Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trip Log: Six Mile Lake Provincial Park - Aug 25-26, 2014

Well it's our last "weekend" of the summer, since our weekends fall on Monday and Tuesday.  We'd hoped to do another interior trip, but Chris and his friends at work start playing hockey early so we only had one night.  Bummer.

Chris and I had stayed a night at Six Mile a few years ago and thought the kids would enjoy it.  It's a pretty little park, and somewhere they've never been.

We arrived around 1pm and immediately remembered why car camping with Biscuit isn't that fun.  He barks unless he's right with us, so while we were setting up the tent, he was not a happy puppy.  But Squatch was.  He'd gotten a hammock for his birthday (which is in winter) and had been eager to try it out all summer.  We kept forgetting to take it along, so he made sure to remind us (repeatedly) this time.

We hadn't booked a site, so we went in, found out what was available, then drove around...looking for a perfect hammock site.  Squatch wasn't happy with the site we picked, which was in the Maple Campground overlooking the pond.  It turned out it had a great spot to hang a hammock right at the pond edge so he could lay back and watch the heron, turtles, ducks and frogs to his hearts content.  The site was fairly large but with a tent pad tucked out of full sight, and when we went to check it out we could see a heron in the pond.  The kids named him Bill.

While the boys got the hammock set up, Bubbie and I started lunch.  The kids had "gourmet Mr. Noodles" while Chris and I had left over soup from dinner the previous night.

After lunch, Chris and Squatch went for a swim (really nice sandy beach according to them) while Bubbie and I took Biscuit for a walk.  It was really hot, and humid, so we weren't really in the mood for hiking.  We checked out some empty sites, made notes on what ones we'd like to stay at another time, then headed back.

We hadn't brought a rope to tie Biscuit up with, and the leash was too short to tie to the picnic table, being only long enough to give him about 3 feet of run.  Chris and Squatch went to an empty site down the road and found a long piece of rope someone had left hanging in a tree.  Squatch got on Chris's shoulders and cut it down.  He was pretty proud of himself.  He's really loving the fact he's got a little pocket knife (also a birthday gift) and spends a lot of time making his own marshmallow stick whenever we camp now.

Supper that night was spaghetti and spice cake I'd made the night before.  After that I tried making popcorn in a pot on the stove.  It sounds simple but I've always had an air popper or we've gotten Jiffy Pop for camping.  This worked out well though, and the kids loved it. While Bubbie and I cleaned up, Squatch and Chris went to fish for a while...can you see a pattern here? To be fair, Squatch had just bought a bunch of lures from the discontinued bin at Sail and wanted to try them out. They didn't have much luck.  Once they got back we had a fire but the wood was kind of wet.  It burned long enough for a few marshmallows,  then we headed to bed.

It kind of figured that the first time we had room to take full sized sleeping bags, it ended up being the only night of camping this summer where we could have used the lighter ones.  It was HOT in the tent all night and so humid.  We opened the windows to get a bit of a breeze and that helped a bit.  We'd also all brought extra sleep clothes.  Long underwear and normal sleep pants, and extra layers of shirts which we didn't need at all.  Figures, right?

Also, it didn't help that Biscuit was wired like crazy.  He started out by chewing on the sleeping bags, then started running back and forth along the length of the tent at full speed, sliding over sleeping bags and crashing into the wall.  The only thing which saved the tent poles from getting broken was the fact there was only a few inches of soil over bedrock, so the pegs popped out, easing the slack on the poles. Crazy dog!  Holy cow.  We got him calmed down and Chris went out and fixed the pegs since without them, the outer sections sag into the middle.

Now if I could get him to leave the etoys at home!
I was so tired, and not at all worried about wildlife after our recent backcountry trips.  The highway noise was like white noise and I was sure I would fall asleep pretty quick.  We could vaguely hear people talking at other sites but there wasn't anyone close by.  Then suddenly I was wide awake and I don't think I slept all night...and for no reason.  I wasn't jumping at every rustle in the bush, I wasn't imagining bears and wolves creeping in close.  I was comfortable, not freezing...I was hot but the breeze was nice.  Very frustrating.

I got up around 4:30am to go to the bathroom then around 6 I could hear thunder and saw the odd flash of lightening.  I ended up going out to bring in the clothes off the drying line and a few minutes later it started to sprinkle.  Chris ran out and brought the hammock in because it would have taken ages to dry if it got soaked.  It ended up pouring like crazy.  There was no wind, and I don't know if there was more thunder because we couldn't hear anything over the sound of rain hitting the tent.  Chris reached down and touched the floor by his head and he was sleeping on a puddle. Thankfully it didn't leak through the floor.  If you patted the floor it felt like patting a waterbed.  We shuffled further towards the other end just incase.

The rain didn't last long.  Bubbie and I got up and took Biscuit for a walk since he was wandering around the tent now, licking everyone.

When we got back, Squatch came out and we made breakfast (well, they got theirs, I drank copious amounts of tea and waited for Chris to wake up.)  Breakfast was oatmeal, the packet variety for the kids and a more healthified version for Chris and I that I swear one day I will get the kids to eat.

The weather report said more storms were coming, so we decided to pack up and not do the hikes.  Bubbie wasn't feeling up to it, having a bit of a sinus headache, and the rising heat, coupled with the humidity made it feel like we were in a sauna.  It was hard to breathe.

Though it was a short trip, I'm glad we got to go out for one more night before the kids start school.  And I'm kind of glad it rained.   Both kids have been afraid to camp if bad weather might be a problem, because of the bad storm we had last year at Achray.  I'm glad they had this, which seemed scary because it was so loud, but in the end wasn't bad, to help them get over their fears.

Wildlife seen:
Blue Heron
Three turtles (can't be sure what kind, they were out in the pond)
hummingbird
bats
ducks (again, they were in the pond and I couldn't see too well to identify what kind)
bull frogs