Goldstream Close

Last weekend the 4 foxes we went camping at Goldstream with two other couples. Camping is a lot of work to get there and get home, but once at the campsite it is generally a good time. This trip was no exception. The only downside to this trip was my lack of sleep due to Heart. She doesn’t like camping, and the only way to keep her somewhat quiet in the morning is to let her sleep in the tent with us. Sadly she is not the kind of dog that likes to sleep in, and since Sue is training for a ride in June, I offered to get up with Heart. 6:15 the first morning, but 5 am the next. Yikes. Thankfully there is a Tim Hortons close by to grab a coffee while the rest of the camping crew slept a little longer.

Getting the firs prepped
Getting the fire prepped

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Woods Tent

A couple weekends ago Amy and I went camping. It was supposed to be an overnight trip since I didn’t know how she would fair out in the woods. It ended up being a two night even which was a lot of fun.

We arrived in Goldstream on Friday night (after stopping for a donut treat) and got our site. Through a long convoluted story we ended up in a double site with some people we didn’t know, and were going to have to move to a different site in the morning. Amy helped set up the tent and get the inside all situated. With the beds ready we made some dinner (bunny pasta), and ate at the picnic table.

We also went for a short bike ride through the campground. This was our first bike ride together with Amy not using training wheels. Very fun!

There were some rumblings of thunder, and I kept hoping that the rain would hold off. A movie was playing at the interpretive hut, so we took some snacks, a blanket, and a chair and went to watch the movie. Sure enough 15 minutes into the movie the rain started, but only lightly. The movie equipment was paused and put under cover. A camper brought out a huge umbrella, so after some rigging the movie was able to resume. By this point it was close to 8 and Amy was tired. There was still some thunder, and a little bit of rain now and then, but she wanted to go to bed. I read a book while she slept.

The next morning we made pancakes, took down the tent, stuffed everything into the truck, then checked in to our new site. In the new site we once again set up our tent, sleeping area, and camping area. Throughout the day we went for many bike rides, played some games, had a picnic in our tent, and visited some friends that were also staying at the campground. We also watched as some people in the next campsite used their car to tow each other around the campground on the skateboards.

That night we had hotdogs cooked over a fire. Yum. After dinner we had marshmallows, then Amy got ready for bed. I stayed up by the fire and enjoyed some relaxation time.

The next morning we had to pack up and head home. Amy had lots of fun camping with me, and I enjoyed the quality time with her. Next year I think I will try planning for a three night stay at a different campground a little further from home.

Elliot’s camping trip is going to happen later this summer.

Camping Sparkle

Camping. This is what I remember from vacationing as a child. Camping with my parents at various places like Long Beach, Rathtrevor, and Gordon bay on Lake Cowichan.

I’ve always loved camping. Something about being in the woods, the campfire, the dirt. Roughing it, sleeping on the ground. Cooking outside, and eating outside. It is fun, but is a reminder of how good we have it at home.

This weekend was supposed to see Sox, myself, the kids and two other couples go to Gordan Bay for a camping weekend. Sox ended up having to go to Toronto, and one of the other couples had to cancel.

I couldn’t take both kids and the dog camping, and have us all come home sane and in one piece. Instead my mom took Amy for the weekend, and I got to take Elliot camping.

It was awesome. He is old enough to appreciate things like staying up late, getting extra treats, and doing something special with dad. He go to poke a stick in the fire, eat marshmallows, have extra cheese on his pasta. Simple things, but I could see a sparkle in his eye each time he got to do something new.

He was a big help in setting up the camp too. Elliot likes to help, so helping dad set up camp was a big deal for him. He helped me set up the tent, and then unload the car of all our sleeping gear.

I didn’t take enough things for him to do. I should have taken his bike. I instantly regretted it as soon as I pulled into the campground. The only reason I didn’t take it was sure laziness. Getting Heart into and out of the car when the bike rack is on is a pain. I should have done it anyway. I also forgot to take any coloring supplies, or any activity books. I did have a few cars and truck for him to play with, and my iPad. We also played cards, and board games.

Saturday we went to the lake, but not at the beach in the campground. We took a gravel logging road for about 10km, then took an over grown trail down to the lake. He liked 4x4ing in the car.

Saturday night was pretty cool too because when dinner was done, our campmates broke out dessert. The brought for use chocolate cake. Not pre-made though, they cooked it in the campfire in hollowed out oranges. Very, very tasty, and not really orangey either. Then after that we made popcorn over the campfire. Again, super yummy.

Today we had to break down camp and come home. I think that three nights is the ideal amount of time to go camping. Maybe four.

I hadn’t planned on this turning into such an amazing time, but it was actually very special to me. Elliot is at an age where I can really start sharing some of the things I love with him. He has the attention span to listen and learn. I think I might try to do this boys camping trip once a year. I will definitely balance this with a special weekend with Amy too.

I am definitely glad my mom was able to take Amy. I would have been way more busy and wouldn’t have been able to enjoy camping as much if both kids had been there. Also, Elliot wouldn’t have gotten to do some of the things he did if Amy was there. She doesn’t have the skill or attention to be careful around fire or other situations. Camping would have been a totally different experience if both kids were there.

Group Outcome

Last weekend we went camping at Rathtrevor with a large group of our friends. It was the first time in 3 years that we had gone with them. The last time we went it was such a disaster (Amy was only a few months old and not sleeping) that we went home after the first night.

This year was much different.

The kids slept very well, once they got to sleep. They had a great time playing with friends, and for the most part were pretty hands free. The singalong was lots of fun with them too.

One thing Elliot was looking forward to for a long time was during the camping trip he wanted the training wheel taken off his bike. We talked a bit about what might happen (falling), and how we would teach him to ride (start by coasting down a hill with no pedals on the bike). After a couple coasting runs he was game to try pedalling. The video below shows the outcome.

It was pretty amazing to see him take off like that. He did three or four laps like this, then suddenly he wanted the training wheels back on. He can’t start riding on his own yet, and I think that he likes the freedom of being to just get on his bike and ride. We also need to work on stopping and dismounting, but that will come later.

The rest of the camping trip was great. It was a lot of fun to catch up with friends I haven’t talked to in a while. Drinking beer, standing around the campfire is always a good time too. When Sunday rolled around I was a little sad that we had to pack up and head home.

Camping Memories

This past week we were camping up at Rathtrevor Park. Sox’s family all came out for the trip, and it was perfect.

The cousins all got along great and played well together. The food was excellent, and the weather was spotless. Sleep was a little lacking though. The first night there Sox and I headed to bed around 10. Sprout was still awake and started talking to us. We tried our best to ignore him and to convince him to go to sleep. We also tried our best to prevent any outbursts. He kept saying things like, Hi mama, What you doin? and my favorite Can’t see (by this time it was late and very dark). Every time I was about to nod off he would speak up. Ack. Then Beet woke us all up at 5:30. The sleep got better after that thankfully.

This trip brought back lots of memories for me. One of the few things I vividly recall about my parents is going camping. Especially to Rathtrevor. I loved it as a kid, and one of my great hopes as a father is to create some of these special times with my family. I don’t want to recreate what I did as a child, but I do want my children to some day reflect back on the fun times we had as a family.

Sox and I actually took two vehicles up there (long story) so this afforded me enough space to take my bike. I did get out for one ride, and apart from missing one really fun trail I had a great ride. On another ride I also towed Sprout in the trailer for a while and we ran into a couple that were out walking their two pointers.

We also went to the beach a few times, played bocce, badminton, volleyball, drank copious amounts of coffee, drank a few beer, and had campfires. Not sure what more you could want in a camp trip really.

In years to come we are going to have to really reconsider how to pack. Our CRV is great but with 2 kids, a dog, and all the gear, we are short on space. In the next year or two we will need to take bikes too. Maybe a utility trailer or even a tent trailer if the CRV can tow that.

Canada Camping

The Canada Day camping trip has been an awesome tradition amongst my group of friends. I don’t remember the exact details about how it got started, but I am thankful it did.

This year was an interesting year. Sprout was definitely coming with us, but Gramma made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Sprout stayed over at Gramma’s house which gave Sox and I time to set up camp without him.

This turned out to be a great luxury since we had to set up camp in the rain.

Camping pics are here.

It was a strange experience not having Sprout with us. Sox and I were able to enjoy a dinner out Thursday night, sleep in on Friday, pack the car, and drive to Parksville on our own schedule. I missed him, but it was great to spend some alone time with Sox .

Camping was very fun. I have lots of memories of camping when I was young, and I definitely want Sprout to have something similar.

Sprout seemed to enjoy his time in the campsite too. He played with the golf set, the trike, the scooters, balls, dogs, walking Yoshi, and pretty much any other toy he could get his hands on.


The only issues we had were some minor sleeping issues. Sprout went to bed with ease, but one morning he woke at 2 am and was unhappy until we brought him to bed. We think he was cold. Another morning he woke up early (around 5:30am I think). The last morning he slept until a reasonable time (6:30).


We had some fun on the beach too. Sprout had fun playing in the sand, and I had fun making sand castles for the other kids to destroy. I did get busted for having Yoshi on the beach though. Sox and Sprout were playing on the beach, and I had headed out towards the water with Yoshi. I saw Sox running out towards me so I headed in. A warden had come by, and Sox saved her the trouble of heading out. I forgot that he wasn’t allowed out there. I thought he was allowed there, but on leash only (he was off leash too). Apparently the warden was very nice, and I had no problem removing Yoshi from the beach.

The first day we were there, before I picked up Sprout, Sox and I took Yoshi for a walk on the trails. We came across a large field, and I quickly grabbed Yoshi since I saw a few deer in the field. At first I saw 4, but then more raised their heads until there was 7 visible. Pretty cool.


The big thing we kept an eye on for the weekend was the weather. Thunderstorms and rain were predicted for the weekend, so everyone came prepared with rain gear, tarps, and ropes. Sox and I, along with KaptainK and JJ put up a tarp over our cooking area and that was it. We sat back and enjoyed the show as the rest of the guys spent hours tarping almost every square inch of our campsite. It was quite the show. Tree climbing to get the ropes up high, complicated rope schemes, bungy cords, and the biggest dams tarps I have ever seen.

We also had camp fires every night. Nothing says camping like a good camp fire.







Dogs, kids, good friends, good food, good times. Those are the makings of the best kind of a celebration.


Monday was time to pack up. I did the majority of it while Sox played with Sprout and some of the other kids. I like the challenge of packing. I got everything in its spot, except for one table. I had to pull out half a dozen things to get that in. The scary incident I had was when I was trying to close the Yakima. I was on the roof of the car and managed to get the pod closed with a lot of effort. Then I lost my balance, and almost fell off the roof into a bramble bush. I caught myself with my foot and was able to right myself before falling. Close, but scary. I think I scared a couple other people too.


The last part of this story is the drive home. Sox and I stopped at Starbucks in Nanaimo before hitting the road for home. The first sip I took, I was disgusted. It tasted like coffee mixed with cherries. It was the most disgusting concoction I have ever tasted. I could smell the syrup when I brought the cup to my mouth, and could not stomach another sip. We had already started the drive home, and going back was not an option. We ended up stopping in Duncan, and the shop there fixed the mistake. It was a very disappointing discovery, but I was happy when it got fixed.

The camping trip was great. I can’t wait for next year.

Canada Fidgeting

Canada Day Camping trip. Always tons of fun. This year was no exception, but it was mighty different. In past years Sox and I helped out more around camp, and helped entertain/mind children. With our own child to attend to, our perspective was might different.

The weekend was awesome though. Rathtrevor Beach has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I can remember going to the store with my father or mom to get ice cream cones. I can remember countless afternoons at the beach, playing in the water, building sand castles, and flying kites. Such a wonderful place.

The weather was spectacular. Thankfully though, we were still allowed camp fires. What goes good around campfires? Singalongs. There were two guitarists in attendance, and the adult songs were one night, and the kiddie songs another.

Around camp there was lots of playing, and a bit of fidgeting on our part. Sox and I had to be careful to keep Sprout out of the sun. Hard to do sometimes. We went for a walk once, and had to make it quick. Not only was it hot (high 20’s), but the sun was up high, so there was no hiding from the suns rays for Sprout. Soon the sunscreen can be slathered on. That will be good.

Yummy food, relaxing with good friends, playing with dogs, a good book. What more could you want from a long weekend?

Pics are here.

Dawned Fire

happy camping people

Wow, so much has happened in the last week. This past weekend Sox and I joined our friends in the annual Canada Day long weekend camping trip.

All went pretty smoothly getting ready for it. Last Tuesday Sox and I had a planning session at KaptainK’s house. Lists were made, and grocery shopping was divided up.

Thursday was our leave date, so I went in to work really early so I could get home at a reasonable hour and pack. It worked pretty well, although, Yoshi always get a bit anxious when he sees us pack. With the truck ready we were off. A couple blocks away from the house I remembered that I had forgotten my camera, doubling back I retrieved it. I hoped this wasn’t a sign of things to come. Sue and I stuck to our lists, and didn’t really ensure they were accurate.

On the highway we managed to miss most of the bad long weekend traffic. It was smooth sailing … until Chemainus. I was going through what we were going to be doing when we got to the campground, and it dawned on me. I stuck to the packing list alright. The one thing not on the list: the tent. Crap! I pulled off the highway so we could weigh our options. We could go back to Victori and pick it up, but it was already 8pm and the gates at the park closed at 11pm. That was cutting it close. I then thought to call my mom. I knew she didn’t have a tent, but maybe she knew someone who did. We lucked out on that one. A friend of mom’s had a tent, and even dropped it off at mom’s house for us. A quick stop to grab it and we were on the road again.

At the campground I was still steaming about forgetting the tent. The first real thing I did there was crack a beer and gunned half of it down immediately. That did the trick.

The tent that we borrowed was tiny in comparison to our normal behemoth. Actually it was just tiny. I think it was about 6 feet in diameter. Remember that I am 6’1″. I didn’t fit very well, and neither did our airbed. We borrowed some foam from my mom to sleep on. The foam worked pretty good though, and I am considering switching to that for future camping trips. I found that it insulated us a lot more so I felt warmer while sleeping.

With camp set up we started a fire (and drank a couple more beers).

We didn’t do anything crazy on this trip, but like always it was lots of fun. 6 couples, 8 kids, and 3 dogs strewn about 3 different campsites. How can that not be fun? The tradition continues.

I did take my mountain bike though, and Yoshi and I got a nice little ride in at Top Bridge park. Rather fun.

Saturday a couple decided to head home early, so they left their tent for us to use. It was nice to be able to stretch out while sleeping. Before they left there was a sing along for the kids.

On our last day we packed up everything quickly, loaded the vehicles, and got out of there fairly early. The plan was to eat breakfast at White Spot in Nanaimo. Really it is a nice way to end the camping weekend. A good breakfast made for you in a nice restaurant while we are all gross, stinky, and dirty. 🙂

The drive home was pretty uneventful, but I knew the Kaptain was a little tired (E had a bit of an ear infection that caused a little havoc on the trip), so I kept her in sight the whole way home. Apparently E enjoyed this a lot.

Bonus S’mores

enjoying the beach

This past long weekend saw myself, Sue, Yoshi, and Digger travel to Long Beach to camp with Steve, Rhae, T, and Steve’s sister Gina and her husband Stuart. We also took Digger with us for company for Yoshi. The Green Point campground has a “bare” policy (which means everything except your sleeping necessities must be kept in a vehicle when you are not in your campsite or are sleeping). As a result of this policy, we asked K if we could borrow her van for the dogs to sleep in, and she readily agreed. I admit that having it was a very big bonus for the trip, but Sue and I both agree that it is better to borrow than to own! 🙂

The weather didn’t really pan out like it was supposed to. The reports leading up to the trip indicated it would be sunny and warm (up to 26C), but really it was foggy almost the whole time, and not exactly hot. IT was interesting how each night the fog would clear away for about 3 hours or so, just enough for us to see the sunset.

Pics are here.

Sue and I headed up on Saturday, then came back on Monday. While there we walked the dogs on the beaches a few times, flew the kite a bit (including extreme kite flying with Steve), visited with everyone, and kicked back with a few drinks each night. The really nice thing about Long Beach is that although it is always quite wet there, this means that campfires are usually permitted. This weekend was no exception. Camping just isn’t the same without a campfire.

Other notables from the weekend: T is a real cutie. Naked babies wandering the beach are quite funny. Specially when they squat and pee in the middle of the blanket! :O

While sitting around the fire Sunday night, Steve decided to make some s’mores. He had been having trouble cooking all day, and this was no exception. His first attempt ended up with two wasted marshmallows. I saw him throw one away, but the other one had disappeared. Steve went about making some more that were much more successful. While he was enjoying the fruits of his labour, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something whitish moving. I glanced over, and saw a shadow dart away. I grabbed flashlight just in time to see a mouse stealing the marshmallow that Steve had dropped on the ground! Cute little guy with huge ears! That would have been one huuuge sugar rush for him though; the marshmallow was as big as his body.

Monday morning we learned that Gina had fallen ill in the night. She spent most of the night in the bathroom, and it wasn’t a good scene. Her husband took her to the hospital to get checked out, and the doctors there felt she will be just fine. Scary for a little bit, but we know she will be fine in the end.

Our last walk on the beach was after Sue and I had torn down camp, and packed the van. We drove to Wickaninish to walk them. They went nuts as soon as we let them go. They were running as fast as they could down the beach, right towards a trio of people. They were watching the dogs head straight for them, and you could see them tense up. At the last moment the dogs seperated, and split off in two directions, passing within a few feet of the people. Sue and I were worried that they were going to take them out! Later Digger beatled off into the logs, and was scampering along them. At first we thought he was looking for a place to relieve himself, but we quickly learned what he was doing as soon as he started rub his shoulder against a log. Yelling at Digger, he jumped up and stopped after a couple of good rubs over a dead seal. Yep, that wasn’t a log, but a rotting corpse instead. Dogs are disgusting. Luckily the dead seal was pretty new, and wasn’t horribly stinky. Sue took Yoshi on leash away from me and Digger, I picked an enticing stick, and took him to the surf for a quick dip. I managed to get the stick and digger together right as a wave broke a couple times. It was funny to watch his reaction to a wave breaking over his head! In the end he was a little “fishy” smelling, but not too bad.

The drive home was pretty uneventful, but the lunch at Coombs was awesome! The OCM burger at the Old Country Market is wickedly good! That was our weekend, the next one is almost upons us!

Rathtrevor Sillines

This long weekend was a lot of fun. A large group of our friends went camping to Rathtrevor in Parksville. Most of us arrived Wednesday evening, only to discover that a campfire ban was going into effect at midnight. At least we got one campfire in.

our allowed campfire

On Thursday, the kids played themselves out,

so tired

and adults set up the camp.

setting up the right way

It was also prep time for dinner. What a fine West Coast feast it was!

mmmm, dinner west coast style

When it was bedtime, not everyone wanted to go to sleep.

who is the kid here?

Friday it was off to the beach.

the dogs leading the way

The dogs played while Little E got busy making us some mud pies.

Yoshi and Digger playing

making mud pies

We even found wildlife on the beach!

Rathtrevor wild life

Rathtrevor wild life

Unfotunately there was a wardrobe malfunction at the beach. 🙁

wardrobe malfunction

Back at camp there was some silliness, some snacks for dogs, and some napping.

 sillyness

 dog snacks

 nap time

All too soon the families had to pack up and go home!

 paking up the kidlets

It was a very fun weekend, but I didn’t relax as much as I have in past camping trips. Something about helping to tend to 3 dogs, 6 kids, and 9 adults that can be a lot of work. Enjoyable, but not necessarily relaxing. I look forward to doing it all again next year!

Other notes from the weekend:

– we could hear the Parksville fireworks from the campground, but couldn’t see any of them at all. we could also hear the crowd cheer after the finale
– some people drive way too fast in a campground that has lots of children.
– kids “sleeping” in tents still need supervision lest they find the makeup bag
digger really does live up to his name
– every kid deserves a wagon. I think every single kid we went camping with enjoyed the little red wagon that K brought with her

All the pics I took are here. There are a lot of them too!