“Mommy, why are you laying down to put on your pants?” I look at my daughter and respond that I am in a tent and that it is the only way to get dressed. Then I remember that we are in our family tent and my 6′ tall husband can easily stand up in it.
All of my camping adventures this summer have been in my little two-person hiking tent. I promptly stood up in our large tent that is like a mansion for 3 people, complete with a vestibule that we go into when it rains. I finished getting dressed and sat on my husbands cot. He glamps it up with comfort while his family “sleeps on the ground like peasants,” he jokes.
We ventured an hour and a half from home to Stephenfield Provincial Park for our first time visiting the park and campground.
My goal leading up to leaving for the overnight trip was to leave at a leisurely pace. I tend to stress myself out over details when I pack for trips. “Do I have this? Go get that! F**king hell, we forgot it!” I become irritated and frustrated and we end up leaving with everyone in huff.
I decided to change the way I approached this camping trip.
I woke up to the sound of my daughter coming out of her bedroom and not the sound of the all too common alarm clock. I decided not to set my alarm clock the night before and to “leave sometime in the morning.”
I made coffee and sat down at my dining room table. I stared out the living room window and watched geese puttering around the lake. I drank two cups of coffee and slowly woke up before starting tasks that needed to be done.
I am quite proud of myself because for the first time ever I did not over pack food. I learned that lesson the hard way while on the Appalachian Trail and I have taken that mindset over to base camping. This time around, we literally only came home with leftover crackers, one fruit strip, and some baby carrots. For the first time ever, I was not dealing with a random assortment of water logged food in the cooler. It was great.
We left “sometime in the morning” just as I wanted too and no one was in a huff. I treated myself to a Flat White from Starbucks for the drive out to the campsite. I am a self-proclaimed coffee snob. At he top of the camping multi-purpose bin that also contained a few non-perishable food items was Starbucks caramel ground coffee that I planned to make the following morning at camp.
“The secret of life is a good cup of coffee,” Faith Hill.
Cell service is minimal to non-existent at Stephenfield. At first I was a little annoyed with not having service because at times I am tied to my phone. I need to see what the Shiba Inu’s are posting about on Instagram! I had my Kindle, my husband had a math game and a couple of videos downloaded on his phone, and my daughter had her tablet with a few downloaded shows that she watched in the morning (while we drank coffee and woke up!)
While we were at the campsite, my daughter primarily sat in her big comfy camping chair or laid in the hammock and read. She is a spunky kid full of a lot of energy and we have explored the possibility of ADHD with her pediatrician and teachers.
She has entered an interesting phase this summer that I am paying attention to. She can mellow out and sit for longer periods of time and I have often found her sitting on the couch reading or playing quietly with her Barbies instead of literally bouncing off the walls. She has other traits of ADHD as well but I won’t get into it right now.
Seeing what she is capable of with focus gives me hope for a less chaotic school year coming up.
We spent most of our time riding bikes and walking along the trails that interconnect all through the park. Bays 1 – 4 are connected by trails which allowed us to take multiple short hikes throughout the day. We strolled through the woods for 2.5 km on Surviving the Harsh Climate. It was a fun little hike.
My daughter had a difficult time cycling because a lot of the paths are gravel, grass, or sand. She primarily rides on cement and her bike does not have adjustable gears to make the peddling easier on different kinds of terrain. Nevertheless, we jetted around as best we could to explore on bike.
The swimming beach is small and with a few large inflatable toys, the area became more crowded. I had thought about bringing a inflatable water toy for my daughter but I am glad I didn’t. Most of the water was full of motorized boats, jet skis, and kayaks. The playground is also right at the beach.
We really enjoyed our time at the campground and will return. I like that it is close to home for a quick overnight trip. The first thing my daughter said to me when I woke up on Sunday and saw her staring at me was, “I want to come back.” That sealed the deal. If you are in the area or just looking for a simple, family-friendly campground give Stephenfield a whirl.