We went on a camp-out this weekend with the Junior Forest Wardens. We had a fun weekend even though on Saturday the weather was cool.
We arrived Friday evening and spent it getting acquainted with the other families while the children played games and did crafts. We retired to our cabins around 10 pm or so that night. The cabins were canvas and equipped with bunk beds and wood burning stoves. The children were excited about the cabins and were sad when they were reminded it was to be just a two night stay. The cabins were quite cozy and warm when the fire was going, but dark and cold when it wasn’t.
On Saturday the older kids went canoeing while Adrian taught a map and compass class to the younger ones. Despite not having taught a large group of kids before I think he did a great job. He kept it simple and interesting. After lunch a man dubbed “Larry the Bushman” came to talk to the kids about knife safety and what it’s like to live in the bush as a “squatter”. Then we drove out to see his place. He’s very open and matter of fact about his lifestyle, and proud, I would say as well. (I forgot my camera back at camp, of course) He wouldn’t go into details about why he actually chose to live in the bush, but any other question the children had for him he would answer frankly. He built his little shack himself from scrounged materials, and allowed us all a peek inside. It takes a lot of work living the way he does. Cutting his fire wood with a hand saw, washing his clothes by hand, and making all that he needs with recycled materials. Kicking back on the couch with a beer watching the hockey game is not in his routine that’s for sure. Afterwards he took us on a hike through the cut lines by his place. Both children and adults were pretty tuckered out after that. We got back to camp in time for a spaghetti supper. Boy, did that hit the spot. They put on a movie (Dr. Suess’s “The Lorax” and then “March of the Penguins”) with which to relax, and then we were pretty much ready for bed.
Sunday proved to be much better weather-wise. The morning dawned bright and sunny. We cleaned up the cabins, and Adrian taught the older kids map and compass. Then the younger ones had their chance to go canoeing. That was just plain lovely. The air was crisp and the water was beautifully clear. Ds was in a canoe with his friend and his mother while dd and I were with another leader, ‘A’. We went into a large circle of reeds, and the children fished for clam shells with nets. ‘A’ paddled us over to where she had seen a family of muskrats earlier, and sure enough we saw one sitting on a nest of reeds. By the time I scrambled my camera out of my life vest, however, he had gone. He was cute, though, and I’m happy we got to see him. Next we paddled over to take a closer look at a beaver dam. We didn’t see any beavers, but the children got a real close up view of the dam. At that point it was time to head back. When we arrived at the dining hall it was time for lunch, the last bit of cleaning up, and then home. We were all wiped out. Adrian drove home and the kids and I napped. It was a wonderful weekend.