For someone whose job relies heavily on Mother Nature’s cooperation, you’d think I’d be a little more cautious about checking the weather.  My husband and friends affectionately refer to me as the weather witch because of my ability to figure out exactly when rain will start and stop and just how much will fall.  Given my weather obsession it’s surprising it never occurred to me to check the weather before we started setting up camp at Bon Echo.


So we’re halfway through setting up our tent and dining shelter when it starts to drizzle.  No big deal, we don’t mind getting a little wet.  And then it started to rain.  Like really rain.

When you’re standing under the edge of a tent holding it up to prevent the inside from getting soaked the rain comes rushing off the roof in sheets and you have two choices: take it in the face or let the water wash away your tent.  Because I’m all for character building memories I held onto the tent.

The dining shelter collapsed under the force of the rain and the kids had nowhere to hide since the truck was full of our belongings in hopes they wouldn’t get soaked.  When the rain eased up we frantically assembled the tent and dining shelter and then hid in our tent for the next 2 hours until the rain stopped.

Hooray for camping!

I have a lot of amazing memories of camping with my dad when I was kid.  Admittedly it was a lot simpler with just the two of us and the fact that he did all the work.  My kids, who love the great outdoors, absolutely love any adventure that takes them outdoors and involves marshmallows, mud, and mischief making (what is with the obsession with sharp and pointy sticks?)


camping near water

The reality of camping is that it’s parenting outdoors with a lot of dirt, no electricity, and minimal crutches like appliances and you know, a roof.  Even I was questioning the “why” halfway through the first night when the tent shifted sideways under the force of the wind and rain.   We are new to camping and despite the calamities of this trip I would do it again in a heart beat.

eating snacks while campingMy favourite times of the day are first thing in the morning and at the end of the day when the sun filters through the trees.  I love the smell of the campfire and the haze of fog and smoke over the campground.  I love that there are no distractions: no devices, no obligations, just eating, sleeping, and enjoying the great outdoors.

building a fire while camping

fishing while camping

I love that my kids surprise me with what they’re capable of.  My eldest son took over campfire duties this trip: building, starting, and maintaining the fire all on his own.  Not only did it make our lives easier but he was so proud of being our fire master.  My little and middle shocked me when we sent them off to get water, on their own, and not only did they return but they came back with the jug more than half full.  Granted my middle “supervised” my little rolling the jug down the hill to our campsite but it still made it there intact.

camping and fishing

I was amazed at how easily the boys threaded worms onto their fish hooks and removed the spiky little fish to throw back into the lake.  I was even more amazed that they were patient enough to stand still and cast over and over again.

camping activities


We travelled with Brenda and her family and even though there was squabbling amongst the kids who sometimes interact (read: fight) like siblings, there were so many moments of hilarity as they invented games, crafted, and played together.  On our last morning Brenda’s eldest daughter spent over an hour playing play dough with my littlest and middle: I watched quietly from the other side of the camp fire as they laughed and played with their imaginary dragons and reptiles.

fishing while camping

camping near water

The bright side of the rain: the beach emptied out regularly when the rain started and when it inevitably stopped 10-15 minutes later, we had a huge stretch of beach all to ourselves.  The kids were thrilled to explore the water around the beach in our kayaks.  Look at the beautiful backdrop for their adventures? See those independent and adventurous children?  We could hear them cackling from the beach as they tried to knock each other off their boats.  They returned soaking wet and laughing about who was victorious.

in the water

The boys spent over six hours at the beach each day catching minnows, building sand castles, hollowing out a giant sand hot tub, and in spite of the chilly weather, swimming.

Those moments over shadowed living under and on top of tarps for four days and the 24 hour period where we had no running water because of a power outage.  I don’t have many requirements for camping other than a comfortable bed, daily caffeine, and showers.  I admittedly had a meltdown at the prospect of no shower at the end of a long day and will forever sing the praises of our jet boil which meant I was able to hastily assembled a shower inside of a tarp with warm water.  Everything is better when you aren’t filthy and smell like sunscreen and bug spray.  See those dark shadows under my eyes?  Those are my camping badges of honour.

coffee while camping

Valuable lessons we learned this trip: check the satellite before you set up camp.  Pack EVERYTHING in plastic, especially your ‘dry’ food.  Make sure your tetanus shot is up to date so when you end up with a barbed fish hook through your arm you don’t have to spend your last night of camping in the ER.  My poor husband will likely never live that one down but that’s a story for another day.

fishing and camping