This camping weekend was a memorable one when we headed out to Koocanusa, BC (more commonly known as Kikomun Provincial Park) for back country camping, swimming, and turtle spotting at Surveyor’s Lake.
This year we went with Ryan’s parents and his brother’s kids Jasmine & Joey and of course our kids and the two dogs. We went back to the same back country camping area and found a spot tucked into the forest far away from any other campsite. Heavenly!
The drive didn’t seem as long as last time because we borrowed my brother in-laws’ SUV which provided way more room than last year and the kids weren’t as squished this time around. We pulled in around 8:30 p.m. and quickly got our tent set up before dark.
Ryan’s parents made a delicious supper of sirloin burger, potatoes, carrots and onions cooked in tin foil on the fire and I ate my plate and anyone else’s they had leftover. Do you know the secret ingredient I hadn’t been using? You sprinkle onion soup mix on top! Mmmmm.. I don’t know what it is about camping, but the minute I get to a site I’m hungry all the time!
The dogs were having a blast running around and Ryan had smartly purchased waterproof dog booties to put over Apollo’s paw to keep his torn pad as clean as possible (didn’t work out in the long run).
That first night was a challenging one to say the least! First off, the dogs were running around in the dark and came back to us panting and happy and REEKING! We then realized that they had both rolled in cow manure and were coated in the stuff! EW! Our site was about a mile from Lake Koocanusa and it was 11 PM and pitch black so we opted to use up almost 12 water bottles to wash them off with our hands *shudder*. It was nasty!
Shortly after we all tucked into bed where we woke up around 12:30 p.m. by a dirt biker ripping around in the distance. The area we stay in is ATV friendly and we heard motors running the whole weekend long but 12:30 p.m. is a bit late. At around 1:00 a.m. the biker decided to take a trail that went right past our campsite and Ryan and I flipped! We sprang out of our cots and put on our shoes to go out and flag the guy down when suddenly we heard Ryan’s dad Bob get into his truck. Ryan ran to meet him and the two of them went off in search of the biker. I don’t know if the biker knew we were coming or was headed back to their campsite but Bob & Ryan never found him because very shortly after the biker called it a night.
We snuggled down at 1:30 a.m. to go back to bed and by 2:30 a.m. I was still awake because my step son Ace was snoring so loudly! Exhausted and frustrated I grabbed my stuff and slept in the back of the SUV where I had one of the best sleeps of the week because I was able to roll all over and not have Ryan wake me up when I started snoring.
The next morning I woke up at 9 am before everyone else and took the dogs down to the lake to swim and get all the remaining cow poop off them. It was 1.5 miles to the lake and back so by the time we got back the dogs were pretty tired. I also noticed that the rocks started to tear holes in Apollo’s bootie so we had to replace it (love that we had a four pack).
When I got back I had to wake everyone else up and it took everyone forever to get up, eat and get going. While sitting around the fire pit I went up and over our site to use the bathroom and discovered a wonderful back country toilet!
back country toilet for the win!I don’t know why it never occurred to me to make one when I’m out camping but I will from now on because this “toilet” was delightful! It was funny because when I came back I asked the kids if they found it on their explorations to which they said “we thought it was a bridge! We were walking on it and playing on it!” BAH HA HA HA HA HA!
Dark clouds came in before everyone was ready and the sky opened up and began to pour. Bob & Viv had taken their camper to fill it with water so we piled the kids in our car and went to the local store for an ice cream to kill time. When we got back, everyone sat in the tent and ate chips and visited until the rain stopped.
After the rain stopped we finally headed to Surveyor’s Lake where the kids immediately began dock jumping and swimming. The water is pretty shallow and this lake is very warm.
We walked around the lake and checked for turtles sitting on logs in the sun. We counted a total of 18 the whole way around.
Halfway around the lake the kids discovered a dark blue berry that stained their skin red and showed us how they marked up their bodies. Ryan told them they shouldn’t do that but as soon as his back was turned I told the kids to mark up their faces and I added a “scratch mark” to my legs. #wontgrowup!
In keeping with not growing up as we approached the beach I had a great idea that one of the kids should gather a handful of berries and run up to their grandma squeezing them so it looked like they were bleeding. Jasmine volunteered and we all hid behind a bush while we watched her run to Viv with “blood” pouring off her arm yelling “Grandma! Grandma!” Viv of course FREAKED for all of 10 seconds before all our laughing gave away the joke. I was laughing harder than anyone and she knew I must have been the mastermind behind it. The berry juice washed right off in the water.
That evening we decided to go cut down a dead tree for fire wood. You are permitted to cut trees in this area as long as they are dead all the way through. Apollo had been escaping his harness so we zipped he and Rocky into the tent and went off to get wood.
Imagine our surprise when Apollo came sprinting up to us with the biggest smile on his face. Ryan and I were baffled and figured he must have ripped a hole in the bottom of the tent to get out. We went back to find that he had jumped off the cot and through the mesh on the ceiling of the tent!!! Now we have to sew it up and repair it to protect us from mosquitos but we couldn’t believe the escape artist managed that!
After cutting wood we had supper and chatted around the fire. We ate a very late supper so before we knew it, it was dark and everyone was beat from the day. We didn’t worry about the dogs taking off in the night to roll in poo because Rocky went to bed in the tent alone and Apollo was completely passed out at Ryan’s feet by the fire.
I slept once more in the car to escape Ace’s snoring.
I was shocked when Ryan flung open the car door and told me it was 10 am! I had planned to go for my long run that morning and figured I would naturally wake up around 7 or 8- oops! He wanted to be on the road by 1 pm so we spent the morning packing up our stuff before heading to the beach for a couple hours.
We blew up an enormous raft from Costco and I went out with the kids into the middle of the lake where we dropped the anchor and I judged several diving contests. It was a slightly chilly day so I didn’t go into the water and the kids would automatically place last if their dive splashed me at all.
It was overcast so there were no turtle spottings this day.
Before we knew it Ryan paddled out on a borrowed kayak to tell us it was time to go. We went back to the camp site for the dogs. HEADS UP– Surveyor’s Lake does not allow dogs (makes sense with turtles). I want to warn people because someone didn’t know and left their dog in their car.
The ride home was quiet since everyone was beat and they all fell asleep while I drove.
I made everyone wake up though to do a quick pit stop at my favourite bathroom spot Lundbreck Falls.
Lundbreck Falls outhouses are pretty smelly in the summer though (I usually use it in the winter). The kids loved it so much and wanted to stay and explore so I think we’ll be coming out to camp by the falls at some point this summer.
That was our weekend adventure! Hopefully next year, we can get all the Richards kids to come because it’s so fun to watch cousins play together and bond.
Would you use that backcountry toilet? My mum was horrified!
What do you do with a dog who is a total escape artist?