Creature Comforts - Or Lack Thereof
I don’t know about you, but I for one require a few creature comforts in life—I like my heating central, my water hot and cold and running freely, and my cookies freshly baked and ready to pick up at 11 o’clock sharp. You can imagine my distaste, then, when I was told that for 24 hours I would have to leave the safety of Brentwood and brave the great outdoors, armed with nothing but a sleeping bag, a thermarest and a thin, ragged tarp—they wouldn’t even let me bring my hair dryer, if you can believe it, bolstering this silly prohibition with some nonsense about the lack of electrical outlets on trees.
I, along with the rest of my class, arrived at Strathcona Park Lodge, on Upper Campbell Lake, last Monday. After one glorious night of warm beds and a carefree campfire in the lodge’s barn, Tuesday morning rolled around and with it the prospect of an “out-trip” to False Echo, a small site a few kilometers away. Having tried and failed to convince my group leader that I was sick, I was dragged, against my will, down to the lake’s edge. I loaded my things into the canoe, fastened my awkward, slightly-too-big bright blue PFD, and stepped through the icy cold water and into the boat. We began to move; with regret I dipped my paddle into the water, disturbing the pristine, glassy-smooth surface of the lake.
After a short stop to forage for firewood and sample a few of the lodge’s very own organic granola bars, we arrived at False Echo just in time to set up camp before the evening set in. Those of us who were not completely mystified by knots were given the task of mounting two tarps between trees, under which we would sleep and prepare meals. Soon, our “dorms” and “kitchen” were constructed, and, despite the torrential rain, a fire was crackling in the fire-pit.
After a nourishing dinner of rice and vegetarian chili, as well as a few not-so-nourishing s’mores, we settled into bed under our tarp. It was dark by this time, and I had the misfortune of laying down my sleeping bag in the very ditch that had been dug as a precaution against the rain and the seeping wetness that accompanies it. Exhausted by the day, I slept through the night, and it was too late by the time I realized my mistake: by morning, I was soaked through to the bone. The rest of the trip was a blur of morning hair, overcooked oatmeal and half-hearted paddling songs. By the time we got back to the lodge, I was just happy to be back under a solid roof.
While I cannot say that I particularly enjoyed my little foray into nature, I can say with full conviction that I now appreciate every amenity offered to me at this school we all call home. We take so many things for granted nowadays, especially here in Canada, and sometimes it takes a little hardship to realize just how lucky we truly are.
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