Packing for three days in the back country takes me at least one full roll-up-the-sleeves-and-set-your-jaw kind of day. Especially when my daughters are simultaneously playing, eating, and creating like it’s the last day they’ve got left to live.
I hereby challenge any loving, mature couple to strap themselves, their kids, their gear and two boats into/onto a small car. If you are able to manage the feat unscathed, you have my utmost respect. I owe you even more if your child has diarrhea at the side of the road, five miles after setting off from home.
…from the car to the canoe, from the canoe to the campsite, from the campsite to the canoe, from the canoe to the campsite, from the campsite to the canoe… you get the idea
4. The weather
Heard on the radio as we pulled out of our driveway: “Rain in southern, central, and northern parts of the province… plan on staying at home on the couch with some blankets and a movie…”
Fortunately the rain didn’t turn out to be a problem. We did encounter wind on the second day. And, since wind = whitecaps = swamping our canoe, we piled all our gear into the biggest canoe, sent the men off to battle the waves, and then hiked 7 km to our next campsite with the three kids. I’m not sure who had the hardest job. Weirdly enough, Stan said it was the highlight of the trip…
5. Winged insects
I spotted approximately two mosquitoes this weekend so I feel sheepish claiming this one, but Susanna did get stung twice by hornets. Stan looked at me immediately, then at the ground, and asked, “What do we do for this?” I didn’t get it for a moment and then my eye caught a plantain leaf. In the next second we were both chewing on plantain to make a spit poultice for her fresh bites. Plantain acts as an anti-histamine and an anti-inflammatory. It is also used to draw out poison from snake and insect bites. Although Susanna wasn’t thrilled to have her parents saliva dripping off her, it did seem to help.
Shalain and I were about 25 meters from our campsite when we heard a rustling noise in a nearby berry patch. The kind of rustling that makes your blood feel like fire in your veins. I gripped my bear spray and she got her bear bangers ready; then we met her husband Kent. He had just run into the same bear. It stared at him, he stared back, and then it ambled into the raspberries. Not an epic story after all.
So why do we bother to go at all?
I could answer by recommending Last Child in the Woods or reflecting on how it feels like time travel to be in the back country-as if cell phones and blogs like these cease to exist. Instead, I’ll just post a few more pictures.
How do you and your family enjoy the back country?
Any canoe trip recommendations out there?
PS. About that kayak Stan made… it turns out it needs a few tweaks before we’ll take it on another trip.