Princeton Municipal RV Park and Campground
We drove in late at night. We played on the way. Laura saw her new grandson. He’s grown so big that at 3 months he’s bigger than Laura. He’s talking up a storm in God language that humans forget as they devolve from the best it gets, babyhood. He’s got so much of the female attention that the bull mastiff dog has taken to bringing the neighbour’s garbage pail and garbage home, just bringing a single bag of garbage not getting the attention it once did before baby.
Then outside of Hope I saw a deer that made me pull off the road and stalk it till I could shoot it down a ravine. It was too far from the truck. I wasn’t thinking. I quartered it. With much weezing and groaning I hauled it all into the back of the truck.
When I was younger I carried the deer I shot on my shoulders. Later I dragged them. Now I quarter them. Soon I’ll just butcher the deer where I shoot it and carry the steaks up one at a time. After that I’ll have to phone ‘delivery deer’.
When I joined Laura in the truck again I was dripping in sweat. We pulled into the campsite just at dark.Jim and Karen and their chocolate toy poodle Sierra were happy to greet us. Karen gave us site 42 by the river with water and electricity and “a little beach of your own.” Laura loves that Karen and Jim keep the showers and washrooms so clean. “It’s so much nicer roughing it when you have really clean showers and washrooms”, she says.
The tent required NASA’s assistance to put it up. . It was developed by Coleman to assist refugees sneaking into Canada through the northern wilderness. You wouldn’t believe a tent could hold a small nation. It could, but it takes NASA’s assistance to get it up. Laura gave it her best shot.
Around midnight with left over poles pegs and pieces of tent we finished. Thanks to the Ford Ranger’s fusion battery powered lights we could see our accomplishment. To celebrate we ate canned chilli, gourmet style. We cooked it in a pot rather than eating it cold from the can. Then we collapsed in our sleeping bags. The huge air mattress deflated. It must have a leak. I’d bought the Canadian tire electric car lighter inflater on the way and even that hadn’t impressed the mattress. We had to fall back to the Mountain Coop self inflating thin mattresses. We were nearly sleeping on the ground. More roughing it.
Our neighbours all had homungous castle campers deposited on site by logging helicopters freed up from the Iraq war for just their use. They pitied us as they looked out their windows at our tent while watching their wall size tvs and whacking back multiple martinis.. We were the neighbourhood people everyone needs to feel good about their own good fortune. I anticipated the ladies coming by in the morning and bringling Laura cast off blankies and baked biscuits. She’d no doubt regale them with what it was like to stay in a tent as they shook their heads and sighed in sympathy. “We have perfectly good homes in Barbadoes, Los Angeles, Paris and Istanbul while Harold insists we rough it in this million dollar camper that doesn’t even have servant’s quarters, can you believe it! “
I believe I’ve always hated 5 am. I had the electric heater on in the tent but it was still nippy. Electric heaters were part of my new older person idea of ‘roughing it’, like running water and showers and bathrooms. My clothes were all over the place because God didn’t give me a personal valet. Servants are wasted on the rich. I could get better use out of one especially shivering in underwear looking for flannel shirts and khaki pants. Putting on socks and boots and lacing boots then strapping on the utility belt with knives and ammo exhausted me.
The stars were out. Laura was sleeping. I couldn’t be bothered making my own coffee. Thank God for Starbucks cold Cappucinos. Only then, fully dressed, I realize I now had to use the washroom. It was a city block away. And you can’t trust at fart at 5 am after Starbuck’s coffee.
Eventually ,wearing motorcycle armour, helmut and gloves, my rifle slung over my back. I started the ignition switch. The Honda CRF 230 purred into action. I was off.
The logging trails are about 10 miles from the camp. I got to ride along on asphalt at 100 k till I got there.. I became an icycle at that speed and became grossly aware I’d not factored windchill into my clothing decisions. My teeth were seizuring by the time I slowed for the turn off. The sky was a glow in the east. I couldn’t shoot anything in this light if I wanted. I could have stayed in bed another hour. It took that long to stop shaking and shivering so I might have a decent aim. I was frozen driving about logging roads till the sun came over the hills. It’s warmth was amazing. Who would have thought a little orb like that could give off such heat. I’m all for global warming.
After hiking a bit, I was too chilled to sit and wait for game, I got back on the bike and immediately a grouse appeared. I almost crashed stopping . Then I had to get the helmut off to get the rifle free,, I was choking myself with the strap caught on the helmut. Then I had to find the ammo and load. Thankfully the grouse was patient and I shot it’s head off as it wasn’t using it. The rest was food.
Now I had a grouse. The sun was out and I could see it was a beautiful day. All pine and spruce with arid patches of scrub and sand. It was 10 am.
I liked 10 am. I’ve always liked 10 ams. Much better to drive around on logging roads thawed.
I never did see any deer, moose or bear. The lone grouse was the only game I’d shoot that day.
But cans were a different matter. I killed a caboodle of cans with the new rifle. That’s what one does with a new rifle. This Mossberg 30-30 was a jewel. Maybe the grouse I shot had been a lucky shot. Better practice more before the bear comes along. More excuses to shoot cans.
When I got back to the campsite I was considering leaving because even though I had deboned the deer quarters and put it all on ice in the cooler I was concerned about the meat.
Karen offered to lend us her freezer for that and I gave her grouse in ex change. We’d stay another night. Karen also told me there’s a wild game butcher out 5 mile way. Karen and Jim are definitely country folk. They’ve been so long without Walmarts and 7 – 11 ‘s that they don’t know how to give decent directions in a civilized way. Instead of saying the butcher is around the corner from the 7-11 they use this country folk communication using km or miles. It’s sad but kind of quaint hearing them talk that way. They were always so helpful telling us where to find people and places in the neighbourhood.
When I got back to the tent the upper class RV folk had left brochures of various RV’s the way evangelists leave their religious tracts on doorsteps in the city. They obviously thought we could be saved.
Another day hunting I slept in till the sun was up. It was much easier that way and less likely I’d get game and have to haul it back. I buzzed all over the backroads at the highest speed I could go without having panic attacks. When the tunnel vision began to obscure the road I’d back off on the throttle and found the chest pain let up some. I didn’t see any game partly because I shot every beer can I found on the trails. Tends to discourage game from being neighbourly and welcoming you over for tea. All that shooting and noise making. I know they recommend you pick other peoples garbage up as well as your own but I thought pulverizing it with holes would help the ecology even if I left the remains where they were
Not having seen anything thus far I remembered my old hunting dog used to roll around in dead fish and cow dung and such to conceal his smell. I happened upon a bunch of bear shit so figured I’d just roll around in that. Left me fairly pungently disquised if I say so myself.
When I got back Laura told me the showers were really clean here and suggested I might enjoy them. Normally you’d let the bear shit age over night in the sleeping bag but I was feeling some aches and pain so welcomed the hot water shower.
After that I went over to Princeton Outfitters. Ron and Loretta were there as usual. They'd sold me all the great all weather cammo gear I use years ago so I know they know their stuff. Another year he gave me the right lure the fish were biting on when everything I had wasn't getting rejected like they were all teen ager fish.
I had earlier tried to convince Ron that the deer tag he sold me was ‘refundable’ but he insisted that was just not the case. Seemed to me “refundable game licenses” would make his store even more popular than it was.. The thing I dropped by to tell him was that as he sold deer piss as scent for disguise, he ought to sell soap that smelt like bear shit. He seemed to take that suggestion as seriously as my ‘refundable” licenses but was glad enough to sell me another thousand rounds of 30 30 170 grain ammo just in case I came across anything threatening. He’d put the strap on my Mossberg that made it real easy to carry.
After I came back at noon from hunting, Laura made up breakfast and then we sat around in the sun for the afternoon, looking at the river and the forest around. A couple of deer came into the campsite to visit but didn’t have horns so I didn’t welcome them as I might otherwise. Laura thought they were so cute. A killer by the name of Ron moved in next to us and began trying to murder fish but he had to get them to take hold of his hand made flies first. They seemed suspicious of his generosity with his trojan horse flies and didn’t come out to be murdered. After that we got to talking about shotguns and dynamite and other ways people have fished. The conservation guy had told Ron that people caught a lot of fish in this river but he’d not specifically said they’d used flies and fly rods. I did think that he might want to speak to Karen and Jim about blowing up the river and catching fish that way.
In the evening I went out hunting again, or rather, dirt biking and can killing. Then I’d come in and we’d barbecue wieners over the fire I made with wood and gasoline. I love how those gasoline fires just poof into a blaze. Makes you jump back awful fast though. Laura left the firelighting to me. I let off a cherry bomb firecracker too and that got a bored dog barking half the night. We sat there eating hot dogs looking at the stars and listening to that dog barking. It was idyllic.
When the chill got on we climbed into the heated tent and read with the electric light bulb I rigged up.
The only problem was we eventually had to leave. It took a whole morning to pack the truck then we took the backways Lawless Road home to avoid going through Manning Park where they frown on hunting. Besides the eco terrorists were holding a rally there trying to save the Pine Beatles they’d communed with when they were tying themselves to the trees they were spiking.
We’d had a great time at the Princeton Municipal RV and Campground. Jim and Karen sure did make us feel welcome even if they didn't know how to tell directions like city folk do.
As we pulled into Vancouver dodging crack addicts walking around on Hastings, the Pepper Pot band was playing Joni Mitchell's "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot." I just had to open my window and suck in all that polluted air my body had been craving. Good to be back in the wilds.