Now these may look like normal family camping trip photos to the average blog reader. But to me, they are proof of a triumph over adversity!
Maybe adversity isn't the right word. Triumph over our inner perfectionist! Triumph over the "you're doing it wrong" voice! Triumph over mind-numbing anxiety!
Yeah, I'll just go with adversity.
Our first attempt at camping was back in July and while we loved it, we were sort of overwhelmed with the learning curve and came back exhausted. Plus I didn't bring enough warm clothes for the cool night and shivered my way through most of the weekend. Plus the anxiety of we're sleeping outside! With the kids! In a remote park in the middle of nowhere! Surrounded by strangers! Oh friends, I spent so much time praying, asking for peace and to please not be murdered on my many trips to the bathroom.
This time we shared a site with Stéphane's parents and they were all set up when we got there AND they had dinner organized for us! Hooray! Stéphane and his Dad put our tent up in about half the time it took the first time while I took the girls to the playground. Easy.
We had time to actually do some fun camping stuff and also do nothing. Not pictured: roasting marshmallows because GET MY PHONE AWAY FROM THAT STICKY MESS and I was busy wiping hands for about an hour.
Stéphane totally mastered the fire pit and we got to have lots of sitting around the fire time once the kids were asleep.
Everybody slept well except me, I was cold again. But hey! No anxiety!
I was a little worried on the first night when the people across from us started up a singalong just as we were coaxing the kids to sleep. My heroic husband eventually half-jokingly asked them if they knew any lullabies and they hastily finished their set. Sorry! Party pooper alert!
Our campsite was about an hour outside the city and, no joke, had a Tim Horton across the street. Thank goodness because guess who forgot our coffee mugs? (me) $10 later, BOOM. Tim commuter mugs for our camping kit.
It's right on this little lake so it's perfect for kids.
I can't remember the last time I saw a lilypad. They're so purty.
On Saturday night there was a big ol' shindig up at the main entrance. It was cool because lots of people were hanging out up there so it was pretty quiet down by our tent. I was picturing a nice, peaceful bedtime. But Liliane and her new friend (staying in one of the many obnoxious RVs surrounding us) wanted to go check out the dance party so I scrapped my plan of trying to get Alice to bed by myself and we all went.
Picture this: a roaring bonfire at least two storeys high. I could hear it crackling and hissing well before we actually saw it. Campers of all ages were burning up the covered dance floor under the watchful eye of this crumbling yet clearly beloved Elvis statue. Liliane and her pal immediately got their groove on while Stéphane and I hung back with Alice. Her eyes were wide and she got very quiet as she took in the towering inferno, flashing lights, loud music and, of course, Elvis himself.
She cautiously got down from her perch in Stéphane's arms after a few minutes and by the time Footloose came on, she was tearing it up with the best of them, turning around every few minutes to so to make sure that Elvis wasn't going anywhere. She and I watched in amazement as Shania Twain organized everybody into a line dance. Dang, those people are COORDINATED. The lines dissolved as quickly as they were created when Pump Up the Jam took over.
"I don't remember any campsites with dance parties when I was a kid," I said to Stéphane as we walked down the hill back to our tent about an hour later.
"Every Saturday night pretty much. Welcome to camping in Quebec!"
Indeed. Is this really just a cultural thing? This site has a 11PM curfew which people mostly respected although we could hear the thumping music (Wow, they're doing Shook Me All Night Long! Again!) until sometime before midnight. But eventually it was completely quiet, the stars were out and apart from the occasional frog or bird, the only sound breaking the peaceful silence was the chattering of my teeth.
I am definitely in the market for a new sleeping bag.
To sum up: we had fun, we definitely appreciated sharing our space with the grandparents who made everything easier. (Merci beaucoup!) We enjoyed the atmosphere of this private campground as opposed to a provincial park but felt a little squeezed by all the RVs. (Why would I want to see much less smell your sewage pipe? SO EWWW.) The disadvantage of being in such close proximity to everyone is that it's not super quiet. On the other hand, Orford was quiet because the sites were really isolated BUT both nights we had closeby loud talkers carrying on until the wee hours despite the 11PM curfew.
I think next time we'll try and find something between the two. More experienced camping readers, help me out: what is the official camping etiquette? There is curfew but no one respects it? Some people respect it but it's not enforced? Where are the best places to take kids whose mothers are overly obsessed about not being kept awake all night?
Thank you in advance. I am going to go hide the leftover Nutella now.