Over the past couple of years, my brother-in-law and I have made an effort to set aside at least one night each year to take our daughters camping. The cousins love spending the uninterrupted time together without their brothers and they are at an age now that makes it a pretty relaxing trip for the fathers too.
Since we only go for one night, we stay close to Ottawa, heading to Fitzroy Harbour and to Lac Phillipe in the past. This year we went to a park, Murphy’s Point, that I hadn’t visited in 12 years – since the first spring I was in Ottawa.
We were lucky to have great weather, and a great site (#29) to enjoy the park. After a quick lunch stop in Perth at Retro Fries, we headed out to set up camp. I always like to go on at least one short camping trip at the beginning of the year so I can remember everything that I have forgotten to put back in the bins or that has broken the year before that hasn’t been replaced. This way, I have a chance to make the adjustments without too many consequences. This year, it didn’t take long to figure out that I had forgotten to charge our pump so after it made a small dent in the air mattress, I was left to blow up the rest myself. Luckily, beyond batteries for flashlights, it didn’t seem that we forgot anything else too crucial.
After a break to sit in the sun and enjoy a cold beverage, we did the short but satisfying Sylvan Trail, a 3km loop that provides a nice view over Big Rideau lake.
We returned to our campsite for dinner and a big fire including smores before tucking in for a pretty chilly night as it dropped down to about five degrees.
The next morning we woke up to sun and once we had breakfast and packed up we rented a canoe for a couple of hours to enjoy the nice weather on the lake. After the girls even did some swimming (water was still freezing!) we had a picnic at the beach before heading home.
Just one night of camping was a good reminder that a trip doesn’t have to be long or far from home to serve as a nice break. Even though we were gone for less than 30 hours from door to door, it felt refreshing to get away from home and experience something different.