My eyes are crumby and my fleece jacket is pockmarked with burn holes. My hair smells like cedar plank salmon. The air is cold but heavy with morning breath. The orange walls that cocoon me are slick with condensation. Droplets flick onto me as my husband struggles to get comfortable on the leaky air mattress. I am wearing every piece of mismatched fleece clothing I own. I blink a few more times, wondering how I happened to fall asleep inside a pumpkin when it hits me, this Princess is camping!
Being the only female in a house of boys, there are some things I simply don’t do, like taking out the garbage, killing insects, and until yesterday, camping. I simply adore my king size bed, my snore-reducing pillow and my down duvet. But somehow, I got tricked into taking my boys camping this year. They are 5, 7 and 10 years old, and I guess I simply ran out of excuses to deny them, as my husband puts it, the ultimate Canadian experience.
Nature calls suddenly as it does in 40+ year old women and I struggle to sit up and move onto all fours toward the “front door” of the tent, causing my husband to pitch into the center of the mattress in the process. He moans in protest. I unzip the inner tent and then the outer tent, and voila, I pop out head first into the wilderness, fervently hoping that I don’t see a bear at the picnic table. The coast is clear and my bladder nearly bursting, so I do my best Charlie Chaplin impersonation to the bathroom one campsite away.
Making my way back to the campsite, I encounter a few fellow bedraggled campers. Eager to hide the most heinous morning breath (didn’t brush after those s’mores last night, did I?) and spectacular bed hair imaginable, I mumble good morning and scurry back. It’s just after 6AM, an ungodly hour for pleasantries, but those damn Blue Jays are awake and so are we. But thank goodness for my Mom and Dad, they’ve got the fire roaring already!
It has rained all night as the small lake by the foot of our tent will attest and the flat style tarp roof my husband Macgyver’d out of bungees and plastic sheeting served only to collect a good amount of rain before the tree bough gave way, loudly dumping it’s load every 5 minutes or so. But my kids loved it, splashing about as if their Dad had given them their very own waterpark. Thanks again to my Mom and Dad as soon everyone is happily munching on croque monsieurs and I’ve splashed some Baileys into my coffee, and so the world is good again.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We are at Green Point campground in the Pacific Rim National Reserve, just outside of Tofino, British Columbia. Perched on very edge of the Pacific Ocean, it is a paradise to many – surfers, artists, foodies, whale-watchers and yes, virgin campers.
I think this must be what heaven must look like.