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Canada Diary Part 6 – Our First Night Camping

Canada Diary Part 6 – Our First Night Camping

We said a sad goodbye to the beautiful city of Vancouver, but our hearts were brimming with excitement as we were heading East to the Canadian Rockies for the adventure of a lifetime.

 

Now we were amped to camp (as per Canada Diary Part 2) and decided to take the scenic route to Jasper and split the journey into 2 days, with one “practice camping session” along the way.

 

Our minivan was brimming to capacity with all of our luggage – tents, sleeping bags, cutlery, crockery, groceries and everything you could imagine we might need for a camping trip, courtesy of Rent-a-Tent Canada. We even had to borrow a roof bag to fit the mattresses and pillows.

In the minivan, amped to camp!

In the minivan, amped to camp!

When sourcing a place to camp, we settled on Salmon Arm campground as most of the others looked like they were smack bang on the edge of the highway. While having lunch in a very dodgy looking town called Merritt, I called to check availability and they said they had space, but it was next to the highway. That didn’t sound cool, so Mrs Google went to work and found another place which looked awesome and tranquil – Hidden Valley Campground, also in the town of Salmon Arm.

 

On arrival it looked so cute – life size statues of bears, elk and moose around the campground, a quaint little reception and shop and a friendly tattooed lady at reception. She allocated us camp site number 3, right next to the creek. When we pulled in, it looked like paradise – towering pine trees, a cute picnic table with log seating and lovely flat gravel area to pitch the tents.

Our picture perfect camping site

Our picture perfect camping site

The kids were super excited to set up camp and Luke took charge, reading the instructions and motoring through setting up everything, inflating the mattresses and getting the sleeping bags and pillows ready.

 

While we were setting up, I noticed a few things.

  1. Although it looked like we were in the middle of the wilderness, we were in fact directly below the highway. So close that there was a steady stream of insanely loud trucks and cars screaming by. “Oh dear” I thought, “I hope it quietens down a bit overnight”.
  2. We seemed to have landed ourselves right in the middle of hillbilly heaven. The place was crammed full of gigantic RVs and monster trucks. There were even a few Harleys and most of the men had beards flowing down their chests – the type that were there long before beards became fashionable. There were bottle blondes covered in tats and a hive of activity as campers filled up their RV water tanks and emptied their sewers.
  3. The tent next to us contained a mommy, daddy and cute little newborn baby. “Oh dear”, I thought again, “I hope the baby doesn’t squawk all night”.
  4. There were 2 blue portaloos, right across the creek, sitting silently and looking ominously uninviting.

We busied ourselves setting up and cooked some hot dogs for dinner then sat and admired our handiwork over a plastic glass of wine and a chilled Canadian Kokanee beer.

 

As light started to fade, we headed to our tents for the night ahead…

 

And what a very looooong night it was. The traffic did not cease. The cries of the little baby were not even audible over the grinding, zooming, droning lullaby of the trucks screaming past. All night long. Interspersed with a few trains on the track that we didn’t know was also just above us.

 

Ralph tossed and turned, bouncing me out of any tender slumber that I occasionally managed to grasp on our queen blow up bed.

 

In the dead of night, when all was still except our still screaming highway, one of my camping fears came true – I needed the loo. I unzipped our tent and crunched across the gravel, over the creek – shining my torch nervously around for eye shine. To the ominous blue boxes. Enough said. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got safely back to our little tent, all safely zipped up away from the elements, except our highway cacophony.

 

We dozed fitfully until around 6-30, then got up before everyone else (they sleep really late in Canada) and hightailed it to the washrooms where we beat the queue to put quarters in a meter for 2 minutes of hot water.

 

We woke up the kids, who were all miraculously sleeping like babies, oblivious to the constant roar above them. Bleary-eyed, bear-headed and bad-mooded, we packed up our campsite and hit the road. Due to our heavy heads, we were very bad bloggers and did not take any more photos of the campground.

 

Welcome to camping, I hear you chuckle.

Camping Meter 0

Happy Camper Meter

Yours in travel

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Did you miss the previous Canada Diary entries? Click below to catch up:

Canada Diary Part 5 – Falling in Love with Vancouver

Canada Diary Part 2 – Getting Amped

 

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