Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Funday = Camping!

I've been on a wee hiatus, I believe it's referred to as a vacation?  But it didn't really feel like a vacation.  More like being trapped in a vehicle for lengthy amounts of time, with whining/fighting children, and a summer head cold, but with a better view.  Does a vacation ever get back to feeling relaxing after you have kids?  There were awesome moments, don't get me wrong!  I tried my darnedest to make the best of things despite feeling less than awesome, and create some memorable memories (that's a thing!) for the kids.

We picked up the kids from my folks' place in Nelson, BC.  So the first photo is of waiting for the ferry to arrive, so beautiful!  We stayed a couple days, and I got to reconnect with some girlfriends!  The best kind of girlfriends...even though we are all busy with kids or whatnot; that it feels like we just hung out the other day!  Getting to see them helps me feels grounded, and I miss them already.

We carried on from Nelson to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  We stayed at a nice family friendly campground, where there were a ton of other children for my kids to play with, and they had canoe rentals!  So we rented a canoe, and cast off onto the canal.  Cory chose the moment that we were trying (with great difficulty) to navigate the waters, that he's never been in a canoe before!!  But we managed, and didn't tip or anything!

From Coeur d'Alene, we went to Flathead Lake, in Montana.  We didn't make reservations for anything, by the way, we were "winging it"; so, feeling a little stressed once we were coming upon campground after campground that had NO space!  We managed to find a spot at the Blue Bay campground, that had the most amazingly clear water, and colourful rocks everywhere, of which we came home with our fair share of.

One thing I take for granted from my childhood, was being able to see the stars every night, something that my city kids don't get to experience.  So past bedtime, we took our blankets down to the dock, and laid out under the stars.  I did my best to show them the constellations I remember, and both Sloane and I saw three shooting stars!  The boys still don't believe us though. Pffft.

From Flathead Lake we travelled a short distance to West Glacier, careful to bypass Kalispell, and all it's shopping opportunities!  As this was our "penny pinching" camping adventure, we basically had the budget for gas and groceries, and not much more.  It was much easier to ignore the lure of American shopping, now that we have Target in Calgary.  But I missed my American Goodwill hunting, so sad.  Next summer.

We did take in The Great Bear Adventure, which we haven't been able to do it in past years as we had an RV.  But with our new trailer, and being able to unhitch, we were able to make our car our cage!
The bears are born in captivity, and are pretty used to humans; there were workers walking around the whole time, so I didn't feel like a bear was ever going to carjack us or anything.  Cool for our city kids, to gawk and take pictures.
We also took in the House of Mystery, which we had never done on previous trips to the area.  The grounds are a sacred site, and home to a vortex, which is explained as a gravitational anomaly that may re-define the laws of physics and nature.  They've built a house on the grounds at a slant, which makes it feel more like a fun house, and makes it less believable; but once you see the way the trees grow around the vortex site, all slanty in a circle formation, it makes it more convincing.  And I was soooo dizzy the whole time.  Mysterious.

I'll leave you with some camping tips, in lieu of a recipe.  If you travel with your food in a cooler, one tip is to freeze all your meat (hot dogs, bacon, etc), and almost all the water, other than the bottles you'll want to keep for the drive.  That way once you arrive at your campsite, your meat and water has thawed/melted, and in the meantime kept everything chilled, without using a bag of ice, that just melts and water logs all your food, and is a waste.

One other thing I always do ahead is put together the ingredients for pancakes.  Instead of purchasing one of those boxes of pancake mix that are full of chemicals, make your own!

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt

When you're ready for breaky, you just add 1 cup milk, and 1 egg, and mix it up!  If you use a big jar, or recycle an old yogurt container, you can mix it up up in whatever you transport it in for less dishes, as well!  Yay!

One last tip to share is something I collect all year in preparation for camping, and is something we all have in our homes...empty toilet paper rolls, and lint from the dryer!  This combo makes a great Firestarter!  I saw versions of these for sale in stores for $7.00!!  Ridiculous!
Simply stuff the lint into the toilet paper roll, and you're done.  Could not be simpler.  I keep mine in a zip lock, as my dryer lint also contains massive amounts of dog hair, which gets everywhere!


Happy Trails to you !

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