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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River District in Vancouver

To my Vancouverites,

Have you guys been to the River District near SW Marine Drive? It is pretty easy to get to, as long as you hop on the 100, which takes you down SW Marine Drive.

I went for the second time today, but the first time I was there, it was at night and nowhere near as pretty as today. Today was very hot, reaching 27 degrees in Burnaby where we were. But it made for a nice day to go out for a stroll, and enjoy the parks around there.

I went to Romer’s Burger Bar for the first time, and their burgers were very delicious. They also had a wide selection, with the best sauces. These burgers came a-la-carte, but they had fries that you could order for the entire table to share. We did this, and also got their featured drink, which was a Mango Mint Iced Tea. Having a cool drink on such a hot day felt amazing.

The Halibut Burger at Romer's

The Halibut Burger at Romer’s

After lunch, we walked along the river. There was not a cloud in the sky and the green green grass around us made for a very picturesque scene.

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Doing some research, it turns out that during summer, the River District has a Farmer’s Market every Saturday! It would be interesting to check that out one day!

If you have been to this area, let me know what you thought of it! Or if you have any other recommendations!

Till next time 🙂

– Karen

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