Friday, August 14, 2009

Point Farms 2009

After the success of last years 'venture, we wanted to go camping at least once this summer. All year, Quinn would recount his trip in a typical preschooler way; random events at random intervals. He remembered "eating cheeseburgers in the blue house" and of course, "the beach!". In fact when we moved into our new house last November, he spent months playing "beach" in the basement on our sandy coloured Berber. He'd whip his shirt off and pretend to build castles and pretend to splash around in the water. How could we not go?

I had originally envisioned just the three of us, but I came home from work one day to find out that the BFF and husband had hatched a plan for all of us to go! Great! There were only two small problems with that scenario however: 1) We all have hellish schedules (especially them) and 2) Did I mention that Vic HATES camping? I must admit I was kinda puzzled at first myself, since she's more of a five star hotel in the tropics kinda gal. The poolside chick with the cats eye sunglasses and impeccable pedicure who's waving around a margarita as she's instructing the poolboy to rub her feet? That's my girl. But, as she explained to me later, it's really for the kids and I'm the only person she knows who would go camping with her and still talk to her afterwards. Ok, fine then... we're going camping.

Once again, we started this process late and had a bit of a time trying to book a site at a camp that was approximately halfway between Brampton and Windsor. Point Farms had been a consideration last year when we tried to plan this joint venture and they actually had some sites left. After pouring over the maps, we picked our site, booked it and started planning our woodsy getaway.

Thankfully, we were still well stocked (gear-wise) from last years shopping trips and I was delighted to find that all the camping stuff was not buried in the garage as I had feared. There were a few changes this year to consider... Quinn is three now and is far too big for his playpen. We would have to pick up a sleeping bag and air mattress for him. There was also the potty to consider. He's also a lot busier these days, so we would have to bring more things for him to do. That included "rainy day" activities; although I'm pretty lucky with the weather when we are camping, there is always that possibility of spending a very long afternoon in a soggy shelter with a bunch of whiny kids. I went to the dollar store and picked up some crayons, markers, age appropriate colouring books, stickers and temporary tattoos for the kids, just in case of a washout. We also found cheap bag of toys with some plastic balls, some jai alai scoops, horseshoes and badminton racquets and (one of my favourite words!) shuttlecocks. Perfect!

In all our planning, I kept reasurring Sean (perhaps erroneously) that we would have more room in The Aforementioned Ion. We were minus one playpen, but plus one potty... minus a bunch of blankets, but plus one sleeping bag/mattress combo. Our friends were bringing half the food...we would do a liquor run in Goderich... we were plus more toys but minus more diapers and the like. I felt it would balance out and we would not have to resort to making jerky out of our clothes again.

Well, I was wrong. I'll admit it. We opted at the last minute to use our huge suitcase for all our clothes and the car ended up being loaded to the roof again.

Are we there yet?
"Are we there yet?" A sleepy boy in the driveway...

The trip down was a bit hairy as we opted for the 401 route to Stratford and then up. It was supposedly the faster route, but I have to say, I'm not a fan. We got there in just under three hours and set up our tent under two beautiful beech trees. Yeah, I know, +1 for shade but -a million for common sense in a lightning storm. My theory was that there were way taller trees around that would be hit first. Luckily we didn't have to test my theory.

We had the first night to ourselves and once set up, whomped up some bacon wrapped tenderloin, rice and carrots. Yum... Everything tastes better outside. After breakfast, a trip to Zellers to get Mommy a new chair (don't ask!) and a bit of a nap the next day (Quinn and I had a hard time sleeping due to our respective throat infections), Vic, Steve and the kids arrived and set up their camp.

Welcome to Camp Logan-Lehmann!
Welcome to Camp Logan-Lehmann! Yes, that is Vic on her cellphone...

Now there were two things to consider... one, we had 7 people and the site was max. 6. My argument there is that my kid doesn't count as he still gets in free a lot of places. Two, we had one more "shelter" on the site than allowed. Both are fine-able, both could get us kicked out. But, we hid the boys little tent behind the big one and I was prepared to hide a kid if need be. Devious, yes... but if you had seen some of the sites I've seen where you can't move for tents and there's a ton of people and kids running around... forgeddaboutit! To the beach!

By this point in our trip, Sean and I could not help comparing the two parks. MacGregor had bigger sites that were, on the whole, more private. Point Farms was busier and had a lot more yelly kids. Both had trails, the one behind our current spot apparently lead to Mordor.

The Trail of Doom
Seriously... I would not even go down there with two brave hobbits and an elf.

The trip to the beach is what did us in. Point Farms is touted as being "perched on a bluff that offers spectacular views of the blue waters and beautiful sunsets of Lake Huron." I guess the old neurons weren't firing as I thought "hill" and was therefore not expecting an endless descent down an Escherian staircase to presumably, Purgatory. I was pooped by the time we got to the bottom (it was also a million degrees out), but was much better after a dip in the freezing waters of Lake Huron and soaking in the scenery for a while.

Lake Huron
Lake Huron with a bit of a breeze. The beach was fantastic and you could almost forgive the Baatan Death March to get there...

It really wasn't too much of a stretch the next day to agree to Sean's suggestion that we drive down to the beach. Especially since he had to carry Quinn on his shoulders all the way back up those stairs.

One of my work friends had cautioned me that the undertows were wicked if there was even a bit of a breeze. Quinn had quite a few unexpected duckings, and I nearly lost him at one point. We were in calf deep water (for me) and a big wave came along and snatched him right out of my hand. I must have had him a few seconds later, but it seemed like an eternity while I terrifiedly watched him speed away from me, face down under the surface of the water. It took a couple of tries to get him back (as the waves were still knocking me over) but I finally hauled him up, sputtering. His first words after I had pounded the water out of him, all the while walking to shore were "No Mommy!! I want to swim some more!! I had to reassure my little trooper that we would go back in, as soon as Mommy was convinced she wasn't having an MI.

Quinn in the Surf
It was almost impossible to keep him out of the water!

There was a lot of nature to see... beautiful trees, chipmunks, squirrels and yes, even my much hated raccoons. They were awful at MacGregor Point last year, but other than a few sightings deep in the woods at night (and an obvious set of footprints), we didn't see much of them.

Nightly Visitor
Rocky says hi...

We were in bear country, so we were extra careful about our scraps and whatnot, and the food went in the trunks of the cars at night. There was a bit of an awkward moment when one of the kids asked me what all the ropes hanging from the high branches at all the sites were for... but I answered them truthfully and nobody had a freakout (they're for hanging your food packs, in case you are wondering... keeps them away from the bears). We saw one skunk during our last campfire... that pretty much did Vic in. However, he stayed away from us and we got to enjoy our last night under the stars.

Rising Moon
Moon Rise... Look Ma! No Tripod!

Overall, I think we all had fun (even Vic). Yes, camping is a lot of work, but it appeals to me so much more than hanging poolside with piles of narcissistic plastic. The fresh air, the quiet, the birdsong, the stars... it all stills the mind and enriches the soul. Even sleeping in a tent... it's like being a kid again. Everything is so simple when you are camping. It's a wonderful retreat from this ridiculously complicated world that we live in.

I'd go to Point Farms again... I didn't get a chance to wander the old barn and check out some of the old gnarled orchards. I would have also liked to go down to the beach to see the sunset. The beach itself is simply fantastic, but I think I'd camp closer or perhaps drive to it again.

And bathe. I think I'd do that at least once next time. :)

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