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Car camping and the kitchen sink



You have to admit there’s a certain serenity that comes from the sound of a frustrated slap on the skin as a mosquito draws blood for the umpteenth time.

Yep, serenity.

Sitting in a deck chair looking out at Lillooet Lake and slapping off another mosquito this past weekend I thought to myself: does it really get any better than this on a steamy Sunday afternoon when you live in B.C. and you don’t have a lot of money?

I don’t doubt that I could find serenity on a beach in Thailand or a five star resort in Mexico but it’s not really the same thing.

I’m talking of course about the kind of serenity that comes with that great Canadian pastime – car camping. That’s when you actually believe you’re roughin’ it in the Wild West, forging new trails, at one with nature.

You have to find a place to sleep, set up your shelter, make a fire, cook your food over an open flame, protect yourself from animals, and pee in the bush. It’s all very primitive. Isn’t it?

It didn’t seem very primitive two weeks ago when I was scarfing down crackers, cheese and mussels by the campfire. In fact, it seemed quite decadent.

The more I go camping with different people, the more I realize that there are professionals out there and we are still mere amateurs. Car camping is a fine art, if you do it right.

We’ve gone with pros for the past two weekends and they weren’t messing around.

To begin, our camping buddies at Lillooet Lake had a list, which they produced in Pemberton when we were getting the groceries.

This wasn’t just any kind of list, hurriedly thrown together on a scrap piece of paper minutes before you leave for the weekend. This was a list from the computer, divided into different categories, for food and clothes and gear etc. Beside each item was a checkmark.

It was only when I was craning my neck over their list that I realized I had forgotten to pack any clothes except for a pair of black pants in case it got cold. Black pants in Lillooet in July? That wouldn’t have happened had there been a list.

Now I’m not a big believer in lists. They tend to depress me. I find that I rarely check things off and as a result the list just gets bigger and bigger until it’s too overwhelming and I throw it out.

Then again, as I went for a swim in my clothes, I could see the importance and relevance of having a list for camping.