Updated: Mar 8
So just recently Brian and I took a trek up in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. To get to our campsite we had to paddle 30 minutes, then portage 45 minutes and then another 15 minute paddle. Not too long compared to our last years camping trip.
.. but this year we had the elements against us, and they won- we got rained out. I literally can't even believe I left a camping trip- I have officially gone soft! Baha!
Finally back to land, and post final swim, it was actually the happiest moment to be hitting the road back to Hamilton.
Let me share with you about this year's 3 STRIKE SYSTEM that pulled the string!!!
3 Strike System
Gypsy Moth caterpillars
End of the world thunderstorm
Bull frogs, bears & wolves
Due to the likelihood of rain, we were already on the fence about cancelling our booking. So we devised a genius plan, called 'the 3 strike system', to encourage us to listen to the signs from the universe and come back home if there was enough evidence against us continuing- 3 strikes.
When Brian proposed this, I literally LAUGHED in his face- because I am so tough and such an experienced camper that theoretically nothing could pull me out of the deep woods once I allotted time to spend in them..
-boy was I full of it! XP
Lily pads are my fav- FLOATING FLOWERS! :o
STRIKE 1 ~ Gypsy moths
So the gypsy moth caterpillar infestation ate all the leaves in the forest making a summer camping trip appear to be like the end of fall. I might be imagining it, but I swear it impacted the smell of the forest. I couldn't put my finger on it when we first arrived, but I didn't understand why the forests looked so sad. This year we had chosen a campsite right near the border of the provincial park border to reduce travel time, so I somehow attributed the fact we weren't that deep into uninhabited land to be reflecting in the health of the trees.
I remember saying to Brian- "man I miss being deep in the woodlands, our forests are looking sadder every year". However once getting to our campsite and caterpillars were dropping on my head I put 2 and 2 together.. it was the caterpillars had decimated the canopy.
STRIKE 2 ~ End of the world thunderstorm
For a person who has lived in tents for full summers at a time, I have actually only experienced a handful of intense thunderstorms that have shook me. Most of them I endured in the shelter of a tent city of more than 20 or more tents to share the experience, terror and ample tarps as protection. This was NOT that experience. lol.
We chose our spot right, but did not think the rain was going to hit too toooo hard.
We set up the tarps well, had them angled, tied down and even made a little shelter for our firewood to keep it dry for future fires to come. (This backfired however!)
Laying down in the tent reading with the fly off, we could hear the thunder in the distance booming, but our sky was clear.
We must of dozed off a little because next thing I hear is this giant "WHOOOSSSH", we both bolt up, look out to see a horizonal rain wall flying across the water, instantly pouring into our tent. We run outside, quickly pulling the fly to cover our tent, and then just like that we are both back inside, drenched head to toe laughing.
At first it was all fun and games, kind of cool, the gods screaming at us from above but then the wind was so mighty it ripped our tarp to shreds. Tarps blowing in the sky like a flag in the wind, loud as can be, completely exposing us to the torrential downpour.
I mean our tent isn't that bad, so shouldn't of been the end of the world, EXCEPT, we had mistakenly left a piece of our under tarp as a platform for our firewood......... and now without the tarp as a shelter, the under-tarp was an access point for a steady stream of water to flow under our tent. Perfect!
Laying there I'm like "Brian, I feel water".. yep, I could visually trace as our tent began to float on top of a puddle.
The mat that was supposed to separate us from the damp forest floor was now a saucer to catch the water, LOL.
There was nothing we could do because the rain was insane, so we just attempted to rest on what was now becoming a waterbed.
It thunder stormed all night long.
STRIKE 3 ~ Bullfrogs, bears & wolves
Eventually in the middle of the night the intense raining slowed, so we went outside and dumped the puddle from the bottom of our tent. At least things could begin to dry!
I am happy that the ecosystem is happy and there are active animals, however at this point we were so tired and uncomfortable that some peace and quiet would have been LOVELY.
Have you ever been in a forest that just endured a rainfall? It's pretty noisy! The echoing of raindrops in the distance is persistent, creaking and cracking, enough to drive a gal wild!
Every squirrel and chipmunk sounds identical to bears and wolves licking at your tent- I swear! hahaha. Yes I was being super paranoid and acting absolutely ridiculous. But it was scary.
To top it all off, there were these bullfrogs that would not give it a rest! Their chatter was like that constant snoring you can't get out of your head when you are trying to sleep. It was brutal!
Brian and I immediately agreed we were leaving in the morning after breakfast and a swim. Did I mention the next 3 days had rain in the forecast- no thank you!
There was so much rain we had to use my MSR isobutane foldable camping stove. For coffee & breakfast.
Anyhoo, that is the end. Round 1 camping this year was a total flopshow. Better luck next time!
All I can sum from this is the following learning points for reference:
Learn caterpillar recipes before heading out into an infestation
Don't be a muppet and always fold your under tarp properly no matter what type of rain you are expecting
Don't listen to too many spooky stories before sleeping in a forest or chipmunks will terrify you
Thanks for reading,
-Samantha & Brian.