At the end of a much needed family vacation,we decided to do ONE last camping trip before heading home – Well’s Gray Provincial Park near Clearwater BC. It is a beautiful area of Canada, the land of heavy treed forests, bears and waterfalls. We were so excited as we had tried to camp there 2 years ago but my husband with a back issue and me with a cranky attitude decided to cancel and try again another time.
That time was this year, no cancelling. We were going, come hell or high water. Not even a fire ban was going to stop us!
We packed up from my parents place in Kamloops (hi mom!) and headed out early on a Thursday morning. We stopped off in Clearwater for a fantastic lunch then we started up the mountain for a 67 km drive to our home for the next 3 nights.
The drive was twisty and turny (I don’t think that is a real word). It was a beautiful scenic drive and we all admired the creativity of God. The deep canyons, majestic river views, ranch land and some amazing colours of green! More twists, more turns, concrete roads turn into gravel and the crunching of the trailer hitting yet another pot hole and we start wincing. My husband turns to me and says “This drive is quickly losing it lustre, love.” I smile up at him with my best “this is an awesome adventure” smile and say “It will all be worth it”.
We finally arrive… And for the two hours we actually stayed, I am not sure the drive WAS worth it.
It was raining, but true to form in the mountains, it was pouring and sunshiny all at the same time. It really didn’t last that long either, just enough to make the forest around us sparkle like emeralds. By the time the trailer’s tank was filled with water, the rain quit and we found our reserved spot. Our camp site backed onto the Clearwater River which lived up to it’s name… It was CRYSTAL clear. I was imagining that I would be listening to the rushing water as it lulled me to sleep later that night. AND the momma in me was very happy because there was a fence behind our site so my curious (and clutzy) children couldn’t accidentally get too close!
Life was good!
We started our set up by taking a few things out of the tent trailer and then begin to do the “pop up” process. When the trailer was about half way up, there was a loud “BANG” and one side of the trailer fell. I yelled a very,very bad word (kids had been taking the dog for a walk, thank goodness) and my hubby just stopped and stared.
Finally collecting himself he starts to put the top back down, kind of like the reset button. Maybe if we start at the beginning, this won’t happen again. But of course, that didn’t work… Only 1 of 4 sides was popping up.
At this point I knew – but my husband doesn’t like to give up too easily. He has the four corners being held up by firewood that we couldn’t use in the fire pit and pulls more stuff out so he can open up panels and see if he can fix the problem. I wanted to tell him to give up (he is not a handy man even at the best of times) but I let him have it. Eventually he too gave up.
Now this is where I try to get creative… On the fly.
We can’t camp because we have nowhere to sleep. We are now pushing in at 5:00pm and my kids are getting hungry and we have at least a one hour of twisty, turny (there is that word again) road to travel to get to the nearest town. And more to the point, even though we were at the end of our vacation, no one wanted the adventure to be over.
So… Plan B.
I packed our whole life in this trailer, never imagining we wouldn’t have access to it. So while we had it semi available, I pulled clothes and a bit of food so we could manage until the next morning and we quickly packed up the rest of the stuff and headed back down the mountain.
We saw a guest ranch on our travels up the mountain and upon remembering this, my lovely imagination was sparked. I had visions of the next day exploring all the falls in the area, a couple hours at the beach where we had originally planned to camp, horse back riding and all while staying at a beautiful ranch with log cabins, and a restaurant. Yippee, holiday rescued!
The ranch did have a restaurant (which only served breakfast – which we missed because when they said they opened at 8:00am they actually meant that breakfast was served only at 8:00 and closed at 9:00a). And they did have a few cabins – which were full. And lots of camping sites were available – which were useless to us. BUT they did have a bunkhouse that slept 8! That would be perfect.
Only it was way more rustic then my romantic brain pictured! It was honestly a shack with 4 homemade bunk beds (yes, we all slept in our very own bunk) with thin, thin mattresses. We were blessed that they provided us with a bottom sheet and luckily we could squeeze inside the folded up tent trailer to get pillows and blankets, and a flashlight. We rustled up sausages from the cooler (which we ate with chips because I had no access to a stoves, pots or side dish options), went for a walk to look at the horses and buffalo, crawled into our bunks and read our family book Percy Jackson (The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan) and went to bed.
Back aches and missing breakfast aside, we creatively made lemonade when we had lemons. It wasn’t the best tasting lemonade, but it worked and allowed us to adventure for another day. The kids had no idea that I was feeling dejected and sad about our failed plans. To be honest the bunkhouse would have been cool if we had access to all the camping supplies. After one night though, we were done, packed up, and headed for home.
We were blessed with our vacation as a whole though. We saw a Great Horned Owl, 2 Osprey nests complete with babies and a deer went right through our 1st campsite. We did some SUPing, swam in clear warm lakes and spent time with an Auntie who came to see us from Toronto (hey Heather!) swam in Nana and Grampa’s pool at there house (which is also where we saw the world’s biggest spider) AND we got to spend time with two aging great grandmothers that we are always so grateful to spend one more visit with. We really couldn’t have done it any better!
But no it is back to reality, and back to work – at least for my hubby! Someone is going to have to pay for the trailer repairs!!