Jack took a very precious set of days off bookending her usual midweek weekend so that we could go camping as a family, which we don’t get to do often enough what with her working full time and us saving up her holidays to go away in the winter when the blahs hit hard.
After careful deliberation chose Lakeside Campground at Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park near Harrison. It tends to be a little less busy because the vastly more popular Hicks Lake is nearby, and also there is a swimmer’s itch warning posted by the boat launch. And no doubt. That part of the lake has a lot of geese pooping and partying at the shore. But a short walk to the south there is a rocky beach and once you’re in the swimming is lovely! We’ve never had any itchies afterwards either. But then, we’re pretty brave when it comes to swimming in pretty much anything bigger than a pond. One of our favourites is Mosquito Lake near Pemberton, which is another smallish lake with a bit of a murky shore, but crystal clear waters once you’re out ten feet. Blissful, freshwater swimming. Love it.
Anyway, we trekked out there, singing songs in the car, stopping at Timmy’s, and one last grab for a couple of things at the grocery store in Chilliwack before wending our way into the park and finding our most excellent spot.
The kids took off on their run bikes for the playground, and Jack followed them while I set up camp. Up went then tent. Out went the chairs. Arranged the outdoor kitchen. Happily putzed around until they came back in search of swim gear.
All this time, Esmé looked a wee bit piqued. She’d had a funny tummy a couple of days before, as did I, but we’d both been fine for a day or so. And anyhow, she was the first one changed into her swimsuit, and so off we went to the swimmable side of the lake.
When we came back a couple of hours later, she had to use the bathroom. Again. And again. We soldiered on, hoping she’d turn a corner. We built a fire, roasted wieners and marshmallows, and thought about getting ready for bed.
But by then Esmé was moaning and groaning and flat on her back in the tent on the blow-up bed. Jack and I wondered how the night would go what with needing to get out of the tent and hustle down the dirt road in the dark to the pit toilet at the edge of the forest. Which seemed VERY far away, all of a sudden.
We quietly made an executive decision. We both decided we would far rather be in our own beds near a real toilet if we were the ones who felt so poorly. We remembered when we were in Tofino, sick as dogs, and wanted so badly to be home. Well, this time, we could do that much. So we quickly broke camp, threw everything in the car and headed home.
I’ll admit that I cried, for the family vacation that wasn’t. But really, it was. We had a lovely day at the lake, and three more days with Jack all to ourselves. We made the best of what turned into a fabulous stay-cation. And Esmé got to enjoy the comforts of home while she was sick, which is worth more than a few nights together in a tent. Although that’s quite wonderful too.
We’ll try again, soon. We have Porteau Cove in our sights, thanks to our friends Pam and Robyn who reserved a spot there months ago and have offered to share their waterfront real estate with us for free after we forfeited our camping fees at Lakeside. It’s a shame there are no exceptions to the no refund policy. Especially for a very sick kid. But it was worth it to be home, no matter the cost.