10 Reasons Why Taking A Seasonal Camp Site Led To Me Having One of the Best Summers of My Life!

It could’ve easily gone the other way.

If we’d had a rainy summer, if we had neighbours who played loud rap until all hours of the morning (nothing against rap – just not my idea of campground music), if we hadn’t been able to get out to our site as much as we did, if I’d cut off my foot chopping wood after a few beers…the reasons our decision to try a seasonal camp site could’ve been a disaster are long and varied. 🙂

But, as I’ve said to a few people as summer’s been coming to a close, things could not have lined up better to create a perfect summer.

Here’s why…

  1. We knew seasonal camp sites had many advantages and I listed 10 of them at the very start of summer. But it all starts from the fact that we managed to get drawn for a seasonal site in the first place.  We put our name in at a number of provincial and regional parks last winter knowing that there are always more applications than spots so nothing was guaranteed.  But we ended up getting drawn in the park lottery for one of our highest ranked camp sites at the provincial park that’s closest to Regina and on the edge of the Qu’Appelle Valley, quite close to where I grew up and not far from where we have our farm to this day.
  2. The site we ended up in (Valley View #68) was close to the playground and Service Centre (but not too close), on the end of a row so we only had seasonal neighbours on one side of us and the site behind and across from us were for nightly campers so we had a rotation of different neighbours pretty much every weekend.  Plus we only saw one other nearby seasonal camper three times the entire summer so that made our location even more private feeling.
  3. We introduced ourselves to the people in the seasonal site beside us on May long weekend as they were moving in (we’d moved in the weekend before when you were allowed to move your RV in but not yet stay overnight) and it turned out that not only did our seasonal neighbours at the campground live within six blocks of us in the city but they had two girls including one who was the same age as Sasha. Sasha and Brynn become instant best friends (the picture above is from the day they met!) and we even accelerated our plans to move Sasha from another location of our daycare provider so she could be at the same one as her new friend who was at the daycare’s other location!
  4. As the summer went on, we also got to know many of the other seasonal campers including another nearby couple who also had two young girls and all four of whom became part of our “summer family” as well.
  5. By having a lot of kids her age nearby, Shea and I (and Pace as well) didn’t have to entertain her much at all this summer as Sasha freely ranged between a bunch of different camp sites and whichever adult was nearby would keep half an eye on the kids.  (We realised how important this was on the one weekend when neither of our seasonal friends were there with their kids and Sasha suddenly became *much* more needy of our attention!)

    It definitely was a warm summer for (Saskatchewan),” Wenckstern said. Temperatures rose above 30 C on 12 days, and there were plenty of days with temperatures in the high 20s as well, she added – Regina Leader Post (September 15, 2017)

  6. It was an incredibly hot, dry summer which gave us all the advantages that brings – beyond simply enjoying sunny weather most days, we had very few bugs through the entire summer, no mud being tracked into our camper or reason to stay inside watching movies (or even to skip going to the campground completely if it was really wet) plus perfect conditions for afternoon beer drinking most days! 😉  (On a related note, I made a conscious decision to *not* be so conscious of my eating and drinking and to just enjoy the summer.  That meant that I regularly joked that my summer diet was “chips and beer”, I think that our summer booze bill might legitimately rival the fee we paid for the site itself, my dad thinks I need to go to rehab, and I know that I’m about 10lbs heavier than when when we went to Mexico last February! (Guess we’ll have to start planning another winter getaway to give me incentive to lose the weight once again!)  Oh, and we didn’t get the bad side of the hot weather, at least right until the end.  Unlike some campgrounds (including Buffalo Pound which is one we could’ve ended up at), Echo didn’t have a fire ban until the very last weekend of the summer whereas some of those other campgrounds that weren’t far away from us, had fire bans all summer. 🙁
  7. We had numerous visitors over the summer – both my parents and Shea’s parents camped with us multiple times as well as various other friends and relatives popping by for afternoon or evening visits throughout the summer. We also knew a few others who were staying at the campground, both overnight and seasonal, including co-workers, people we know from our volunteer activities and various other connections. In terms of visitors, we even got really brave and allowed Pace to invite not just one but two friends for one entire weekend! (Luckily, that was also a weekend Shea’s parents came to camp with us so we had an extra set of eyes to watch the boys *and* Grandpa Dennis’ truck to pick them up when they decided to ride their bikes *down* a steep hill into the valley!)
  8. Unlike other years where our camping consisted of booking a week or two of holidays that we look forward to, enjoy when they happen and then they’re over, this year, we took holidays throughout the summer – no extended periods longer than a week but, working with our existing schedules and stat holidays, we took enough days off that almost every weekend turned into a three, four, or even five day weekend which made it feel like our entire summer was a holiday in a way.
  9. Every weekend had something new or different as a focus or activity – one weekend, we might try the skate park in Fort Qu’Appelle.  Or walk down to watch the Sask Express touring production for “Canada 150”.  Or have a potluck with our neighbours. Or go swimming at the beach.  Or kayaking. Or go on a nature hike. Or set-up a paddling pool that was big enough for adults to use.  Or do a Sunday drive around the lake.  Or have a picnic lunch in the tenting campground when it wasn’t busy during a weekday.  Or take in an arts festival.  Or bring a sno-cone machine to make iced treats for the kids (and margaritas for the adults!) Or attend the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s “Symphony Under The Sky” event (pictured) at the Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site.  There were times we just hung out at our campsite too! 😉
  10. At my work, a perfect storm of staff leaving for other internal and external jobs, an extended medical leave for one employee and various other similar issues meant that we were as short this summer as I can remember any branch being in my near-decade at RPL.  But weirdly, the extra stress and work that this caused when I was at work made the time spent away from work even more enjoyable.  There was no better feeling than driving through the gates of the park and feeling all my worries about work and any other stuff going on at home fall away!

On our last full day together yesterday, the campers we’d become closest to got together to listen to the Rider game, drink copious amounts of booze and have a potluck meal, play catch with a football in the nearly deserted campground (most people left after September long including many seasonal campers even though we can technically stay until the end of September), have water balloon fights with the kids, listen to music (including one of our many unofficial summer theme songs).  The night ended with a group singalong as all kids and adults spontaneously joined hands to dance in a circle and there were hugs, kisses and possibly a few tears as well.

It’s been an amazing summer for so many reasons.  Now, I can only hope that we find a similar magic next year!

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