A little more…A little more…and perfect! I hear this familiar phrase from my wife, Anne almost every Friday afternoon as I back up our old Ford truck to our 69’ Airstream. As I feel the weight of the trailer being lowered onto the hitch our Labrador, Cody, paces in the back seat. He knows this routine as well as I do and is eager for the road and the adventures that lay beyond.
As we pull out onto 16th Ave and head west we are surrounded by many other’s seeking the same weekend solitude and adventure that many of Alberta’s parks and campgrounds offer. There are cars loaded with bikes and tents, fifth wheel trailers faithfully following their tow vehicles filled with kids and parents. You can feel the surge of energy as we form this spontaneous convoy exiting the hustle and bustle of city living. It is not a race but you can sense the eagerness of some folks vying to get ahead of the pack to secure the best spot to unwind for the weekend. Lucky for us though we have our favorite site reserved and let the others roll on by.
For anyone who has not driven west out of Calgary towards the mountains, it is a sight to behold. You quickly leave the outer reaches of the city’s grip and you can feel your shoulders lower a little and your mood brighten as the highway signs begin to give hints of what lies ahead. As we tow our Airstream along we certainly receive a lot of looks and waves as the city gets smaller and the mountains begin to rise above the horizon.
Our goal this weekend like most weekends is to just simply camp. To simplify our life for a couple of days, to leave the city and it’s stresses behind and reconnect with not just ourselves but each other and world around us. There is a beautiful simplicity to just being out there. You can be in a tent; a trailer or a giant motorhome…the fact that you are out there is part of the magic and the adventure.
As we take our exit off the Trans-Canada Highway and begin our journey down Highway 40 we leave behind our convoy of “highway friends” who are heading further west to other destinations like Canmore, Banff and beyond. Our destination today is Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country. It is a little off the beaten path and offers some of the best that Alberta’s outdoors can offer. Crystal clear lakes, snow capped mountains and rushing rivers. Thankfully leaving the cell reception area we take one last look at the weather forecast, share a post on Facebook for our friends and family and now we disconnect. What a feeling!
Turning into the entrance of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park we are greeted by a herd of Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep and we begin the narrow road that winds it way through the park connecting the many campgrounds and lakes. With our eyes peeled for the signs of more possible animal sightings we close in on our campsite. Pulling into our loop I am reminded of all the memories that we have already made here. Our first camping trip as couple was here in a borrowed van, we towed our very first trailer here know affectionately known as “Skippy” that was also our accommodation for our Honeymoon and now with our vintage can on wheels we are set to make more memories.
Now there are many things that can test the boundaries of any marriage but up there is most certainly trying to back up your trailer under your wife’s supervision. There is a saying that “Pull through sites save marriages” and at times I do believe this could be true. However with Anne’s “expert” navigation I manage to put the trailer in it’s almost impossible position all while staying married. Once I get the “all good signal” it is time to set up. Having done this so many times, camp set up is a breeze. Propane on, solar lights out, campfire ready and the most important…beer in hand. I have a certain “hitch to beer ratio” that I like to maintain but will share that another day.
As we settle into the evening the familiar lights of a friend’s truck greet us with trailer in tow. They are doubling up with us for the weekend. Nothing beats spending time with friends and family around a campfire sharing stories, playing games and leaving the city life behind. As the sun dives behind the mountains and a plan for the next day’s adventures are laid out, a million stars greet us and the game of finding satellites can begin. The sounds of dogs dozing, the fire crackling and the laughter of friends reminds me how lucky we are to be here.
Two days later I am again backing our old Ford truck up the Airstream… A little more…A little more…and perfect! Well perhaps not so perfect this time. The weekend filled with hiking, paddling, laughing and playing games is over. The fire is out, the chairs folded up and a fairly good-sized bag of “recyclables” sits in the bed of the truck. The weekend is coming to a close and we must return to the city and begin another week. With the trailer faithfully following us home I am reminded of a poster I once saw online. It said “Everytime I go camping I come home stronger, wiser and richer.
I could not agree more.