We were invited to a Grand Opening by some good friends of ours. Her sister and brother-in-law have an adventure company, The Outdoor Life Adventure Company. They were offering guided wildlife tours, riverboat tours, and a tour through the Ancient Forest. There was the option to camp. I latched on to that and next thing you know were all camping with the exception of "The Princess". She does not camp.
Friday noon we took off in a small caravan (can 2 vehicles be a caravan?) and drove 160 kms to Crescent Spur where Outdoor Life has carved out a small corner to share with outsiders. The campground is tucked away in the corner of a field with the river on two sides of it. We picked our spots and Paul, Michael and Karl set up camp. We set up a little cook tent too. During this process we kept a wary eye on the other people across the way, one never know what sort of people they might be...
After the inaugural cup of coffee (a "must" with Karl around) and feeding the kids sandwiches to tide them over, we started making supper. We eventually ventured over to the fire. Some of the "other people" were over there. In no time at all we were very comfortably conversing and having a great time with them.
After eating, the kids scattered. Jonathan found a bike and kept himself busy all weekend. Jamison managed to find a hornets nest and got two stings! Adriana went off with the girls and we hardly saw her at all. Much to my joy, there were two boys Michael's age there. He is often the odd man out because he is older than our friends' kids.
Backtracking a bit, Rod, the boat man, took Michael and the two boys across the river to go fishing. They had one radio and I had the other. Two hours passed and it was supper time. I called to the boys on the radio and didn't get a response. So I handed the radio to Paul for him to figure out. Paul could hear them yelling but couldn't get them on the radio. Off goes Rod in search of the boys. Poor stranded boys had gotten over there and the radio had died. A good bonding experience for sure. No fish but they saw a beaver and decided to to eat Dallas if Rod never returned. Never underestimate the ingenuity of hungry teenagers.
After a hefty consumption of s'mores, the kids were packed off to bed. Jonathan had made a bet with Karl and I that if he stayed up until 1:00 we'd each pay him $5. He tried so hard and it wasn't a fair bet since I have the power to send him to bed. When Paul showed up after 12 and made him lay down, he was very upset... and promptly fell asleep.
I made an excursion to answer the call of nature at 5:30 the next morning. It was so peaceful and glorious. I went down by the river and would love to have spent an hour drinking coffee and enjoying the solitude. Somehow sleep called me back to the tent.
There is nothing like crawling out of the tent and being handed a cup of steaming coffee. It didn't exactly happen like that but a girl can dream, can't she?! After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and coffee, we went on our wildlife tour. With five 9-11 year olds, sneaking up on wildlife was a bit of a joke and not likely to happen. I felt like the pied piper. Every time I tried to approach the guide to hear what he had to say, all the kids followed me and I could not escape! I'm sure he was a wealth of knowledge. Paul would know... I just enjoyed being outside walking with all the kids and seeing them have so much fun just "being". We did spot a mamma black bear with a cub while all the noisy ones (Karl and the kids) were lagging behind.
After lunch, we went to the Ancient Forest. I wish I could remember all the scientific information about it, but it was so beautiful and something I would highly recommend. There is more biomass located in that forest than in any other inland rainforest. It is one of only two inland rain forests in the world. The other one is in south america. "Ours" is the more impressive of the two. 5% of the worlds carbon store is in our rainforest. "The Princess" showed up and actually was seen hiking in the forest. Like Michael said, "I haven't ever seen her outside her house before."
While we waited for our last adventure of the day, Paul and I played with the GPS and had our first venture with geocaching. It was kinda fun and we almost missed our boat ride.
The riverboat was a blast! Rod is an extreme sportsman and known for his wild side. He's goal was to make his passengers scream. I think he was a little disappointed in that I was not getting freaked out! It was kinda fun messing with him. Ultimately, he did succeed. I was too relaxed and lost my seat and banged my arm. I confess, I screamed. I'm sure it was the pain...=D
Karl and the kids packed up and left us there for one more night. It rained. The air mattress is now just a rubber flat thing destined for recycling. Adriana and I finally went to sleep in the van at 1:00 AM so Paul could sleep on her mattress and at least one of us would get enough sleep to drive home in the morning. We woke to a wet world, fed the kids what we could without cooking and headed home.
I can't wait to do it again!