The end of our camping season - Denny Scott editorial
Oct. 31 will mark the official end of my family’s first “seasonal” camping season, where we left our trailer at a local campground through spring, summer and fall and visited (nearly) every weekend.
While that arrangement doesn’t have the variety that comes with camping at a different spot every two or three weeks, it did provide a reliable chance to get away from everything and spend some time reading a good book, swimming or even getting out for a bit of rowing in a dinghy.
It certainly wasn’t what I anticipated when Ashleigh and I decided to put money we had saved up for a vacation (which we figured wouldn’t happen due to COVID-19) and instead use it as a down payment on a new trailer. After spending last year as transient campers and this year as seasonal, we have decided to do another year of seasonal camping next year, as it works well with a five-to-six-year-old. We also anticipated that COVID-19 still might be an issue next year, and, since then, Premier Doug Ford has said the soonest we’ll be free and clear of COVID-19 restrictions is likely to be March of next year, so the decision was probably a wise one.
So with a full (camping) year to look back on, and the knowledge that plenty of folks may be looking into similar practices next year, I figured I’d share what I had learned over the last year, either by trial and error or through wisdom passed on by friends and family.
• Ignore touchy sensors: After trying to figure out why our grey and black water tanks weren’t (seemingly) emptying properly, despite being on a perfectly level piece of land, I found out that the sensors on the darn things are next to useless.
With the black water tanks, an errant piece of toilet paper can make the system believe the tank is full when it’s bone dry. Similarly, with anything that gets down the sink (and nothing should, as I keep sternly repeating when anyone washes their hands or dishes indoors without rinsing them off outside first), it can clog up the sensors on the gray water. Just pay attention to your water usage, fill the tank up when you think it’s getting close to empty, and always empty the black water first and you should be good.
• Give up on beating the bugs: Okay, I’ll admit it: I absolutely hate creepy crawlies. One of the hardest parts of being the parent of a little girl who loves to go outside and explore is getting over my squeamishness with everything from snakes to frogs to caterpillars. Unfortunately, bugs are pretty much a constant when you’re camping. No matter how often you remind your
family members to keep the screen door and the slider on it closed, you will end up with bugs. Get a fly swatter, keep a
cup on hand for the more unique bugs and just try to survive with them.
• Take a nap: My wife, over the past decade or so of us living together, has come to realize that, like anyone who likely has attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyper-activity disorder (ADHD) (and I say likely because there is no diagnostic test to confirm it), I follow the serotonin. What does that mean? Well it means that my mind likes to focus on things that make me feel like I’m happy or have accomplished something. “Don’t we all?” you might say? Well, we do, but for folks like me it can be difficult to turn off. That’s why Ashleigh knows that, if she asks me to accomplish some DIY or cleaning task at 9 a.m. on a
Saturday, she better be ready for my brain to want to chase that kind of sense of accomplishment all day, resulting in a day of work instead of a day of enjoying nature, the playgrounds, the pool or the lake. So how does that apply to neurotypical individuals? Well the only way for me to break that “chasing serotonin” thing is to take a nap.
I’d suggest everyone do the same. Enjoy dozing in nature because, even in rural Blyth, there’s always a car going past or a truck squealing to a stop at 4 and 25 to interrupt the great outdoors.