There’s just something about a campfire. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t light up when you mention having a fire. What’s not to love? They keep you warm, they repel mosquitos (kind of), and they are totally mesmerizing.
For me, while this Covid isolation has been a great opportunity to work on my fashion photography business and begin to reach out to local fashion brands and collaborators, it’s also got me - the ever planning traveller- feeling pretty cooped up. Yes, I’ve been able to start seeing some of my family and friends recently, but the prospect of getting really and truly out of town anytime soon seems far, far away.
That being said, I’ve come to realize that being cooped up can have advantages, too. Like, I’m getting really excited about exploring more of my home province of British Columbia, as that looks to be the only travel option for this year (at least so far- a part of me is still holding out!). I’ve been to the south Okanagan countless times - I even lived there for a brief period - but the rest of BC is sort of foreign to me. I don’t count driving *through* somewhere as having seen a place, by the way - I look at it like an airplane layover. Just because I’ve been to Pearson Airport, doesn’t mean I’ve been to Toronto (and in fact, I still haven’t!).
So, when the opportunity to take a quick camping trip through the Thompson-Okanagan a couple weekends ago presented itself, I jumped on board.
We packed up the car and put rainy and cold Vancouver in our rear view mirror, making our way up through Pemberton and across towards Lillooet. Still somewhat cloudy and dreary out, we pulled up to a recreation site just west of Lillooet, which was a really great spot. We managed to nab a space by the river at the end of the campsite, which was nice and private, and set up camp. Since we suspected more rain, we rigged up a tarp, tying it from a couple trees and anchoring it onto the top of the car. I even learned how to tie a couple new knots in the process.
While cold and wet the first couple days, we were warm and dry in our tent and sleeping bags, and the fire kept us warm at night as we made our smores and drank our Corona (don’t worry, the irony of drinking Corona right now is not lost on me- sue me it’s a camping staple!).
Our next spot was a secret one we had heard of and given only the GPS coordinates for. A dirt road and a couple passes by missing the turnoff, we found it. And boy, was it worth it when we did! Perched on top of a bluff, overlooking the Thompson River valley, and looking north towards Cache Creek, the sparsely forested lookout was the perfect spot to spend our last night. We were high enough above the highway to completely eliminate that noise, and apart from hearing the Canadian National railway rumbling by every so often, all we heard was the breeze in the trees and the birds around us.
We were hoping that the clouds rolling by would clear enough for us to shoot some stars when it got dark, as we are wont to do when camping. But alas, the clouds only parted little to let the full moon light up the scene enough that we didn’t even need our headlamps. I’ll take it.
The next morning, I got up early to the sun shining onto the bluff and enjoyed my morning relaxing and reading in the sunshine. I've always loved the air in the Okanagan. There’s something to the scent up there, a combination of sagebrush, wildflowers, and dust that bring back so many memories of summers spent on the shores of Skaha Lake, or on our friend’s cattle ranch above Penticton. It’s a special place, and I breathed in that air that morning and sent out some gratitude for all of the things I get to enjoy in my life.
A perfect end to the first camping trip of the season.