Friday, November 8, 2013

End of season thoughts

I hate to admit it, but I think our camping season is over.  I may be able to convince Chris to do a trip to Mew in the Boler in November, but I won't be holding my breath.

While I was going through the trip logs, adding links to the Log page for easier navigating, I started thinking about the summer as a whole.

1) We went on a fair number of trips this summer!  Yay us! 11 camping trips is pretty good.  We also managed to camp at least once a month, for 8 months straight.  That's pretty good for us.  I'm really proud of us for taking the chance on the early spring excursion, even though it seemed crazy to be camping with snow on the ground.

2) We didn't do as much hiking this year.  Though we did some trails while camping, there were less day trips.  I had planned to do a lot of picnicking but that didn't really happen.

3) All but one of our trips was front country!  This was the biggest bummer because we all really wanted to go back country canoeing this year.  So why didn't we?  Well, we had booked a lot of trips early in the spring, and those took up a lot of Chris's time off.  The trip with our friends is an annual thing we don't want to give up, and my mum and I have so much fun planning trips, it was hard not to get all excited about booking them.  Here's the thing.  By mid February, I'm getting antsy, and I want to be assured of some camping time being locked down.  Booking early means WE ARE GOING.  While the thought of crown land camping, or going somewhere that doesn't require a reservation (unmaintained provincial parks) is very appealing, there's that niggling worry in my mind that if we haven't booked it, and paid for it, something small will come up and we will cancel or postpone the trip and it just won't happen.  It's easy to say this summer we are going to do this canoe route and this one...but unless we actually put it on a calendar and lock it down, it doesn't happen.

So what can I do to avoid this?  I think being prepared is the best thing to do.  Having food already for a back country trip will ease the stress and reduce the excuses. It can be surprisingly expensive to shop last minute for a camping trip.  I suppose you could always go with a few boxes of instant oatmeal for breakfast, KD for dinner, and granola bars for lunch, but I want to eat real food out there...not just garbage.  So that's one of my goals over the winter, have enough dehydrated trail meals made up and hidden away in the freezer so that all that's left to do for a trip is pack the food into our barrel.  It would be much easier to do spontaneous short trips if there wasn't days of preparing dried food to do before we could leave.

4) I really want to do at least one long trip next year.  Short trips are fine, but it seems like so much effort and time goes into planning them, and you don't get all that much actual camping time.  I am hoping next year to do a week long trip to Achray, giving us lots of time to get to all the things we wanted to do this year.  Is there much difference between planning and packing for a long trip and for a short one?  Other than maybe more clothes, and a bigger menu, I guess not.

5) We tried a fair bit of new things with our food this year.  We did a lot of spaghetti last year, but this year we tried nachos, experimented with spam, cooked a turkey dinner and made a variety of pre made dinners for the night of our arrivals.  Oddly enough, when I asked the kids what their favourite camp dinner was from this summer, Bubbie's response was spaghetti. She says there's something so much better about eating spaghetti when camping..Squatch's was the Spam hash.

It's kind of sad to be cleaning out the boler, packing up the gear and putting away things for the winter. I've been putting it off but there's no denying it's cold and yucky outside.  I guess it's time to pull out the snowshoes and skis and make sure everything still fits.

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