Sunday, June 18, 2017

Big Bar Lake Camping, BC

The weekend began Friday.  4 and half hour drive up from Vancouver.  We set up in the early evening at site 25 in the Provincial Campground. We would have liked more privacy but our neighbours turned out to be awesome.
Gilbert and I like wilderness camping more.  Laura likes a hotel with bath and spa.
Gilbert was up each morning between 4 and 5 am. He wanted me to get up with him. I did by 5 am and was able to enjoy the campground alone.  Loons echoing on the lake.  Bald eagle flying above the trees.  Beautiful dawn and dusk. Pink clouds.
I loved getting the camping gear going.  New tent. North Face 4 man Meru.  MEC sleeping bags and Cabellas air mattresses.  I even found my Propane lantern and got a mantle set up and terrific reading light at night.
With the help of a neighbour I carried my Kevlar Clipper canoe down to the lake shore.  It was a touch steep and I'd feared wrenching my back carrying it overhead down that stretch.  My back isn't the stuff of the 20 year old who white water canoed Northern Manitoba and Ontario and portaged lake to lake with all his gear.  I still liked the exercise.  Hauling paddles and motor and life jacket and fishing gear dow to the boat.
I couldn't get the new Honda 2.3 HP motor working. I'd put the gas tank switch off on off mistakenly so of course it wouldn't start.  I finally figured out my error.  It was exciting to have the boat motoring along. I tried casting with the Shakespeare rod.  I tried trolling. The fish were not interested though others were catching.
Back at the camp I cooked bacon and scrambled eggs for Laura and me on the red Coleman propane stove.  I'd already made several cups of expresso .  The afternoon was spent walking Gilbert on leash about the campgrounds and reading novels on lawn chairs.  Real roughing it.
In the evening Saturday I went out again in the canoe.  I didn't catch any fish.  Looking back I saw storm clouds. We'd had thunder storms and lightning on Friday so I didn't want to be on the water. Getting back with the wind against me was a trial motoring without weight in the front of the canoe. Ashore I hauled the gear up to the truck. A neighbour youth helped Laura and me carry the canoe back up from where I'd put in. His mom joined in.  He even helped me load the boat on the truck. I was glad when Laura told me she'd 'rewarded him' with $5.
"I like to encourage young people that way." He really was a good guy.  There's some benefit to grey hair.
That night with the storm passing on the other side of the lake I fried up pork chops and cooked up potatoes. It was a feast for kings. Gilbert loved the pork chops too.
We had a great fire both nights and even in the morning.  A little gasoline helps as starter.  We were able to buy logs from the attendant and I had a long a little hatchet for splitting. Our neighbours had gone off with a chain saw and cut their own. It was their first time bringing an RV and they were enjoying it.  Laura was a little envious.  I could have brought mine but I would have had to clean out the excess winter weight. The fact is I've wanted to camp.  Maybe later in the summer I'll want to RV again. For now Laura is being a trooper.
"I know this is what Gilbert likes best." she said.
He really did like sleeping in the tent on the air mattress between us,  He had a great time during the day with the half dozen other dogs around us.  It was dog heaven. Provincial parks are leash only but in our bit of the world all the dogs were getting along and we let them all off leash for bits of the day.
Gilbert's  due for eye surgery for glaucoma on Tuesday with Dr. King so we both envisioned this as a special weekend for him. It really turned out that.
I'd been at the Celebration for Life for my dear friend Dr. George.  We're grieving.
I'd arranged for my AB hard bottomed inflatable and Honda 30 hp to be shipped by Jerry and Lloyd's on U Ship It to Hay Bay for Adell and the nephews to use. It would arrive on Father's day and I'd think my deceased brother would like that. Dr. Richard Cho another friend, chiropractor, motorcyclist and shooting instructor had died that week in a freak accident at a meet.  I m grieving and nothing like camping in the wonders of northern Canadian nature helps to soothe the wearied soul.
I even tried to swim but the water was still a bit too cold for more than the quickest dip.
Canoeing takes me back to cub scouts and boy scouts with my Dad and my brother Ron.  Later it would be Minaki Lake with Kirk,  Lake of the Woods with Miles and Frank and white water canoeing Winnipeg River with Jon.  Lots of nostalgia with a paddle and a canoe.  The little dog was a happy companion.
This morning we woke early to another lovely day.  Nature is God's church.  Gilbert and I walked in the back woods where I saw some old bear scat.  Then I made a fire and drank expresso watching the sun come up.  After that I loaded up the  Ford F350 2017 Lariat Truck with gear.  Laura would eventually rise and join me.  We enjoyed drinking expresso watching a chipmunk eating a bit of potato from last night's dinner.
We heard and saw the wood pecker.  Stuffing sleeping bags and rolling up air mattresses I complained the bags that come with air mattresses are always too small.  I  dropped the tent. Laura and I folded and packed it.  We were ready to go before 9 am.
On the drive out we actually saw a female moose. It walked across the road then ran across the field she saw I was trying to take her picture.
Cache Creek AandW we stopped for Gilbert's breakfast burger while Laura and I had the equivalents of Macdonalds Egg McMuffins.   I got a large coffee, double double, and really enjoyed the drive down with the beautiful northern scenery, pine forests and rolling green meadows, horses, cows and goats.  White capped mountain and blue skies. Then we passed alongside the raging Thomson River down through the canyon.
The rain hit at Abbotsford.  The last bit home was dreary and rainy but we were at the storage locker unloading before 3 pm then home shortly after. We'd completely missed the Sunday afternoon returning home rush hour.
Great weekend.  Great camping. Great canoeing.  Roughing it.  Got a call from Hay Bay saying the boat had arrived.  Good news. My engineer film maker nephew Graeme will get good use out of it this summer before he begins his phd program at U of T in the fall.
Laura has left in her little red Smart car. I've had soak in the hot tub. Every part of my body is aching with all the novel activity. I'm red faced from the sun.  I'm also thankful for  Deep Woods mosquito spray or I'd have a lot more bites that the few I do have.  Gilbert is sleeping after a whole lot of running around off leash and playing with a half dozen other dogs.
Big Bar Lake Provincial Campground really is a special place. I love the high cowboy countryside.  This is the first time I've camped at the Big Bar but I sure look forward to coming back.

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