I went camping with my girlfriend this weekend at Narin Falls. It was pretty awesome. We went up on Friday night, and came back Sunday afternoon. Overall, it was a blast.
We arrived around 9pm, and set up the tent. We realized that we wanted to have a fire, so I drove into Pemberton – about 2km away. When I got back, I got to work getting the fire going. I used my new Ka-Bar knife to chop up some of the wood into tinder and kindling using the baton method. It’s the first time I’ve used anything other than an axe to cut wood, and it worked really well! Once I had some tinder and kindling, I got to work lighting the fire. Before we left, I created some fire starters using cotton balls and vasoline. With a few sparks from my (also brand new) fire steel, it lit up like a match, and I got the fire started without any problems. I was a bit worried that I’d have issues with the cotton balls and/or the fire steel and would have to resort to the matches I brought along, but everything worked out really well!
Once the fire was up and going, my girlfriend and I stood around the fire 1 and chatted for a while. We finished off one of the two jugs of beer I had bought the night before, and then went to bed.
The next morning we had oatmeal porridge for breakfast. We boiled the water by testing out a new stove – a tuna tin stove! Basically, you take a small food tin2 and punch out some holes. Then, fill it with some fuel and light it – but be careful! Most camp fuels burn clear, so it can be tough to tell if you’ve managed to light the fuel or not. I’m super glad I had both a fire steel and matches – I would not want to get close with a bic lighter to light this type of stove. Also, when making something on this kind of stove, I’d recommend putting the minimum amount of water into the pot before you put it on the stove – it’ll cook faster and you won’t waste any. I think the only time you’d want to put a full pot is if you’re boiling water that you want to drink. Also, don’t place the stove on top of the grill that is attached to the fire pits in BC parks ( more on that later )
After breakfast, we moved to a new campsite. Before coming up we had reserved a campsite for the Saturday night3, but the park ranger suggested a different spot for us to move to. We were glad we took her advice. The site we had reserved was in the middle of the park. The new site was on the edge, right by the river! It was fantastic – although there were a few noisy groups, you could only hear them if you left our campsite. If you sat with your back to the road, you couldn’t tell that there was anyone else in the park.
Once we set up the tent at the new site, I took a nap and Marie read for a while. After I woke up, I read for a bit. Earlier this week I had picked up two books: Ultralight Campin and the SAS Survival Guide. Both are pretty good reading, and I’ve got some thoughts on each that I’m going to write up in later posts. I have to say, it was really nice to be out where pretty much the only things to do are nap, read, or go for a walk.
Later, we headed into town to pick up some hot dogs for lunch. This time we put the stove on the ground. This worked a lot better than having the stove on the grill of the fire pit. I think that having it on the grill let a lot of the heat radiate away, instead of being reflected back to heat up the pot. We also used a lot less water – this time we used the lid of the cooking pot, and cooked the hot dogs in that. It worked really well. Also: hot dogs plus cheese bread equals heaven.
Once we had finished lunch and cleaned up a bit, we went for a hike. First we went to Narin Falls, which was a 3km round trip hike. The falls were pretty crazy. Part of the falls had tunneled straight through the rock, so part of the falls went down and then came up in a different spot. The sound was also pretty loud, standing close to the falls you can almost feel it in your chest instead of just hearing it. After we hiked the falls, we headed back to our site to fill up our water bottles, then we hiked to One Mile Lake – ironically, 2.2km away. It was a pretty nice hike, and the lake was really beautiful. Once we got to the lake, we hiked around it on the boardwalk, then back to our campsite. I’m going to do some research and find out what kind of fish are in that lake, and go up there to do some fishing later in the summer. I think I found a spot that would let me jig or tickle the fish right out of the water!
Once we got back, we boiled up some water to cook up the chicken saigon noodles we got from MEC – basically ramen noodles with a lot of extra spices and dehydrated veggies. It turned out really well! It was tasty, and the stove performed well once again. After dinner, I started up another fire, and we hung out and chatted for a while. We went to bed kinda early, although I find that’s pretty normal when I don’t have a lantern or an RV – I tend to find it easier to go to bed close to when the sun sets. An exception to that is when I’m camping with a group of friends, and we’ve got chairs and booze. Then it’s a bit easier to stay up and shoot the shit. I also roasted some hot dogs on the fire – I don’t know why, but they just taste better when roasted on an open flame.
The next morning we got up, had an orange, and packed up. We were gone well before the 11am check-out time.
So, what are my thoughts on the whole trip?
I had a blast. It’s been too long since my previous camping trip – I forgot how awesome it is to get away from the city and sit by a fire with a book.
I’m looking forward to getting a better tent, preferably something we can also use backpacking. The one we slept in was a bit too short, so my head and feet were touching the sides when we went to sleep. I’d also like to try and fit everything we need to camp into just our backpacks, so that we can easily do one or two night hikes by just wandering up into the various & abundant forests that we live near.
I want to do more hiking in just flip-flops or basic sandals. I’m finding that hiking with “proper” hiking boots is kind of a bummer – my feet feel heavier and bigger, and they hurt just the same either way. I think I’d prefer to save the hiking boots for when I’m doing an extended trip, closer to a week long. I think for other times, when I’m just hiking portions of the BP trail or even doing something like the Chief just having some light sandals would be nice. I’ve already got the perfect backpack for doing day hikes, and I’m trying to lessen the weight I’m carrying for one or two night trips. I think a few more easy hikes in sandals and my feet will be tough enough to handle more rugged terrain.
I can’t wait for our next trip! I’m going to see if I can plan some sort of overnighter, but not in a provincial park. I’d prefer to just hike into the woods and hike back the next morning – otherwise we’re paying $16 to $30 to stay in a provincial park. If we haven’t stayed at a provincial park before, I’m not sure I want to drop ~$20 on something I may not enjoy.
Have you been camping anywhere fun recently?