Thursday, July 09, 2015

Beaver Flat on a Wednesday

Last summer we had a great time camping at Fisher Creek campground on a Monday night, as we had the campsite essentially to ourselves (a great time besides Katie burning Scott's finger with a burning stick and us leaving in the middle of the night). I had researched a whole bunch of campsites near Calgary and decided that our first summer camping trip of 2015 would be to Beaver Flats, in the Elbow Valley in Kananaskis.

In preparation for this year's campaign, I got a new pop-up tent that would make any late-night evacuations simple, plus I got a new -5C sleeping bag for Scott, so we wouldn't have to wrap him in 3 layers of sleeping bags for those cool mountain nights. The kids were so excited for the trip that they started counting down the days and kept getting out their sleeping bags to slide down the stairs (until Katie finally toppled down the stairs upside down in her bag and we put an end to it). The day of the trip they spent the afternoon playing at the spray park with friends, which Katie said was the best day ever. We quickly changed them from their swim suits to some shorts and t-shirts and loaded them in the car.

[In the lull between episodes of Paw Patrol on the tablet]
S: Where are we?
D: We are are about half-way there.
S: Are we still in Calgary?
D: No. We left Calgary. We are in Kananaskis.
K: Do the people speak English here?
D: Uh, yes. Yes they do.
K: Oh. Okay.
S: Are we still in Canada?
D: Yes. We aren't that far from home, kids. This isn't even as far as the Nakiska ski hill we go to.
S: Oh. Okay.
[Paw Patrol starts again]

We found a great walk-in campsite right along the river, where the sound of the water drowned out any vehicle noise. A deer was grazing in the woods nearby, and the night was perfectly still and clear. We roasted hotdogs for dinner and the kids kept themselves busy roasting sticks in the fire as I attempted to make campfire brownies baked inside an orange peel. I had learned this trick from my Mom when she was my Blazer Scout leader many years ago, I have tried to replicate it at least one other time since then -- always with disappointing results. Originally, we had used chocolate cake mix, and I found that expanded too much and blew out the orange and I overcooked it too. So this time I used brownies instead and I pulled them off perhaps sooner than I should have. Instead of an overcooked puffy cake mess, this time I had an undercooked gooey brownie mess. It was actually pretty delicious, but it was a literally a hot mess. The kids weren't too interested in it (Katie stated that she officially hates brownies), so I ended up eating most of it. They were happy just roasting marshmallows and sticks and generally having a grand time in their new surroundings -- especially Katie. She said, "This is the best day ever! I keep having the best days, all in the same day!"

I had found an old-school mesh hammock in the clearance bin at Canadian Tire, so I threw that in with the gear and we tried to set it up. Unfortunately, I had few ropes to work with and I am terrible with knots anyway, so it wasn't the perfect set-up. The kids could get in it, but my weight would send it crashing to the ground. Later on, when R saw the pictures from our trip she asked Scott if I had bought a hammock. He said yes. When she asked why, Scott said, "Don't ask me, I'm not a hammock master!"

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