B.C. Created 600 New Reasons to Go Camping in 2019; Here are Two More

Whether you want to relax or challenge yourself, camping is a versatile experience that almost everyone can appreciate

Lounging by the fire at Gambier island off of Horseshoe Bay. (Cristian Hobson-Dimas)

Last month, B.C. announced that nearly 600 new campsites will be created in parks and recreation sites across the province. This is in addition to the 431 campsites constructed last year, bringing our two-year net gain of campsites to 1,025. 

Now, if camping isn’t something you do much, you’re probably missing out. All it really takes is for you to coordinate some friends, find an available campsite, set a date, and go. Let me take this opportunity to tell you about two B.C. sites that convinced me that anyone can have fun camping.

Lightning Lake in E.C. Manning Park

This is probably the most common kind of camping, and my personal favourite—the lawn chairs and beer pong type. If you go with people you love, it’s impossible not to have a great time.

You can drive right up to your campsite, no hiking required. There are a few amenities for convenience and copious amounts of nature. Last year, my campsite was a four-minute walk from the east shore of Lightning Lake.

In a nutshell, we day drank. We kayaked and canoed. We spent less time on our phones. We opened up more than we normally would. We listened to music by the beach. We shared meals around campfires. We played games like king’s cup and werewolves all day and night. Our laughter filled the forest.

We took photos, not just for the ’Gram, but to commemorate the fun we had. After a couple of nights, we all went home back a little refreshed and more than a little nostalgic.

Joffre Lakes Trail

This is more of a character-building kind of hike and campsite. It’s good for when you feel restless and are up for a rewarding challenge.

You’ve probably seen the dreamlike Joffre Lake on your Instagram feed or on r/earthporn. The whole park includes three lakes, all at different elevations on a mountain. The only campsites are at third lake.

The hike up is physically demanding, especially if you plan to camp, because you’re going to be hauling gear on foot. Dress warm, too, even in the summer.

I can’t explain the gratification of hiking up a mountain all day to be able to set up your own bed and shelter next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

Afterward, you return to normal life and take less for granted. You realize how convenient everything is, from the bed you wake up in to food that is stored and ready for preparation.

This campsite forces you into being a more thoughtful person because preparation and care needs to be put into everything. You’ll be asking yourself questions like, “How am I going to see at night without electricity?” and “Do I have enough food to last me for a few days?” These kinds of trips help affirm that you are a capable human being in the most practical and primal senses.

Taking many trips over the years has taught me that the best way to experience camping is to do it ritually. Even if it’s just one weekend out of the year, go with as many of the same people as you can. The friendships grow over time and it stops mattering who brought what beer or who forgot to pack properly. All that matters is that you’re present and ready for the adventure that every camping trip inevitably becomes.

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