The secret site
I’ve been asked on several occasions where my favorite campsite is. Each time I respond with a simple smile. It’s not an “I’ve got a secret” type of smirk; it’s more of a “thank-you for bringing back that memory” type of smile.
Most sites in Provincial/National Parks all meet the “great site traits” stuff you want but there’s more to it than that. For example, I remember a few great sites along the La Cloche Silhouette trail. Little Mountain Lake Site 33: a site next to a still-thawing lake where thousands of small pieces of ice were pushed by the wind to one end resulting in the coolest unexplainable sound when they collided with each other and the rocky edge (imagine a thousand crystal wind chimes). Another site had a great spot where we sat and smoked cigars and watched the sun set (Site 49, Little Superior Lake).
There was a site in Algonquin Park where we sat on a rock (we call them thinking rocks now) overlooking Porcupine Lake where we came up with the idea for this site. There was another that we found during the Brent Run at 3 in the morning that gave us enough covered shelter to rest for an hour.
I learned the following valuable lesson on a winter camping trip in the Kawartha Highlands at another great site: Put away the white fuel when the temperature drops below zero and use kerosene (imagine lighting a propane bbq with the lid down).
So to all the people that has asked me about the great site, here’s a quick list of some of their traits:
· Tent location: a nice flat spot for the tent with good drainage and healthy trees in proximity. (be wary of sites with dead trees that can fall in a storm)
· Fire pit: well-maintained with a good food prep area.
· Tarp-ability: Has to be a great spot to hang a tarp
· Easy access:
o Canoe camping: ease of loading and unloading of the canoe/kayak.
o Backpacking: How far off the main trail, is water close?
· Cleanliness – how much usage has the site seen, visible trash etc.
· Proximity of dead wood for fire/cooking: Because who wants to hike for another hour finding wood.
· A thinking rock: A multi-use lounging area to snack and enjoy the company/solitude, the view, a cigar or your favorite beverage
· A good food pack tree: If you’re like us you won’t even think about it until well after dark…it’s more of a game that way.
· A thunderbox with a view: Not a necessity but always nice. Just having one at a site is a plus!
To those who still feel I haven’t answered the question- It’s not about the actual site. It’s what you do while you’re there. Memories aren’t found; they’re created.
But there was this one site…