I think I might be getting a bit addicted to this ‘wild camping’ thing. I just got back from another trip out to Squamish with a group of friends, and it was such a luxury to feel like you’ve got a small corner of the world to yourself, even if just for a moment. You can finally breathe. At provincial campgrounds or recreation sites, I often still feel like I’m fighting to have some space in a crowded, bustling campground. That’s why I’m beginning to see why some people love off-season camping and wild-camping. It’s a good way to get away from all the rest of us humans everywhere.
The last time I did a wild-camping weekend was on a wilderness survival course, where we had an instructor who led us through the unmarked woods and safely back to our cars. This time we were on our own as a group of non-experts, so it was definitely a first step into independence with wild-camping. We were prepared with flagging tape, which was an essential. My sense of direction in a city-setting (with clearly labelled street signs and Google Maps at my fingertips) is already questionable, so you can imagine what my navigational abilities are like in the woods. We made sure to flag regularly and position each flag so the next one was always in sight.
We bushwhacked a bit, and the bush whacked us back (I’ve been waiting so long to crack that joke!), as we wandered into the woods, looking for a good site to set up camp. We wanted an area with a bit of a clearing and a somewhat flat, dry surface that was still close to a water source. Through the thick brush, we saw what appeared to be a clearing up ahead and headed towards it. We were thrilled to find this spot! And it was all ours!
We leisurely ate our lunch and set up camp by the side of the river. I experimented during this trip with a 12’ x 12’ Kelty Noah tarp, which didn’t go exactly as planned. But this is what I ended up with:
Setting up a tarp properly is like outdoor origami! You have to plan it out properly to have the tie-out points where you need them – which I did not do. So I ended up having to improvise by using an old camp trick. You just wrap some tarp material around a smooth stone, tying it off and using it as an attachment point to your tarp:
I used sticks for stakes and a stone for a mallet to tap them into the ground.
As the sun began to set, the temperatures quickly dropped from a warm pleasant spring day down to 2°C, and we all huddled closer to the fire with our toques and extra layers pulled on. The toastiest spot was the one between the fire and the fire reflector.
It was a clear night and the stars and the moon came out shining so brightly, you didn’t even need a headlamp to see. In the moonlight, we saw a pair of Canada Geese fly over the river, honking as they went. I slept really well that night, warm and dry. No bugs landed on me and I didn’t wake up with a spider on me like last time. Overall, it was an awesome trip with great company. Can’t wait to do it again!