Summer is drawing to a close, and after a harrowing day at the Great Vancouver Zoo today, I think I can say I am officially done with the whole ‘we are creating memories or else, dammit’ thing and am ready for school to begin. The one thing I am glad we managed to do was survive and enjoy a family camping trip to Manning Park.
We managed this thanks to having a lovely Honda Pilot to review and I will be posting that later on. The Pilot allowed our family to travel in great comfort with little complaint from the children, and it held all our stuff. Almost all our stuff – we decided to leave the dogs in the care of The Beloved Dog. No room and fear of losing the dogs at the campground made us feel that this was a wise decision.
Camping with children is a lot different from the ‘good old days,’ in which camping consisted of the odd hike, books, naps and beers. It didn’t help that we were camping with friends who also have kids but who we also used to camp with prior to children. We tended to reminisce a bit too much round the campfire at night. The kids thought we were losers.
However two campsites close by both filled with kids who know and like each other worked out great. The kids were happy running from one site to the other, and we could give the other adults a moment of peace by having all the kids at one site at a time. I had packed a ‘craft’ bag too, filled with crayons, stickers, and notebooks which worked out great whenever we heard the rumblings of ‘we’re bored’ start.
Lightning Lake campground is a great family site. We were right by the solar powered, auto flushing toilets and showers. The place even had an outside double sink that everyone used for dishes. No boiling pots of water for washing up for us. We were also by the amphitheatre and the trail down to the lake. The amphitheatre was sadly just a fun place to play, since they didn’t seem to be doing any of the ranger talks while we were there.
I have never been to Manning when the lake was warm enough to swim in. This totally boggled me, and I had not brought the kids their bathing suits. This did not stop them though. It rocked that our friends had brought an amazing inflatable kayak too. The kids had a blast cruising around the lake in it. So much so, that later on we rented a big canoe for the whole family.
I was pretty impressed with my kids (and myself for that matter). We all survived with no tech for the entire time. It was good for all of us to be liberated from the choke hold that the internet has on this family sometimes. I had told the kids that they could bring their DS’s if they wanted to, but they did not, instead they came armed with books and their crazy imaginations. Their imaginations kept them all relatively occupied with very little whining. A big win in my book.
We all returned feeling better for the adventure. I realize that it was just a family camping trip, but getting the whole family (hubs included) out together for a real break is a big deal to us. My husband works hard and doesn’t take a lot of time off, so any time we are all together is really special. Now I just have to keep it together until school starts.