Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Trip Log: Balsam Lake Provincial Park: June 29-30, 2015

Before I start I want to apologize.  I didn't even take the camera out of the car for this trip.  We were only there for a night, and I spent most of my time cooking, doing dishes, or tidying up.  I never really left the campsite except to walk the dog or go to the comfort station…except for once to walk to the Park Store to get burger buns.

So, before we left, I'd checked online and there were a lot of sites available so I didn't bother to book one.  I made a short list of potential sites and figured we'd be fine.  When we arrived, the girl who first started to help me get my permit asked what equipment we had, I answered a 13 foot trailer.  Then she showed me 3 sites that were all that were available.  I started to panic, but took the map out to the car to ask Chris and the kids what they wanted to do.  We chose site 18, in the Lakeshore North section.  It wasn't a bad site.  Not much for privacy but a decent size and it was a corner lot so we figured if there were lots of people there, at least we could park the Boler and car so that we'd block the view of the two sites next to us.

I'm not sure if the girl was mistaken about the availability or what, but in the entire section of 28 sites, less than half of them were in use, and almost all the empty ones could have accommodated a big trailer, let alone our little 13" one.

Not that it mattered.  Our site was fine and we only had 2 other sites anywhere near us so it was quiet except for people walking by to the path heading to the beach.  And for some reason when we got our permit they gave us a free little can of baked beans…not sure what that was about.

When we arrived, we quickly got set up and then made some burgers.  Bubbie and I had to walk to the Park Store to get buns and grabbed some chips and a Mr. Noodles cup for her.  We'd brought an organic, brown rice and millet ramen packet but she was worried she wouldn't like it.  The weather was great, not sickeningly hot and with a bit of a breeze.  Chris tried to take Biscuit to the lake to cool him off because he gets so worked up in the car, he was panting like crazy.  He got within a foot of the shore then dragged Chris back to camp.

After lunch, Chris took the kids swimming and I took Biscuit into the trailer so he wouldn't bark when Chris walked away.  I read for a bit, then came out when it got too hot to be inside. A few minutes after that, Chris and the kids came back.

Dinner was spaghetti with italian seasoned bannock.  I cooked while everyone else goofed off with the ukulele's or rode around on their bikes.  We ate inside, then while I cleaned up, Chris and the kids played Viking Chess.  After a few minutes, a father and daughter biked up and the man said his daughter had begged him to come check out this cool game and to ask about it.  This was the first time on the short trip people asked us about Viking Chess.  One of our camp neighbours came over and asked, and even played a few rounds with Chris, then a little while later, some people walking by asked about it.  We've played it many times while camping and never had anyone say a word.

After dinner, the kids biked to the Park Store to get some treats.  They had these peanut butter cups with toppings, like chocolate chip cookie, oreo and M&m's.  They were a bit expensive, $3.59 for a pack of three, but the kids thought they were cool.

Once all the dishes were clean and put away, I took Biscuit for a walk.  He'd had some left over spaghetti and seemed a little desperate to walk around.  When we got back, Squatch was using Chris's new hatchet to make kindling from the bag of firewood.  I nearly had a heart attack.

A miracle happened.  The wood was actually dry!  I almost had another heart attack!  We got a good fire going and then Chris and Squatch played catch until it got too dark to see properly.

It was a comfortable night for sleeping.  Not too hot, and just a bit of cool breeze blowing in so we weren't in and out of the sleeping bag all night.  Biscuit made it uncomfortable though.  Every time one of us moved, he'd climb up our backs and bunt us with his nose or lick a bit of exposed skin. Nothing like getting a wet kiss on the back or on the bottom of your foot to wake you up.

I was up early, thanks to Biscuit.  He was still regretting eating the spaghetti I think because he ran through several doggy-do sacks on our little walk around.  I managed to get him back to bed for a while but a while later he was bugging to go back out.  Figuring it was late enough to get up I started the coffee and not long after, Chris and Squatch got up.  Bubbie slept in the latest this time.  Usually it's Chris.  Breakfast was fried potatoes, pancakes and some oatmeal for Squatch.

By the time we finished and had another game of Viking Chess, it was starting to cloud up and get dark.  We knew it was supposed to storm so Chris took the kids back to the beach while I cleaned up and started packing.  When they got back it only took a few minutes to finish up and we were on the road.  It started sprinkling five minutes after we left, but never stormed.

All in all, it was a short but fun trip.  I don't know that I'll rely on sites being available again.  While our site was pretty good, it was on the opposite corner of the section from the comfort stations.  There were vault toilets nearby but they were tucked into the bushes and I was leery of going there in the middle of the night by myself.