Photos, Fire, and a Friend

Thursday at Twenty Mile Bay was filled with a couple of long hikes and a few big meals. After breakfast, we ventured around the campsite along the water’s edge and capture some amazing pictures, and a little snake.

We did a ton of artsy pictures throughout the day. My daughters and I discussed photography (as I took it in High School, and they are as well). So we tried to out do one another.

The end of the day, we sat around the campfire and tossed in some Mystical Fire to add some colours to the flames.

It was a great way to end our last night of camping.

20 Miles of Fun

First couple of days at Twenty Mile Bay were beautiful as expected. We set up camp and my wife came up with a genius layout. We used the back of the Rogue as a pantry while we were there.

Once we unloaded, we hit the water. And had a ton of fun. Harrison Lake was as beautiful as it has been every year. My wife and I enjoyed the tubing at Leavenworth so we bought a couple for this camping trip.

We ended with a calm night by the fire. Some toasted marshmallows for a quick sugar rush. Putting a marshmallow between two chocolate chip cookies FTW.

We did enjoy the wind on the second day as it pushed us down the lake into the bay on our inflatables. The kids got their kites out and did their best to sail them as well. Lots of laughs as the wind gusted heavily. We even spotted someone else’s lost kite in the trees.

So far the weather had cooperated. It was a great couple of days to get started.

Camping 2018

I’m not sure what the weather will do this week. But we are heading out to do some camping at Twenty Mile Bay like we did last year and the year before. My wife has enjoyed our last two trips because the weather has been perfect.

The last time I checked was on Sunday, so it looks like the end of the week will be blah.

I’m not sure if we will stay the entire time we had planned. We may cut it short in the end. That’s the unfortunate reality of camping. Whatever time we get though, I’m sure we will make the most of it with the family.

I’m okay with a bit of rain while camping. Only a bit though. Downpours and we are outta there.

Camperizing our Honda Element

We have loved our Honda Element since we bought it back in 2003. Since we are planning on a camping trip at the end of the month, we wanted to bring our Element with us. Today I decided to bring some new life into it.

I went online to see what people have done to make their Hondas more outdoorsy and versatile than they already are. To my surprise, they all did exactly as I would.

So I got started.

Taking out the back seats opens up a huge cargo area. Approximately 4 feet high by 5 feet wide and 5 feet long. Shaped almost like a box as well. Not a lot of wasted space either.

Putting our camping gear in filled the lower half of our Element. I didn’t really like the idea of stacking our stuff though. So out came the wood, saw and screws.

I already had an 8 foot 2×4 sitting around and a piece of plywood. I measured out the plywood for when the driver and passenger seats are leaning back. Then I folded those seats forward, cut another piece of the plywood at about 1.5 feet long. Screwed this board to the five foot board with an old piano hinge so I could fold it over when driving.

It also just so happened that I had five solid wood slats from an old double bed futon frame. Those fit perfectly across as a brace without any cutting.

We had an old 2 inch cheer mat gathering cobwebs. So I cut it to fit on top of the plywood. It looks as if it was made for the car- with the blue matching our interior. I cut another piece of foam for the fold out part. Once laid out, my 6’8″ body fit from end to end comfortably.

All of it is easy to remove as well. Which makes it a great option to camperize only when we need it.

I’m excited about the future camping trip. Our car is ready! My next couple of goals include getting some solar panels to charge our stuff. I’m also planning on building a slide out shelf to be able to use as a work station/counter.

If you have any tips or ideas for our Element, let me know. I’d love to try them out.

Earth, Water, Wind, Fire- A Week of Camping

We just finished our second family camping trip ever. We returned to 20 Mile Bay at the north end of Harrison Lake. We came up on Monday and left earlier today. It was great to say the least.


Our first day up there was mostly navigating the 33km dirt logging road for a little over an hour. Followed by setting up camp. The smoke from forest fires on the opposite side of the lake sat heavy in the air. But our camp view was breathtaking to say the least. ($15/day to enjoy it? Going to double our stay next year thank you!)


The next day my daughter and I decided to paddle in our inflated rafts to a small island in the lake. A little over an hour of rowing, complaining, floating, and more rowing got us to our goal.  We wandered the island and then we relaxed in the water before trekking back. When we returned, I needed to take a couple of Advil for the muscle pain , followed by a nap.


Later that afternoon it began to get a bit windy.  So the kids pulled out their dollarstore kites and were entertained for a couple of hours. It seems that they now want better kites for future use.


On Wednesday morning, my son wanted to go out on the inflated boats with me.  We decided to stay close to the shoreline and went around the campgrounds for a couple of hours.  I was still pretty sore from all the paddling the day prior, so this one was more leisurely.

A couple of friends were going to come up and meet us at noon.  Last year we had no cell service, so I didn’t turn on my phone this time around. By three o’clock I decided to try and turn on my cellphone. The service in our spot was spotty and intermittent.  But better than anywhere else on the campgrounds (no, I am not telling you the site number- my secret). Unfortunately the text messages that came through meant our friends were not going to make it.  So I took a nap. Naps are the best.


After my nap I decided to get “Girl Drink Drunk”  (old “Kids in the Hall” reference) on Growers cider that we were going to share with our friends. I suffered so much heartburn followed by a decent headache before bed to regret my poor choice.  I’ll stick to my casual beers from now on.


Over night was a pretty good windstorm.  The side of our tent was blowing over onto my wife.  We giggled at 2am for at least an hour while my wife cackled about “Tenty is trying to eat me!” Thursday morning the water was choppy and it was still extra windy.  My wife and I wandered around the camp on a hike and just admired the views and each other’s company. We enjoyed all of our days there.


We enjoyed the nights as well. Our evenings were spent around a propane campfire pit.  We also had music from an old iPod on shuffle playing through a Bluetooth speaker. These were the two “luxuries” that we afforded ourselves. No DVD players or internet. (Cameras and camp stoves were a necessity for reasons). The kids sang along and danced to music that they once made fun of me for enjoying.


Every free moment was spent reading.  We all brought books and just lounged lakeside and read. These five days were the best $75 I have ever spent on a vacation.

Camping Pt.2: Family

Yesterday I wrote about a couple of my previous experiences camping as a young adult.  As fun and memorable as those camping trips are, those days needed to remain in my past.  I am now on to creating new memories, only this time with my family.  

2014: A single night of camping.


A couple of years ago, I took my kids out for a night of camping just to see if they liked it.  They did.  We all wanted to go again, but it took me two years to convince my wife to join us.

The SUV packed full with kids and dog ready for camping.


Earlier this week, I had changed my work schedule and got a “three day weekend”.  From Monday-Thursday morning we hit the road and said farewell to our luxuries.  No electricity, no running water, no internet.  We still had our cellphones for music and photos- we aren’t savages- so I’d like to share some pictures of our trip as well as my thoughts.

An SUV in the wild? Beautiful BC.


We drove about two and a half hours from our home.  The last hour or so was down a 33 km logging road which included a few wrong turns.  But we made it to our destination at 20 Mile Bay by dinner.  We set up our tents and made our little piece of home in the seclusion of the wilderness (albeit still a Provincially run campground).  The campground had 50 sites, and we booked a double site on the south end.  No one was near us until the last evening.  The solitude and peace was just what we needed.

20 Mile Bay is right on Harrison Lake.  A beautiful lake that I’ve been boating on with friends in the past.  The bay itself is just that, a shallow bay with warm water that looks out into the rest of the lake.  For the three nights we spent there, we only saw a couple of other campers.  It felt like we owned the lake.  It felt like paradise.  


During the days we cooled off in the water.  The kids got along famously.  Our dog enjoyed a dip as well as all the new smells in the air.  My wife and I put our chairs in what felt like the middle of the lake and read our books.  We went for walks around the lake with our dog walking calmly beside us unleashed.  I even taught my children how to use a slingshot and skip rocks across the water.


In the late evening, we enjoyed a campfire along the beach.  We roasted marshmallows, some getting burned like they usually do.  We added a packet of coloring to the fire, making green, blue and purple flames.  The children were at peace and we talked.   The night sky was clear our entire trip and we saw more stars in the sky than we usually do at home.

Our last night there, a campfire ban was put in place by the Province.  So we sat around our table and played cards in the evening and enjoyed some hot chocolate. This was also when we received new neighbors at the site next to us.  

Happy Campers!


Ugh.  These new arrivals almost ruined our experience.  They were the epitome of “White Trash Glampers”.  Travel trailer got parked, the guy immediately fired up his chainsaw (what????) to cut a log to balance the trailer, the dirt bikes unloaded, tarps and lights strung out, the generator went on, the young kids (two of them under the age of five) dumped their toys everywhere around the beach and site, the mother constantly yelling at them while the kids fought, and their dog got tied up and yelped all evening into the early part of the night.  As it grew dark, the noise level increased and their friends also showed up with a travel trailer and in the darkness attempted to set up as well. Absolute chaos and pandemonium was happening next to us.~END RANT~


As we sat at our table playing cards under the light of a single Coleman lantern, with our music on at a level just loud enough that we could still talk and sing without yelling.  We were glad that we had a couple of nights without these people.  The next day, we packed up to head home.  Each of us working together talking already about our next trip.  My wife has now become a camper and it looks like we will do this trip again.

Our little spot of paradise.

Camping Pt.1 TBT

I started camping in my mid to late teens. Pretty much since driving became a regular pastime for my friends and I. Once or twice every summer, we would pack up for a weekend away. 

My first time camping with friends, I drove a buddy’s car down some logging roads on our way to finding a campsite before I even had my drivers license.  That was thrilling and nerve racking at the same time.  But it was freedom.

Later that summer, my mother allowed me to go off with a friend by Greyhound bus to his hometown.  Once we arrived, we were off to a huge camping experience titled “The Rebirth of Mother Earth”.  It was a crazy weekend filled with a lot of firsts.  I learned what a sweat lodge was and shared my first peace pipe with a bunch of First Nations and came away fairly high.  Probably the tobacco and herbs in it, I dunno I had never smoked anything prior to that weekend.

I spent the majority of the weekend bombing down dirt roads in the box of my buddy’s “borrowed” Toyota pickup getting flung around as he fishtailed down the back roads…  That scene in Toy Story where Woody gets nailed by a toolbox in the Pizza Planet truck?  I swear someone at Pixar was completely inspired by my idiocy- that scene was happening to me over and over that weekend.  You’d think we would’ve moved the toolbox at some point.  Bruised and battered- it didn’t matter, it was fun.  Later that trip, I learned how to make gun powder and we fired some home made cannons.  “D” cell batteries can fly across a river pretty darn good.  I also went cliff diving for the first time.  Nothing says “Peer Pressure” than trying to show off to girls in bikinis at age 16.

As we got older, beer and girls would accompany us more often as well. There was always great stories to share after a trip. Some drunken escapade, someone deciding peeing on the fire was a good idea, some emotional dramatic break up, or some crazy scars and burns. Good times. Good times.


But that all suddenly ended. Friendships changed, summers were filled with working weekends, and the idea of being dirty for a couple of days wasn’t appealing any more. Years went by and the idea of “roughing it” went out the window. Marriage, mortgage, & monsters became a way of life for me.  

Ah, responsibility.  The realization that “I’m too old for this shit.” kicks in.