We drive around the camp ground looking for our spot â€” not just any spot â€” we need to get the best spot. One with a view, that is in the sun, but has shade. It has to be away from everyone else and close to the lake would be nice. Very few people are here â€” it’s a Thursday, we drive by all 65 spots twice.Â We choose #27, but actually #16 is better. It has a great view of the snow capped mountain. Kenâ€™s a trooper he moves the van and backs into #16. We are camping! We settle in and put the canopy up. We get out the folding chairs, and start swatting mosquitoes.
Itâ€™s pretty here, lush and green. Trilliums are blooming and chipmunks scamper, I hear birds singing and have no idea what kind of birds. The ranger reminds us about the bears in the area and cautions us to put our food away. (Silently, I know will not be our problem.)
We are at a place called Birkenhead Lake. A provincial park, with no amenities except out houses. It cost $18. per night, unless you have senior status, then it is half price! Ken pays half price for two nights.
I realize the part I like best about being in the van is the adventure of going somewhere. I like a road trip with Ken, we point at the sights, and can comfortably go a long time in silence or song. Thatâ€™s what is cool about the van. We can go from here to there. And if you need to pee, easy â€” there is a real toilet in the back, by the stove. We can make a cuppa tea if we like, and if we get tired thereâ€™s a bed. It rides well. We drove a little over 4 hours from Bowen to Birkenhead Lake. Bliss!
Road trip â€” fun!
Camping – another story.
Ken is quite organized and had a check list getting this van ready for the road. It needed a lot of work and we/he did a lot of work. When one thing was finished, he checked it off the list and then did the next job. He announced the other night that the check list is done! He said the van is in great shape, so â€œLetâ€™s go camping.â€ (I heard, Letâ€™s go!)
The list we forgot to make was what is necessary to actually go camping. Donâ€™t get me wrong, I loaded the van with blankets, clothes, towels, pillows, sheets and toilet paper. We have a flashlight, fly swatter, and maps. A bin is stocked with coffee, hot cocoa, salt and pepper, plates, cups, pans and pots. We have the staples.
Here it comes, a true confessionâ€¦ what we don’t have any of isâ€¦ uhmâ€¦ food.
I keep thinking we will go to a restaurant or grab a sandwich at a cafe on the way. Except that we didnâ€™t and now we canâ€™t. We were having too much fun driving with the intent on getting to Birkenhead Lake. We took a left outside of Pemberton and drove 60 km as there wasnâ€™t much traffic. We wound our way through the mountains, seeing less and less civilization, and more and more, mountains, lakes and pretty places. Then, as expected, the road turned to gravelâ€¦ dirtâ€¦ we met the grader on the way.â€¦ 15 km to the lake. It was here I started to think about the can of soup I stuck in the van as an after thought when I put the salt and pepper shakers in. We also have some cereal for the morning. Whew. We can have soup and cereal. Butâ€¦ we are here for two days.
Actually, three days and two nights.
I know there are stories of people during the war who lived on a sweet potato for seven days or fed a family of 12 with a rock and a shoe, butâ€¦ uhmâ€¦ I have a privileged life, as well as an extra 20 pounds that takes some serious calories to keep on. Usually, I eat whenever and whatever I want. Our home pantry is full and Ken and I rummage most days; neither of us lives a spartan lifestyle. I am a snacker and a grazer, not a meal planner – I donâ€™t make a menu and I donâ€™t shop from a list. Maybe I should, but I donâ€™t. This has turned into a bit of a problem for this camping trip.
Spot #16 is really good. We have no neighbours and a nice view. We have a spot in the sun and some shade. We take a short hike around the lake, and then, we take stock. In addition to the soup and cereal, we have one banana, two oranges, a root beer and a bottle of snaple tea. We have some almond milk and thank the lord above, cream for the coffee! There is a can of soup, a hunk of cheese, and three pieces of leftover pizza, that the cook at the O offered as I was on my way home after class. â€œGrab what you like, Jan.â€ Oh, how I wish I had grabbed more!
We will not starve this trip. But… I learned a huge lesson. Camping is different from a road trip!