Camping (not as quickly)

Betsy and I love camping. I’m not 100% sure why, since we never really sleep that well, often get irritated with the bugs, and almost always come home exhausted after a trip. Still, we love it and keep going. This time, Betsy booked us an unspecified campground around Canisbay Lake in Algonquin Provincial Forest and scheduled to have a pair of canoes dropped off for us to paddle across the lake to where we would be camping.

If we’re honest with ourselves, there was some mild angst about taking the kids paddling across a lake (let’s say 50% of the adults had some concern) that proved unfounded. They sat eagerly in the front while Betsy and I sat astern and paddled. It was a little less than a mile in a straight line (and we definitely didn’t go very straight) from the beach where we got in to the campsite we chose.


(I love that in this photo, Afton is eagerly looking forward at the destination while Porter looks like he’s playing a game on his phone or something.)

On the way over, we didn’t let the kids paddle, because we were pretty sure they would splash everything we had brought and we didn’t really want to deal with that. We got our Canoes at 8:00 in the morning, so it was still a little cool and slightly overcast but that cleared up shortly after we got our tent set up.

At this lake, there were a number of paddle-in campsites designated by an orange sign on a tree. We were told to paddle until we saw one that was unoccupied and that we wanted. The first one we came to was a little abrupt and we decided to look for one that had an easier landing and where we wouldn’t have to be as worried about the kids falling off a boulder and drowning.

And did we ever find it. A beautiful beach about 6 feet wide and 100 feet long with plenty of room to walk out before it would drown the kids. It had a great spot for a tent, a nice fire-ring, and even a picnic table.

We spent all day playing at the beach. We ate way too much junk food. We all carved Harry Potter brooms and marshmallow roasting sticks. We caught several frogs, a crawdad, and a dead fish. We built sand castles, taught the kids and Betsy how to paddle a canoe, and hiked through the woods. We paddled out to explore more of the lake, and Lea passed out asleep while sitting up in the gentle rocking canoe. She did it again as we were paddling back to the launch-area to return the canoes the next day.

As we were driving home, Betsy said to me, “Can you think of another family camping trip that was as good as this one?” and I couldn’t. It was amazing. It combined the remote feeling of backpacking in with the abundantly supplied feeling of car-camping. I think the kids would choose a day at the beach over winning a million dollars and Betsy and I just sat there and smiled at what a wonderful family we have.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
Betsy, admiring our beautiful family.  You might note the minor disparity in apparel choices between the children and the parent.  It really wasn’t cold, but it wasn’t very warm either.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
See what I’m talking about?  Plenty of room for our largest tent, great fire-ring, and you can walk barefoot if you accidentally got your feet soaked beaching the canoes.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
Lea, loving the water as much as anybody.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
There was plenty of hole-digging, sand throwing,…

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
and cool posing.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
Passed out Lea in the bottom of the canoe.  Literally fell asleep sitting up and Betsy had to ease her down to a prone position.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
Betsy’s hot.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
I spent a fair bit of my time with a stick and a pocket-knife making brooms, wands, hot-dog sticks, marshmallow sticks, and a wooden nickel for Tim Dunn.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
Robyn would have loved the quantity of Oreos we were gobbling up at least as much as Lea did.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
Oatmeal and hot cocoa for breakfast.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
It really doesn’t get much better than this.  (I stole that log from a campsite we visited and decided not to stay at.  It was too perfect to pass up.)

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
Riding brooms (and wielding wands)

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
We were trying to pose this picture and Betsy said, “Ride your brooms!” (meaning, stand as though you are riding it) and everyone bolted running around.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
I offered to cook this fellow up for them, and Afton was ready to try it but Betsy and I chickened out.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
Porter developed into a value-add canoeing partner.  If you go canoeing with him, don’t expect to take many breaks. He’s a strict task-master. If you’re in a canoe with him, you’re paddling. Fast.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
On our hike, Lea was a bit of a laggard because she was trying so hard to stay on her broom and no matter how long it started out, it ended up barely gripped as it dragged behind.

Russell Anderson: Summer 2013 &emdash;
Lea, passed out again on the ride back to the launch to turn in the Canoes.  All four of the kids were dead to the world within 20 seconds of buckling seat-belts for the ride home.

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4 Responses to Camping (not as quickly)

  1. Sarah says:

    This post was so awesome I actually had to leave a comment. I’m jealous! Looks like such a fun family time. Way to go guys!

  2. Hannah Andersen says:

    Looks like a perfect spot!! How fun! One question…..how did you handle the bathroom? I really want to know. I always feel like we need at least an outhouse every time we camp.

  3. Robyn says:

    So fun!! Next time we’re at your house we’d LOVE to go camping with you at this spot! You’ll have to teach me how to canoe too…but I’d love to share those oreo’s with Lea:) After I read this I told Andrew we NEED to go camping. Looks like the perfect camping trip!

  4. Abby says:

    Russell, it’s okay if you were a little concerned about taking the kids in the canoe at first….some of us in my family are prone to worrying too, so we get it.

    I love your family.