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Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Memorable Camping Experience

When I last posted I was off to enjoy a week of camping and knitting in Haliburton.

The knitting with Fiona Ellis was inspiring, invigorating and extremely enjoyable.

The camping in Haliburton was... say the least.

I will tell you about the workshop and the incredible Fiona next time.
This time...camping....
On Sunday we arrived at our camp ground in good spirits and with great plans.

We were informed that a black bear had been visiting the camp site in the evenings and if we observed the bear etiquette (do not corner it and do not get between a mother and its cub) we should be OK. Bears are shy of humans and will not attack if not put in a position to defend themselves.

Then I asked why there was a great big hole in the ground beside the main office. I was told that this was the last year they would be operating as a campground and that construction on the model for the cottages that would be for sale next year was under way.

I says to myself..." OK...Bears and construction....We can deal with this."

So on we go to our assigned campsite to pitch the tents. Jim to pitch the two sleeping tent and the children and I to pitch the Kitchen tent. Things went well for us for about 20 minutes. Then while pounding in the Kitchen tent stakes Patrick hits a water line. Water starts gushing up from the ground like oil flooding our campsite. The problem was reported and fixed within a half and hour. Whew. We finish setting up, have a bit of play time and supper. Ah the good outdoors life!

Once darkness started to fall we lit a camp fire and got out our marshmallows to roast.

And settled in for a relaxing evening. (The knitting project bag there on my chair is all you will see of knitting in this post.)

The children had eaten a good half a dozen marshmallows when we heard a fellow camper yell, "BEAR". We turned around and there it was lumbering across the open game field. Probably about 4 feet high on all fours. We picked up the bag of marshmallows and high tailed it to the kitchen tent, realized that having marshmallows was not a good thing so Jim ran and locked it in the car while the bear was across the camp ground.

After standing in the kitchen tent for about a half hour watching this bear amble around we decided that we would forgo our nightly ablutions and rushed into our sleeping tents to tremble unseen by the bear.

Then the Thunderstorms started. Loud, Loud, Loud thunder and blinding lightning and a bear wandering around. Compounded with one leaking tent. Sleep? Not much.

Day one.... Water, bear and thunderstorms.

Day two...Construction, early to bed before the bear arrived,rain.

Day three....Bear wanderings, I get stung by a wasp two times while on a late night bathroom visit so lie awake afraid I am going to swell up like a balloon or stop breathing or be eaten by bear.

Day four...Construction, early to bed again before the bear,Thunder storm (with a tornado watch in effect)
We find out on this day that the resort that is right next door to our campground has three garbage dumpsters that never get closed . Up to eight bears visit them nightly. We also find out that some idiot in our campground did not dispose of his food correctly so the visiting bear has had a feast of steak and corn and cookies and strawberries. The bear is sure to keep coming back.

Day five....We awake to find damage done to our kitchen tent by the bear. We left a bar of soap in the tent he smelled it and investigated. After Rhea and I go off to our day of fun and learning Jim finds claw marks on the top of the tent as well. Yes, standing up the bear is about 8 feet tall.

Jim is a practical man and had had enough. He booked us into a motel for our last evening in the area. The only room left was a room with a hot tub right beside the heated pool. We cleared out our stuff but left the tents standing for the night. We spent the night relaxing and learning to laugh about the tense last four nights.

Ahh Beds.

Day five...Jim and Patrick went to break camp while Rhea and I went off to our last day of fun and found a further damaged kitchen tent.
We will have to throw it out.
Thank the gods we were not there.

To summarize: Construction, broken water pipe, bears,wasp stings, thunderstorms, tornado watch, tent damage.

We took a more camping for us.


Judy said...

Wow, what a nightmare!!! Very brave of you to stay even one night. One whisper of the "b" word and i would have been outta there.Glad you are all safe and now you have a great story to tell. Cant wait to hear about the rest of the trip.

Judy said...

I told Nana and Papa the story. He says he wants just the "bear" facts.. How's that for corn?

Anonymous said...

Now I understand why your not a camper!
ttys Louise

Dorothy said...

Amen! That is how camping usually goes for me too although I have not had the misfortune of a bear as yet. I usually get the drunk party people next to me and all the rain, soaking and screaming children at the crack of freakin' sunup. There may even be a deflating air mattress and a nasty sour milk incident or two thrown in just for giggles.

Cathy said...

Oh, that is scary! I'm sorry your camping trip wasn't a success. You have reaffirmed my position that roughing it is getting a hotel room that is cheaper than the Hilton.