Would you like to experience something like old times?? Natural conditions, forests, insects, wild animals, swimming in the lake,pitch black at night and beautiful sunrise, everything so natural, fresh and green. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?? But it’s strange that homeless people dream to live under the roof, they dream to live in the luxuries and the ones who own it long enough to explore and even pay to stay to experience nature and it’s surroundings.
Our exploring spirit ended up at Earl Rowe National Park last weekend, one of the park at Ontario Provincial Parks, it is just 1-1/2 hr journey from Toronto. They provide Learn to camp programs for beginners and graduates. It was our first camping experience in Canada while we had camped many times in Oman and Dubai. Summer weather in Toronto is quite unpredictable, it kept showing sunny in weather forecast till Thursday and then all of a sudden, Weather Network announced a big system heading towards GTA with heavy rains and fall like temperatures.
Learn to camp advises everyone to be at the campsite at 9:30am to start their programs by 10am, they provide you with all the necessities while you’re away from home. They provide you tents, inflatable mattresses, air pump, small stove, lighter, propane, big spray, sun-screen, coolers, folding chairs, a screen over wooden benches, firewood, ice, coffee machine and to our surprise even the cook ware, crockery and cutlery. The moment they showed it to us, we’re like Wow!!! Crockery at the campsite!!!! We always thought of disposables whenever we had any picnics or camping before. This was like extravaganza provided by Learn to Camp. They also teach you the real fishing which got most of the kids thrilled and then even present you with the fishing license.
Earl Rowe Provincial Park is very clean, camp site is large, clean washrooms, staff were excellent and very helpful. They made sure everyone was setting up their tents properly and provided assistance if one needed. There are several programs arranged by the Campsite leaders to educate and engage their campers. Along with Learn to camp site, Earl Rowe has trailer stations and other camping sites too, if you are not a part of Learn to Camp and booking the other camp site, you’ve to bring your own tents, barbecue and other needed stuff, park doesn’t provide you anything. Some of these sites also had electric points where you can connect your own cable and set up your own electric device, bringing a rice cooker is a great idea. The only bad part of this park was, the lake was very dirty and filled with bacteria.
Our first experience at camping was great but wish it didn’t rain, we could’ve done so much more only if the weather permitted us to. We’re surely going to give it one more chance soon to enjoy what we missed.Learn to camp can only be booked twice by one family. I am adding some tips and checklist for first time campers here in Canada, hope you camp at least once this summer;
Checklist for Camping:-
- Inflatable Mattresses
- Bed Sheets (Make sure to keep extra with kids, what if they puke on one??
- Blankets (keep the thickest and warmest one as it gets very cold at night)
- Bug Spray and After bite (Most imp.)
- Emergency light
- Portable Barbecue
- Lighter, matchsticks
- Cool box
- Jackets for the night
- Shoes for everyone
- Outdoor toys for kids
- Fire Wood (can be purchased at the park)
- Water bottles
- Milk if you have kids
- First-Aid kit
- Marsh mellows
Tips for first time campers/beginners, especially with kids:-
1. Campsite has a lot of bugs/insects, the most essential part of camping is bug spray. You shouldn’t put it directly to your skin, instead apply it on your clothes in front and back, make sure you cover everything. If you get bitten by one, apply After Bite, it’s really helpful.
2. Shoes are better than sandals when you are at the camp, walking/climbing/biking/soccer at the park in shoes is much comfortable than in sandals. It can also save you from bugs. You can keep a pair of Sandals/sleepers in case you need them sometimes.
3. Keep some extra pair of clothes of small kids, even the undergarments. They tend to get muddy and dirty.
4. While packing your own tent back at the end of your camping, make sure you check the tent inside and out to make sure there are no bugs/ticks attached to it, you don’t want to bring them home along with you.
5.Take a lot of pictures of your precious memories with your family and friends.
6. Make sure to buy fire wood for campfire at the same park where you’re camping. They also restrict you from bringing it from outside. They want to make sure logs which are used are safer and doesn’t harm the other trees at their park. The cost is not so much different; beetles could be available in some wooden logs and can spoil the trees at parks.
7.Make sure you remove all the food before you decide to retire in your bed in your camped home away from home. Animals are highly attracted to food smell and would give you nightmares if there was any food left outside near you. The best bet is to keep everything in your car, garbage should be thrown at the dumpster before you sleep.
Camping is all about having fun with friends and family outdoors, no gadgets, no TV time and just pure joy. There are many campsites, cabins, trailers available in Ontario, it has to be booked in advance and they get occupied very fast, you would hardly get a spot later on. Summer is here, make use of it at the most and do all kind of adventures you can. Stay healthy, stay happy!!! Happy Camping friends!!!!!