Cultus Lake Spring Camping!

Note to self: April is too cold for camping in Vancouver.

The fiancé, our doggo, and I went camping during the April long weekend! We drove out on Friday and checked in to the Sunnyside Campground. This was the first time I’ve gone camping during early spring, and also the first time I camped at a privately owned campground.

Arriving at our campsite, we knew we’d have to set up the tarps and tent ASAP. Rain was in the weather forecast and we didn’t want to do our setup while everything was wet. We made pretty good time and managed to get a tarp over our tent (and under), as well as made a small sheltered area for where our fire pit was.

This camping trip was more of a test run since this was the first time we were taking Onyx camping. We’ve never had to take care of a dog on top of ourselves during camp so we wanted to work out the kinks before we go on a longer trip with some friends this summer. That’s also why we chose a relatively closer campground so that if anything were to go wrong, home was only an hour and a half away.

A thing I was pretty grateful that we bought was this dog rope thing that we can tie between two trees so we can let Onyx freely walk around the site while still secured. Our dog’s reactive, so we can’t off-leash him as it could be unsafe for him and other dogs. I was also scared that Onyx would constantly be barking the whole time, but he was actually by far not the most barkiest there! He did get weirdly territorial over our campsite after the first night at camp. On day 1, he was just growly at dogs. On day 2, he started getting annoyed when regular people walked by.

Our booking was for 2 nights and 3 days. We tried to bring food that wouldn’t require too much cooler space and I was actually pretty happy with our meals. That said, I still didn’t have my sense of taste back quite yet from my lingering covid symptoms so I guess eating anything would’ve been the same for me.

We also managed to get a hike in. We went to the nearby Seven Sisters Trail and saw the gigantic Douglas firs that the trail was named after. Some areas were pretty steep in my opinion, but I’m not much of a hiker. We did run into an off-leash dog on the trail, which was a little scary because if we didn’t pick up Onyx in time, things might’ve gotten ugly. The dog’s owner apologized but was unable to recall his dog since the dog didn’t heed his commands. So Onyx was kind of freaking out as the dog tried to jump up to reach him since my fiancé was holding Onyx up. We always have to keep a keen eye out!

I’ve only ever gone camping during summer, and somehow I thought that April was going to be warm enough for us. I think I almost died in my sleep. My sleeping bag was not warm enough, and to make sure Onyx kept warm, we piled all our clothes on him on top of his blanket. From the picture above, you can see my sweats and my fiancé’s shorts on him. There were several layers under that too. He was also wearing a little sweater. Usually, Onyx likes to get up and move around throughout the night. During camp though, he didn’t dare move from his little nest in fear of letting in the cold. I woke up from the cold multiple times and every time I did so, I’d go check on Onyx just to make sure he wasn’t a doggy popsicle. My sister said that the pictures of Onyx at camp were the most miserable she’s ever seen him. I guess he’s more of an indoor dog!

A funny thing that happened was Onyx burying a treat we gave him. We got him a rabbit dog chew thing so that he’d have something to gnaw on if he was bored. He did eat it for a while, but then after a bit, he started to dig a hole at the base of a nearby tree. He then proceeded to bury it! It was so cute to watch! Over the camp trip, I tried to see if he remembered he buried something there. At one point, I unveiled a bit of it by moving dirt off an end of his treat but he got huffy and quickly nosed the dirt back onto the uncovered treat. I then got the clue and left the treat alone.

On the day that we left, to my surprise, Onyx saw us packing up all our belongings and taking down the tarps. Then he hurried over to the tree and dug out his treat to take with us. IT WAS SO CUTE. He did remember!!

Cultus Lake was beautiful and I wish it was a tad less cloudy. But I should count our blessings because at no point was it pouring like the weather forecast previously predicted. We got some sun rays in between sprinkles.

As I mentioned, I’ve only ever gone to public BC campgrounds, so this was my first time experiencing a private camp. It was also the first time I’ve been to a camp with flush toilets and a shower! What luxury. There was a wholesome moment when I was tending our fire and some staff from the campground drove around in a golf cart. They flagged me down and I thought I was in trouble for some reason. The fiancé was off in the washrooms so I told Onyx to wait and I went to the two old men in the golf cart.

They asked me “got any children on this campsite?” I said “No—just a dog.” At that point, I was wondering if we had misselected an option during our booking. They looked disappointed and I probably shot them a confused look. It turns out they had a basket of Easter eggs they wanted to hand out to the kids around the campground! I don’t think they had as many families staying over during the long weekend as they previously expected, so they had lots of eggs left. They offered me one and also offered me a coloring sheet. “If you color it in and submit it to the front office, you might win a prize!” they gushed. I regrettably did not have crayons as part of my camping checklist, so I politely declined. Then one of the men poked the other one and said “Tell her about 3 PM!” I looked at my watch and it was 2:30 PM. The other one then said, “We’re not supposed to tell you, but if you go to the rec room at 3 PM, we’re giving out cake to everyone!” I watched as the two old men drove away with my heart full. What a lovely surprise from the campground for all the folks staying over!

I’m pretty excited we’ll do another camping trip later this summer with our friends! While it was cold and the weather wasn’t great, camping at Cultus Lake was still a lot of fun and made for some great memories for our little family.


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