Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Summer of Change

This has been a summer of change. Our general vacation plans are usually pretty simple. Take the family to the cottage for a week in July, pack the children off to summer camp and have a second and less restrained week with just Alissa and I in August. Sadly this year the second week didn't happen. The cottage was a busy place with friends, family and others filling the place on the weeks we could get available. I took the opportunity, however, to start lobbying for a back country camping trip. I have to admit I may have been a little aggressive in my idea of what type of first camping experience would suit my wife. In the end the idea of bad weather, an event she may not enjoy and the possibility of playing patty cake with overly friendly bears swayed the vote in her favour.

In the end, however, it has worked out fine. My neophyte wife and neophyte children were ok with the idea of camping in one of the local conservation area parks. The labour day weekend was the chosen dates as we began to plan the family farewell to summer adventure. Needless to say the kids were over the moon with excitement. Alissa had weather trepidation but soldiered on as we accumulated the things we would need. I kept reminding her we would be only 15 minutes from home so we didn't need to plan for every eventuality. Having said that it was great to see her think about all the things that can go wrong on a camping trip. It's a mindset that will serve us well when I finally win the back country vote.

The fateful day arrived and we loaded the truck to head for the campsite. It was a mind numbing array of "stuff" we had. I wasn't sure what we would do with everything or how we would ever survive if this was the pile that would have to be backpacked in. It certainly isn't the most minimalist of camping approaches I've used. I've roughed it on a level that only someone who has carried a rifle for his country can truly appreciate. I don't ever remember my kit containing a combination marshmallow/smore/hot dog roaster. Of course my kit back then didn't include a ten and a six year old either.

We arrived at the conservation area and began to set up camp. The weather was cool and nice. My neophyte camper bride made your typical rookie error of setting up a couple of tarps over our tent and one of the picnic tables. I grudgingly helped and grumbled at having to go through the hassle. That lasted right up until the good Lord rewarded her frivolous extra effort with….rain! Good thing my wife wasn't an old pro like me or we would have been wet and then I really would have grumbled. Stupid weather. So for the next three days our home away from home was our brand new 7 man tent. 

Breakfast was a rugged but satisfying affair. I got the fire going nicely and then Ainsley, our 10 year old, cooked us a delicious meal of scrambled eggs. She thought it was the greatest thing.

The weather was never very co-operative. It pretty much rained lightly all weekend. It didn't seem to slow anyone down. The other campground kids careened up and down the road with their bicycles. We fished a little and took a long walk on one of their groomed trails. It had this fabulous boardwalk through the marshy part of the lake.

The weekend came to an end and with it the last of the summer vacation. The next day the kids were headed back to school and a week later I was scheduled to return to University in an attempt to try and get myself an MBA. Alissa was getting ready for a shift in her job. She was being transferred from training hearing ear dogs to their new autism program. I never realized a service dog could be useful for autism but apparently they are. So everything is changing. At least we are keeping with Heraclitus's axiom. "The only thing constant is change."