Camping at Syringa Provincial Park

How did we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday? We decided to go outdoors and embrace what BC had to offer: we went on a 3-day trip out to Syringa Provincial Park!

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Down By Hick’s Lake

(Sung in the tune of “Down By the Bay”)
Down by Hick’s Lake
Where the water reeds grow
Back to my tent
I dare not go…. 

And that is basically where our campfire song ended as we realized how scary the lyrics were.

I am back from my camping trip, and have finally showered after two days without doing so. It was my first camping trip, so the whole no showering idea was scary to me. However, I prepared myself before the trip and finally accepted the fact that it was no big deal. What I did not expect was that there were no sinks in the ‘washrooms’. The ‘washroom’ was more of a pit in the floor, and the smell was pretty horrid.

Before heading off to camp, I read loads of camping tips, hoping I will have these bits of advice floating around my head as we camped. One of the first advice for new campers was to arrive while the sun was still up, so that you can set up your tent, get a fire going, and get a good look at your surroundings. Sadly, we did not arrive before sunset as we ended up being two hours behind schedule, so we did have to stumble around in the dark. Thankfully, the family in the adjacent camp site was really nice and lent us supplies (just rope really) and was there to answer any questions we had.

My friend Monica and I had practiced setting up the tent in her front yard before the trip, just in case we would be working in the dark. That turned out to be very smart indeed. We also prepped the food and meals for the trip, getting them ready for the cooler. Packing was slightly annoying because I had to dig around for some winter gear since it would get cold at night. In the end, I think we were pretty well prepared seeing as how this was our first camping trip. Josh and Connie chopped up wood for the campfire, William got the van, and soon enough we were off to Sasquatch Provincial Park.

The first night was chaotic. Connie got the fire going, while Monica and I tackled our tent, and William and Josh tackled theirs. Monica’s dog Gator was also very anxious as he had no idea what was happening. We ate bannock, ignoring all food safety procedures and had ham and cheese. Sleeping was actually a lot better than I imagined, mostly due to Connie’s friend who lent us her inflatable mattress. Without it, we would have been sleeping on gravel under our thin sleeping bags.

The next morning, we woke up at around nine. We started another fire so we could cook breakfast. We ended up cooking our lunch too (Beef Kebabs) since fires took so long to get going. I think we all underestimated the amount of time it would take for us to cook our meals. It was well into lunch time when we finally got the food well done enough to eat. Thus, we had brunch instead.

Hard at work cooking our brunch.

Bacon, beef kebabs (with zucchini) and scrambled eggs.

Then it started to threaten to drizzle, so we glanced over to our neighbours to see them setting up a tarp over their fire, covering as much of their site as possible. We had two tarps, one to go under each tent. Good thing one of the tarps were actually huge, so we moved both tents over to the big tarp and used the small one as our rain shelter. We had rope, but it was not enough. The family next to us offered to lend us some, so we ended up being able to put up the tarp. We were lucky we copied them, and for them to have extra rope. When we were packing, different websites told us to bring rope. None of us knew what the rope was for…until then.

When the drizzle stopped, we started to hike. Hick’s Lake was actually really nice, and we started to walk around the perimeter. We eventually got to a point where Gator could not cross because it was too steep, so we had to turn back. We stopped by our site for a quick break consisting of toilet breaks and fruits, then the girls were off again on a different hiking trail. The guys wanted to nap.

Hick’s Lake in the drizzle

We saw this little guy on our way back!

Connie, Monica, Gator and I found a place called Beaver Pond. It was a hiking trail, with a sign claiming that a hike around it would take thirty minutes. It took us a bit longer because we kept stopping for pictures. But the view of the pond was breathtaking. The water was very still, and gave a perfect reflection of the trees and the sky surrounding it.

Beaver Pond

That night, for dinner, we had stew along with crackers, followed by smores. Then we told some ghost stories and sang some songs. We also just talked for a while. It was not until we used up our firewood that we decided to go to sleep.

Connie and William by the fire 🙂

As a whole, I found the camping trip a fun experience. It was not as strenuous as I had imagined, but the lack of actual washrooms came as a surprise. I look forward to going camping again!

Tips for camping (a.k.a notes to future Karen for future camping trips):

  • it is best if you arrive before sunset
  • practice setting up a tent if you do not have prior experience
  • bring your own firewood, or else you will have to buy from the camp site (overpriced)
  • it does get cold at night, so bring suitable clothing
  • make a meal plan. Even if you end up switching certain planned meals around, you will be able to prepare the right amount of food this way.
  • camp sites that allow you to drive your car into your lot is awesome. You save time unloading everything, and you can also lock up any valuables or food items to be kept away from nature.
  • cooking meals take more time than you would think
  • bring extra rope and tarp in case it rains. Just tie the tarp’s corners to trees to secure it. For us, we had to secure one end of the tarp to our car as we lacked trees for that end.
  • firewood and supplies will take up a lot of space in your van/car. We rented a 7 seater van, but still struggled to fit all our stuff

Until next time!

-Karen

The End of Sleeping In

It’s that time of year again. School is going to start real soon and I have found myself filling all my remaining days with some sort of activity to squeeze whatever I can out of my summer.

I am very excited to be going camping today! It will be my first time camping outdoors– ever! (Unless if you count that time we camped in my friend’s backyard…but we definitely were not roughing it out at all.) Four friends and I will be going to Sasquatch Provincial Park. In a matter of hours, we will be setting up our tent!

Now that we are preparing (basically done at this point) for our trip, I realized how much work this all is. I have also been reading up on some camping tips and honestly, I find some of them quite terrifying. I will update when I get back so I will remember what it was like when I look back on my first camping trip!

In other news, my friends and I went to Society down at Yaletown for a goodbye get-together for my friend who is going off to Toronto for university. I really did not have high hopes for this place as I had googled it before going and they had pretty bad reviews. However, I thought that the pizza I ordered was decent, and my friend’s truffle mac n’ cheese was pretty good. My friends who got the Chicken Gnocchi said it tasted mediocre… so I guess our group had mixed reviews. We ended it all off with a Junk Food Platter! What really caught my eye was how pretty it looked! It tasted pretty good, though the macaron was not soft enough.

My pizza– the Ultimate Meat pizza 😛

The Junk Food Platter

On the other hand, the restaurant itself was annoying. The music was on very loud, so it is definitely not the ideal place to sit and chat, or catch up with friends. I felt like we were shouting most of the time. But then, there were pink chandeliers  inside so it looked really nice. It was the perfect lounge for a girl’s night out, but not so much for chilling and talking.

That is it for now! I will update after my camping trip! Hope you guys are enjoying the sun!

-Karen