Last weekend, so two weekends ago now, my friend Sherrie organized a big camping trip for all our friends/her friends/all the friends. This was the second annual friends camping trip, and unfortunately I had to miss last year so this time I was IN. Camping is my favourite. But we had just gotten back from a very exhausting trip (I hesitate to say vacation as we were very busy every day and it wasn’t exactly relaxing, it was a trip) so an entire weekend away camping wasn’t doable for me. I had stuff to get done at home. Evan had even more stuff to do, so I just drove up myself on Saturday morning for one night.
I arrived just after noon and everyone was already up and in the water.
Sherrie and I actually stumbled upon this campground two years ago when we got kicked out of Algonquin Park for being too noisy. This place, Pine Grove Point, is a privately owned campground on the outskirts of Algonquin (it’s actually where Evan and I picked up our canoe from when we were backcountry camping last year), and they are much more lenient about things than provincial parks are. They actually encourage you to bring drinks down to the beach.
And they purposely put us all at a huge site at the very pack of the campground so we are free to be loud (though I don’t know if they encourage singing Disney songs on the beach at midnight…)
I love provincial parks, and they are beautiful and all that, but almost every time I’ve camped in one I’ve gotten at least one noise complaint. So if your plan is to have more of a party time with your friends, finding a good private campground is the way to go. For me the most important aspect of a good campground is good lake swimming. Hiking trails are always nice too, but lake swimming is probably my favourite activity of all time and something that I don’t get to do every day, so I definitely cherish it. This place has the BEST lake swimming. Clear and deep. J’adore.
It also helps that they have a bunch of floating trampolines and a floating dock. We swam for hours and hours that Saturday afternoon. It was my dream.
My friends Dawn, Mark, Emily and Corey were up for just the Friday night, so I was sad to miss them all on Saturday. But I really enjoy Sherrie’s friends, and I have hung out with them so much that I consider them my friends. And Sherrie has hung out with my friends so much that she considers them her friends. And all our friends have hung out together so much that everyone considers everyone friends. It is a great thing.
Eventually we packed up around dinnertime and headed back to our site. I brought myself a chicken burger to grill, however I knew from experience that the camp store/snack bar at the park has really amazing poutine. Really. Amazing.
Obviously I had to get this. It was quite large and in charge so I had to rope some friends into helping me finish it, but I don’t think they minded. People will tell you that you aren’t eating real poutine unless your fries are topped with cheese curds as opposed to shredded cheese and I will tell you right now that I disagree. I love a good cheese curd, but I really enjoy all types of cheese so I can’t discriminate. I don’t know if that poutine would have been better with cheese curds. And I don’t even know if that was real cheese. But it was pretty perfect as-is.
And if you want to catch a glimpse inside a random camping store…
Alllll the things you could possibly need for your camping trip, just in case you forget your…cat food.
As I mentioned, our campsite was basically a huge area at the back of the campground that had been cleared of brush.
Complete with a sleeping/tent area, an eating/fire area (good thing, since about 16 people were up at some point over the weekend so there were a lot of tents), and a GAMES AREA!
Sherrie brought our trusty, faithful ladder ball. It is always a good time. It is especially a good time in the dark when you tie glow sticks around the three levels and throw the balls in the pitch black, hoping for the best.
We also played a lot of Euchre, which is my favourite card game of all time.
I do not get to play nearly as often as I like because I find it difficult to get four people together who all know how to play Euchre (I actually play online – Hardwood Euchre! It is the best! If anyone has it seriously let me know, I’ll be your partner). We had a bunch of people who knew how to play though, so we had a bit of a tournament.
We also played some flip cup. Because a party is not a party unless there is flip cup. This team was undefeated.
And they are jerks. My team never won.
Eventually we all saddled up around the fire and two of the guys broke out guitars (and a ukelele!) and serenaded us. I think they ended up hating us though, because we were all “Can you play this? Play Neil Young! But can you play THIS?! Play this, play this!” Note to self: learn how to play the guitar, and learn how to play all the campfire songs.
Last time Sherrie and I were camping there it was theme night and they turned the entire campground into Halloween (in August), complete with a haunted house. And a bunch of adults were dressed up…
We were not so lucky this time. But it was still a fun time.