Category: Life & Living | 4 min read
Not long ago I took my dog, hopped into a car and drove up to a place called Algonquin park.
The ultimate camping trip was the Lewis and Clark expedition. — Dave Barry
This was going to be the ultimate camping trip. I would be alone (save for my faithful dog), miles away from civilization and no where near another camp ground.
I hoped I would find bliss.
In reality I found challenge.
Instead of using the standard drive in camping I’ve done most my life, I opted to hike into my campsite. This is because the distance between the sites was absolutely massive when you did it this way. I was so used to neighbors when camping, with this set up I wouldn’t see anyone for days.
3 to be exact. 2 nights.
After a few hours of driving I ended up at the entrance to the hike. Not a soul was around and then it began: the rain.
I always pictured camping as this beautiful, relaxed thing that happens on sunny days where all I have to worry about is getting a fire going. That became a much bigger worry with the downpour I had to now deal with.
The hike itself was not that long. The entire highland trail I took was only 19km (about 11 miles) but in the rain it felt like quadruple the distance.
Within the first few kilometers of the hike I encountered a log over a river. This doesn’t sound so scary or strange except that with the rain the water was incredibly high and rushing. The sound was absolutely terrifying. Somehow, my dog didn’t care and he just jumped right up onto the log and started walking.
He was on a leash. This means I was pulled along as well (he is a very large dog.)
Now I was holding a leash and balancing a giant backpack while walking across this thin log over a rushing river.
I had never felt more alive before in my life.
After that I was greeted with a massive hill. One that was basically straight up and made completely of mud, rocks and pain. That hill we switched sides and I was the one who had to pull my dog along. He’s 90 pounds so that combined with the massive back pack and the fact that my shoes were only able to grip the smallest amounts of mud made for an exhilarating climb that took far too long.
After many long hours I finally made it to the camp site. I only got lost twice!
Since it was pouring out I got to have fun setting up the tent while it rained. This may not seem like much but with the way my tent is designed it meant the inside of the tent was exposed while I was pitching it. Leading to a very wet interior.
My dog didn’t seem to mind.
This was not the ultimate camping trip in my mind. By that evening I was in a lot of pain, soaked to the bone and starved. It took a while before I realized that I had accomplished the toughest challenge I’ve had in a very long time.
The fun lessons continued after that.
Due to the rain, the pain and my grumpy dog I was unable to sleep properly that night. Which lead to a very tired and sick feeling Kole at 5am the next day. That’s when I got up and started breakfast.
After eating some strange freeze dried product I had to lay out everything I owned to dry it out.
I was in pain. I felt sick. I had a headache and I wanted so badly to sleep but was completely unable to.
I also hated my water situation.
My plan was to drink lake water. There was just no reasonable way for me to bring water in for the hike. The weight would be insane.
I was smart and brought a water filtration system. I also made sure to boil my water before filtering it to make things even more safe. What I didn’t even think about was how god awful it was going to taste.
Warm lake water is not pleasant. It pairs with nothing!
It didn’t pair with my freeze dried nacho soup thing. It did not pair with my freeze dried unknown beef thing.
It did not pair.
It was very strange not being able to drink water as soon as I was thirsty as well. I am so used to just going to a tap and getting as much clean water as I want.
My filtration system took some time and that on top of boiling the water with my tiny camp stove meant that I would have to wait upwards of half an hour after being thirsty to actually drinking anything.
Which by the way would be hot water. It would be another half hour for it to cool down to something reasonable.
I had pushed myself beyond my own limits
It’s a different kind of feeling when you have pushed yourself beyond what you think you are capable of. You start to see just how much more you can probably do.
Will I be doing the Appalachian Trail any time soon? Maybe climbing a mountain?
No. Probably not. But I can see a lot more I may be capable of.
In the end
I had a horrible time. Which I will remember for the rest of my life. I also now know what I am capable of and plan to take things further with time.
Just for good measure, here is a photo of my dog.