Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pacific Playgrounds 2010

I can't promise a visual extravaganza to match David Batista's, but we are back home, photos downloaded, and ready to share.

This was our fourth consecutive year in the Black Creek neighborhood. For the first two expeditions Miracle Beach Provincial campground was great for tenting, but with the trailer last year we were looking for somewhere with hook-up facilities. We struck gold with Pacific Playgrounds, and had no hesitation in returning there for a longer stay this year.

The campground makes the corner between the beautiful Oyster River and the sandy expanse of Saratoga Beach. In the end, apart from walking Gypsy, we only made it to the beach once this time. The river was a much greater attraction. It was running higher than this time last year, high enough to go tubing down the rapids beside the campground. After the hasty acquisition of some proper river tubes, this was our main activity most days.

The river offered things other than swimming and tubing. There's a short trail down the far side which leads down to the headland, where we cycled one day.

And upstream the kids found freshwater crayfish. Tubes abandoned in favor of nets, they eventually returned with just enough to be worth putting on the barbecue.

Because we enjoyed the river so much, we only made two real excursions off site.

The first was to Mt. Washington, and the stunning Paradise Meadows. To protect the fragile ecosystem and keep people on track, they've laid miles of boardwalk. There are lots of more serious hiking trails further up, but we found these short loops of trail more than enough for one day.

After lunch, the kids spotted the bungee trampoline at the base of one of the ski lifts.

Another day we paid a visit to Seal Bay regional park. Walking through the trails one side of the park, the kids found themselves in huckleberry heaven. They spent so long picking fruit that we made only slow progress. On the other side, we hit the trail down to the beach. The path wound down through a deep, fern-filled valley that looked like something from The Land That Time Forgot. We had the eerie feeling that a dinosaur could emerge at any moment.

We were fortunate to have ideal weather for our whole stay. There was a threat of rain towards the end of the week, but it held off until the day after we got home, when it poured all day. Not bad timing. We needed it though. The one unusual meteorological phenomenon we encountered was an evening of smoky haze drifting from the wildfires in the Interior. Hope the rain has helped dampen things down.

Back to work tomorrow. I'm resisting checking email ahead of time, I don't want to know how many hundred unread messages are waiting for me. All in good time. I want to enjoy my last day of freedom.

4 comments:

  1. LOL! Thanks for the plug, Ian. :)

    Looks like you and the fam had loads of fun. Great pictures! The river tubing is right after my own heart -- wheeee!

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  2. We had a great time, David. We all love outdoor activities and Canada is a fabulous place to indulge. Some day we'll have to take the kids proper white-water rafting. Ali & I enjoyed it when we visited the country years ago and would love to give it another go.

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  3. Looks like a great trip! Love the pic with all the ferns. What a beautiful area!

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  4. It certainly was, Jean, and we are seriously spoilt for beautiful parks and trails in our neck of the woods.

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