Canadian style camping

After four weeks in Banff it was time to move on. My next destination was Vancouver, where I wanted to visit my friend Ash, who had been in high school with me some twelve years ago. The timing for my visit couldn’t have been much better, as it was over “May long weekend”, where the Monday is off. It’s a very Canadian holiday in itself, celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday, who was the first sovereign of confederated Canada.

An eleven hour bus ride through beautiful scenery got me to Chilliwack

Ash was planning to go camping with some friends and I was invited to join them. So instead of going all the way to Vancouver, I got off in Chilliwack, where Ash picked me up. Together we picked up a large load of firewood and met the others at the campground at “Cultus Lake Provincial Park”. Mike, Steph and Carly were already there and Daren and Vinny arrived later that night.

“Cultus Lake” in the provincial park of the same name
We joined Daren, Mike, Carly and Steph (and Vinny) at the campground

The “Clear Creek Campground” is located in the middle of an ancient forest with thick layers of moss covering almost every tree. With spring just starting to kick in around Banff, this was a real feast for the eye with numerous different shades of green. And because Canada is so large, there is also a lot of space in between the different campsites. Enough, so that we couldn’t see or hear anything from our neighbors on this booked out campground.

Exploring the ancient forest around our campground
A giant “Douglas Fir Tree” adds to the numerous shades of green

A maximum of three tents per campsite were allowed and with seven people we made full use of that. But since everyone came by car, the others didn’t have any weight or size restrictions. So we ended up with three room-sized tents, each one big enough to house two queen-sized air mattresses. The other super sized camping equipment included camping chairs, four large coolers (drinks, ice cubes and two for food) and three or four cooking units. Now that was professional camping!

Three room-sized tents for seven people
Carly, Steph and Mike had looked after food and cooking equipment

Just recently, Ash had bought a canoe, which he had taken along for this weekend. He had never used it before, so he was eager to try it out. Luckily our campsite was not too far from the water. We grabbed everything we needed and set out for a nice cruise. Needless to say, we used it on both days and never had a problem. We even survived the higher waves created by the countless motor boats and sea-doos on the lake.

Taking Ash’s new canoe out for its (second) maiden voyage
Ash and I had to fight the waves of the motor boats and sea-doos several times

While paddling around the perimeter of the lake, we discovered beautiful beach houses and steep cliffs, where people were jumping into the refreshing waters of the lake. We also saw a guy with futuristic jets under his feet just flying above the water. He made some cool moves and it almost looked like in the movies. Later at our campsite we were happy that all the noise from the lake had stayed behind and we were surrounded by the tranquil forest once again.

Nice beachfront houses along the lake
A futuristic way of moving across the lake

The rest of the time we used for playing Boccia – quite a challenge on a slope with high grass – or playing various card games. Another favorite sport of Canadians seemed to be the campfire. While we managed to burn almost the entire load of slightly moist wood that Ash and I had bought during the first night, the others insisted on getting nine prepacked bundles of dry wood for the next two days. But then again the fire was more of an atmosphere, as we only roasted a dozen marshmallows and burned two packages of “colored flames”.

Daren, Mike and Ash playing Boccia in the deep grass
Keeping the campfire going was an important part of the weekend

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