Wednesday, August 19, 2009

An intense (get it?) camping experience

Monday we loaded up our van with sleeping bags, food, a lantern, a tent, and fishing poles and headed to Parc de la Mauricie. A friend of mine, Nic, recommended this to us a couple years ago when I took the boys on a camping trip by myself. You can read Sam's account of the trip here. And just for fun, a little from me, about the same experience. We had such a good time that we decided to revisit this gorgeous spot for three days of camping fun. This time, having Mark with us, it was amazing the way I was able to relax. (I'm always stronger with him by my side.)

It was a pretty warm, sticky day (no air-conditioning in our van). So by the time we arrived, set up our tent, and ate a taco supper, we were all pretty wiped out. Seeing rainclouds pour in didn't do a lot to lift our spirits. And because we don't have the best tent, Mark thought it wise to take it down during what turned out to be quite a storm (he was dead right to do it, too) and therefore keep it dry for our sleep that night.
Mark went off to wash the dishes when it was just threatening to rain, and the rest of us piled int he stifling van. Sam took off his shirt and pulled out his book.
Jack didn't cease to say all manner of silly nonsense as he passed the time looking into the bottom of a root beer bottle, wondering aloud when the rain would stop.
I guess we can safely say Jack was bored out of his mind.
And from the following pictures, I suppose you can figure out how Joel and I chose to wait out the storm....




Mark came back just in time before the big rains came and we waited all together for the storm to pass by. When it did (maybe 15 minutes later) we decided to drive to the nearest lake and go for a swim.
And there we washed away the grime, sweat, and glum attitudes from the day. I cannot begin to describe to you how that lake renewed us. Playing together in Lac Édourde was the very best way to end the day. We went back to the campsite to set up our tent (again) and to make s'mores. We climbed into bed, tired and happy. Happy to be together and anticipating the coming day.
After breakfast, Mark went to find out about fishing possibilities. A problem with the lakes in the park caused us to have to drive to the nearest town to fish. We were not unhappy about this as the park ranger gave us a map of Shawinigan and lots of fun outdoor possibilities to fill our day.
And here was where our camping trip drew to an abrupt end. There was an unfortunate event involving a camera and a sloping bank and a river. Even typing those words gives me pains in my gut as I replay over and over in my mind the most awful 10 seconds--the loud plopping sound, the words, "your camera", the scream of panic at the sight of my Nikon bobbing up and down, the slow-motion plunge into the muddy river, and then the angry tears that followed.

We decided to go back to camp, pack up, and head home with the hopes that something could be done to restore life to the camera. It was with great sadness that we decided this and the announcement was met with great disappointment by three boys, but they were gracious, I'd say.

The tent was set up in our backyard, there were more s'mores, a ghost story told by Dad, and a couple (brave) members of the family spent the night under the stars.

***And the verdict is still out on the camera. The repair shop will call tomorrow with the diagnosis. Holding our breath!!