who are thinking about take your own kiddies out to the bush. But this is all for now and I hope you all had a great long weekend!

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Overhauled.

There have been a few times through-out our marriage where I have felt a strong sense that James has been fervently praying  for some change…and I think that this is one of those times. I have a feeling that James has been pleading with our good Lord, petitioning, if you will, for me to become more of the ‘outdoorsy’ type.

Now, before you all go thinking that I’ve been a glamorous vacationing princess my whole life I’d like you to know that I’ve enjoyed my fair share of backwoods adventures. I’m not against vacationing at all (and yes, we did that quite a bit growing up) but some of my favorite memories from my childhood are of playing in the trees in the woods by different houses we’ve had, running through rows of corn in farmers fields, exploring the streams and forests of different places we’d go. I always loved a good pair or rubbers boots to accompany a sloppy spring and couldn’t wait for the smell of summer nights lit-up with crackling bonfires.  So there you go, I’m not as prissy as you think I am…even if I did grow-up on the ‘other side of the tracks’, as James likes to say.

Even though I’ve loved the great-outdoors for as long as I can remember I haven’t spent much time actually enjoying it (not for lack of want I might add). So it’s come as a surprise to me that lately I’ve had a one-track-mind. Camping and hiking. It’s all I can think about. This could be due to the fact that in Manitoba we spend a significant amount of time holed-up in our homes while the wind blows a chilly -30 and it’s easy to sit and daydream about the day where one doesn’t require a good 45 minutes of bundling just to take the trash out back, but I like to think that it’s a bit more than that, a bit deeper. James has always been the outdoors type and I have an inkling that he’s wanted me to get on board so that he wouldn’t have to feel guilty about wanting to spend the majority of our free time enjoying Manitoba’s natural beauty.With that said, he still hasn’t sold me on moving to the Yukon…

Regardless of why this change has come about, it’s much welcomed. I’ve always wanted to be an outdoor adventurer but until now I’ve not felt any motivation to become that sort of person. I’m giddy just thinking about all of the family camping we’ve planned and the couple of hikes that James and I are going on. We are hoping to hit-up 10 Provincial Parks from May to September, possibly more. We’ve started researching and buying good quality gear from supply stores, studying our Mantario Trail map, breaking in the hiking boots, planning meals (and some that have to be based on size and weight, which is a new thing for me!), testing-out tents and equipment…oh boy, I’m so excited just thinking about it!

We live in such an incredibly beautiful province that it would be crazy to not get out of the city and take it all in. But over and above that I want my kids to grow-up knowing nature and to have a good understanding of this world that we live in.

(I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake-up to this?!)

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