October 14, 2009 | Tips from Travellers >
View a larger image on flickr.com
When I think Thanksgiving, I think turkey (or rather, tofurkey) not tents. Well, this weekend I learned that a lot of people think tents, RVs and warm campfires on the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend.
Our plan was to take our new/old ’88 Westfalia campervan on a maiden voyage over the long weekend. We had a few campsite requirements: within cellphone range of Vancouver in case something falls off the Westy; no crazy unpaved roads; campfire. Bonus points for electric plug-in so we could make smoothies in the morning (hey – I didn’t say this was rustic).
Alice Lake Provincial Park in Squamish sounded good to us. We rolled in around 6pm, and were blown away by the number of people who had the same idea, albeit with more functional vehicles. Our smoothie dream was crushed when we found all 55 electric plug-in campsites were already taken. Nonetheless, we were able to find a nice spot tucked in the trees.
All that was left to do was to sit around the crackling fire, cook dinner on our campstove, and eat what seemed like a zillion marshmallows (they were the mini-kind, which made for some eclectic roasting methods). It was a clear night, so we had a nice view of stars peeking between the silhouettes of tree branches above. In the morning, we checked out Alice Lake and watched a fellow camper take his dog paddleboarding.
Before we left, the campground operator told us that more than ¾ of the 108 Alice Lake campsites were full, and that ALL of the 60 campsites in nearby Porteau Cove Provincial Park had been full since the Wednesday before the long weekend. Wow! I had no idea so many people went camping and RVing for Thanksgiving.
Overall, I had a relaxing, bug-free, quiet camping trip at Alice Lake Provincial Park. I’d definitely consider camping as a future Thanksgiving activity. Now all I need to figure out is how to roast a tofurkey over an open campfire
May 04, 2009 | Tips from Travellers >
View a larger image on flickr.com
The sun was shining and we were in the mood for a Friday night camping getaway. Since this was the first camping trip of the season, we were looking for a place that was quiet, was easy to get to from Vancouver, and had basic amenities (water, flush toilets, firewood). Paradise Valley Campground
in Squamish fit the bill.
When we signed in at the campground, we met the hosts and picked up firewood ($5 for all you can carry) before heading to our site. The campground was clean and well maintained, and came with a resident hummingbird that buzzed around at dusk and dawn.
An unexpected camping highlight was rock-painting... the hosts will set you up with paints and brushes (free) and then let you unleash your inner Van Gogh on any rocks that you can fit in your hand. The result was colourful rocks tucked into corners of all the campsites (my own masterpieces are pictured above). Kids would love this! I’m proof that grown-ups find it pretty fun, too.
The next morning we hiked the short but straight-up trail to Brohm Lake from the campground. We couldn’t find the trail that went down to the lake (just a viewpoint of the lake), but it was a good way to stretch our legs and get out in the woods. Along the way, we saw more dogs (4) than people (2). The “boulder caves” were pretty neat, and are located at the beginning of the trail for campers who are too full of s’mores to hike the whole thing.
A few mosquito bites later, we headed back to the city in time to watch the Canucks game at home. If you’re looking for an easy, early season camping trip, I’d recommend Paradise Valley in Squamish.