We’ve made it a tradition to go camping every year for Astrid’s birthday. One night for each year she’s been alive. And every year something tries to get in our way. When she was 2 it was hand-foot-mouth. Last year it was a cracked elbow and a cast. This year it was COVID-19. But we persevered and got lucky with the timing, and were able to spend 4 nights camping in the Okanagan at Ellison Provincial Park.
We booked our campsite back in February, before COVID-19 was a problem in BC. Fortunately our reservation wasn’t cancelled and campgrounds re-opened (for residents at least) only on June 1. There were a few signs reminding people to keep their distance and some extra cleaning, but camping was the most normal thing we’ve done since the pandemic began. The only issue was the Montana license plates on the vehicle we borrowed from a friend, which prompted a conversation with the park warden and got us plenty of dirty looks. We were careful to cover it up when the car was parked.
I was a bit worried it would be hard to find things to do to fill 4 days, but the time flew by. We didn’t get the legendary Okanagan heat, but it was warm and sunny on Astrid’s birthday, so we spent the entire day at the beach. It was still a bit too cold for swimming, but we built sandcastles, moats, pools, and stick art.
It rained off an on, but we had a big tarp to keep our picnic table dry and our tent never leaked. Astrid also slept through the nights and our thermorests didn’t leak, so we were pretty happy campers.
Astrid got a new peddle bike for her birthday, and she spent a lot of time learning how to ride. We skipped the training wheels and followed the advice of some neighbours and just used a scarf around her waist to help her balance. By the end of our trip she was biking on her own, with the occasional scream and assistance starting and stopping (without smashing into something).
For Astrid, the highlight of the trip was roasting marshmallows on the fire and eating corn on the cob.
She also enjoyed playing her newest board game – Veg Patch Match.
Ellison Provincial Park is right next to Vernon, and we took advantage by spending a day visiting Davison Orchards and the Honey Bee Farm. Davison Orchards is a kid paradise, especially for one pining for the freedom of the country. She got to climb up old farm machinery, feed the goats, race rubber ducks, and go for a tractor ride. When we finished the tractor ride, Astrid ran up to our driver and told him all about her COVID-19 visit to the Ponderosa and how Gigi let her drive the tractor.
I had the only injury of the trip. When we were at the beach I took Astrid to a little rock island. On the way back I slipped on the slimy rocks. I protected her, but destroyed my foot and leg. I couldn’t feel it at the time because my feet were too numb, but when I got out of the water I saw that I had completely ripped a toenail off. Once the numbing wore off, it was very painful and very bloody.
On the way home, we spent a bonus day in Kamloops. Astrid was very excited to see Jacob and Nora again.