campers are uncivilized barbarians with questionable hygiene.
there, i said it.
i like electricity. hot running water and flush toilets are pretty exciting too. when my phone dies and i lose access to friends and social media, i start to panic. bugs bring out full-blown terror if they get too close. the drunktards yelling in the alleyway behind our house at 3am on tuesday morning sound much more comforting to me than the noise of invisible (and likely killer) critters in the darkened forest.
growing up i spent a lot of time outdoors with my family. my father took us camping and hiking countless times. as a child i really enjoyed these outings, but as i hit the terrible teenaged years i woke up one morning, did a complete 180, and decided i’d much prefer to be close to civilization.
chances are, you’re rolling your eyes at me.
don’t worry, i get it. living on the west coast of canada, we’re surrounded by natural beauty. camping and outdoor stores abound. clearly i’m alone in my hate of camping.
because the boyfriend enjoys getting away for a few nights and setting up camp, we discussed going for what we called a ‘baby step’ for me. one night at a well-maintained campground complete with running water, showers, flushing toilets and electricity. how could i say no?
so, back in may i made a one-night reservation for a spot at alice lake over the victoria day long weekend. we even asked my sister to join us. the more the merrier, right? and secretly, i wanted extra back up should any of those creepy killer critters decide to jump out of the forest at me.
leading up to the big day we discussed what we needed to bring, what we’d eat while away, whether or not we could buy firewood onsite or not.. standard pre-camping conversations. while checking the campground website for information on firewood i noticed that it said they only took 2 night reservations for the long weekends. strange, i thought.. because i had booked us only one night. but the online reservation system took my booking, so everything must be okay. right?
the morning of the big ‘re-introduce marla into the wilderness’ experiment, we loaded up the car and headed towards alice lake. when we arrived, the ranger at the gate couldn’t find any record of our reservation. not to worry, we had the print-out i had made when booking online. she looked at the print-out, then back onto her computer screen and then said she’d be right back. into her golf cart she got and drove off down the road while we sat in the filled-to-the-brim car waiting. a few minutes later she returned, waving my print-out in her hand.
‘i’m sorry to tell you this but your reservation is for NEXT weekend. we have nothing available.’
oh. my. god.
all of that prep work and psyching myself up for nothing? how did i mix up the dates?
i almost cried. my lower lip actually started to quiver.
‘don’t worry.’, they said.
‘we’ll find somewhere else to camp for the night!’, they said.
‘all is not lost!’, they said.
so around the area we aimlessly drove while trying to find campsites online. for a while it didn’t look like we’d have any luck and would have to return home. the tension was thick. what the heck were we going to do?
finally, when hope had run near-dry, we found something.
where the callaghan and cheakamus rivers meet off the sea to sky highway, there’s a set of three campgrounds called cal-cheak (get it?). would there be anything left at such a late stage?
of course there would. want to know why? because all the civilized people were down at alice lake enjoying their running water and flush toilets. cal-cheak did have running water, truth be told, but it was in the form of a river and freezing cold one at that. toilets, you ask? oh, there were toilets. they stunk and were full of flies. because they were out-houses.
rather than having to put my tail between my legs, go home in shame admitting defeat to everyone i had shocked with the news that i was actually going camping, i decided to pull on my big girl pants and just suck it up for the sake of the boyfriend and sister.
you know what happened?
i actually had a really nice time!
lots of laughter, great company, relaxation, fresh air, a warm and pretty campfire.. all really wasn’t lost! i came home feeling really great about the experience. i also felt very dirty and couldn’t wait to shower to remove eau de barbarian. but it wasn’t a total bust, and i almost wish we had stayed a second night. almost. let’s not get carried away.. but i’d be willing to try this whole camping thing again. or ‘glamping’ to be more accurate.
this girl needs her creature comforts, after all!
if you’re interested in seeing my photos, click the link below.