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Pandemic Camping – Coldspring at EC Manning

We spent some time camping in a socially distant manner during the pandemic to try and get some more outside time.

Normally I write a bit about my trips while I’m actually in the middle of them, but this time I wasn’t really in that headspace – but I did want to write a bit, so here I am in September posting some photos and reminiscing!

Noémi and I have been very cautious during the pandemic – online ordering all our groceries, working from home, & avoiding any in-person contact. This has been real tough because we really like our friends & very much miss being able to spend time with them. On that front, I took a week off from work and Ella & Christian & myself ended up planning a camping trip for mid-July (Noémi is not a fan of camping so she sat out on this one). The most covid-risky part of this process was sharing a car, but we masked up for the whole drive there & back and for the rest of the week it was easy to keep distant from each other.

The same manufacturer makes both of our tents and I can only assume they have more creativity than it looks like re: colour & design.

We went to a provincial park, EC Manning, to the Coldspring sites. The first thing I remember is how busy it was – provincial campsites are already pretty bonkers in the summer, and they were somehow even more bonkers this time around. We arrived mid-week and stayed for three days at our reserved site, and at the end of our run our plan was to explore the first-come-first-serve campsites as soon as they came available on the following morning. We got lucky and snagged one, but there was a parade of cars lined up out of the campsite and onto the highway waiting to circle the sites like vultures right at 10am and try to lay claim to the sites themselves. I’ve definitely seen it busy before but this was another level of busy/desperation I’m not used to.

This was also the only point in time when it rained (for a few hours on that morning), which turned out to be very fortuitous timing as our gear was collapsed and covered for those hours anyway, so nothing we were sleeping on/in got wet during the trip. We spent the time utilizing Christian’s expertise in hanging a large tarp over our table & the middle of the site to keep away any future rain (which didn’t come) or sun (which beat down real hot, so we were glad we had this). When it was done we got plenty of envious glances from passers-by.

Relaxing in the hard-earned shade.

We played a lot of board games – this is something I have barely been able to do and have sorely missed during covid. Wingspan, Parks, Metro X were the main things we brought out. We all learned Cartographers and had a great time with that one. I taught Ella Architects of the West Kingdom & she beat me by two points in the first game and I won by a single point in the second game – we super enjoyed that one, very evenly matched!

Wingspan, in a park!

The highlight was definitely Matt & Chantal driving out to join us for an afternoon/evening without staying the night at the site. We played Wingspan and went for a swim and hung out around the fire and it was wonderful to see friends again, and it was very sad to see them go again.

Christian & Matt both got 80 points, and Christian won on one of the tiebreakers – very close one.

The lake was a short drive away, we couldn’t walk it, but it was also near some cell reception & a small tuck shop so we could get some supplies & check in with Noémi once or twice. I don’t have a picture of this, but it was absolutely bustling with people and most of them were just not fans of wearing masks, which was disappointing. They did have barriers in place & limited how many people could go in the shop, so that felt much safer. I mostly have pictures of board games, so please enjoy this picture of us playing Parks, in a park.

Parks in a park!

Last image reminds me of the sort of cooking we did while we were there – mostly foil packets, well seasoned meat & veg in foil on the fire. These were real easy to throw together and were delicious and pretty healthy. One we cooked on the grill open style and it just looked too tasty not to photograph.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Those are most of the highlights I can remember at this point – it was an excellent week and it was over way too soon, moreso than the usual sort of vacation. The lockdown has been such long periods of isolation from people we know with very short bursts of social activity – I’m really looking forward to being able to see people a little more spontaneously one day.

Until next time friends.

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