As if biking to our campsite wasn’t a big enough challenge, we decided to tent camp as well for the first time. We’re pretty urban and enjoy our creature comforts of good coffee and comfortable pillows, but we were up to give it a try. Tent camping seemed like one of those childhood experiences that everyone needs to do at some point.
After a “test camp” in our backyard, we were ready to tackle the “great outdoors” albeit with some inflatable air mattresses. An achey backed parent is not a fun parent.
We rolled into our campsite at Parc de Plaisance and got set up. Tent design seems to have gotten a lot better since my youth and we had the tent popped up within minutes. Out rolled the sleeping bags and mattresses. Easy peasy.
And we all put our bug spray on. The mosquitoes were plentiful and hungry.
We cooked our food on a little portable gas stove. It worked really well. We cooked a combination of packaged freeze dried meals (better than they sound), pasta, popcorn and even pancakes all on the little flame. Much easier than getting a campfire set up.
Since we used a lot of energy with biking – we always added more carbs to the packaged meals by cooking extra rice or pasta. We love our carbs.
We unhitched the trailers from our bikes and set off to explore the park. Alden rode on the back of the MinUte which proved to be the ideal kid transport vehicle for the weekend.
First stop – the floating boardwalk.
We had a good walk around our camp area and then settled in for the night. We needed to be up early the next morning for the bike and turtle tour.
Yes – a bike tour to a turtle nesting site. Technically, kids had to be over 12 to join the tour so that they could keep up on their bikes, but with the MinUte, we didn’t need to worry about that since Alden rode along at our speed on the back deck.
The first part of the tour required a pontoon ride to another area of the park. The pontoon is set up for cyclist shuttling with side rails serving as bike parking. Roll on, roll off. Easy.
We learned about the work being done to protect turtles along the highway and within the park. Our guides explained how the new gravel bikes paths in area affected the turtles (and their predators). Turtles were digging holes in the bike path and predators were using the path as a turtle egg eating buffet line. Problems. But they seem to be working that out by protecting more nesting sites and adding nesting “buffer zones”.
Those snapping turtles were big. And snappy.
There was an option to bike the 10km back to the main part of the park, but we opted for the speedy and comfortable pontoon again.
After a lunch time picnic, we ticked off another “Canadian to-do” item by renting a canoe. We are not great boatists and after 45 minutes “on the water”, I was ready to hang up the paddles.
We rode the bike trail back to the campsite, cooked dinner, and told stories in the tent looking out of the “sunroof” and onto the trees. We popped more popcorn and settled in for our last night. On Sunday night, we had the area to ourselves. Everyone had returned home for the start of the workweek.
The next morning, we packed up our trailer and rolled our way home. But not before one last turtle sighting.
Overall, we’d give our Parc de Plaisance experience top marks. Between the complete bike paths throughout the park, range of activities and friendly staff, we couldn’t have asked for a better holiday and first camping experience.
Now, to fix a persistent squeak that developed in my front wheel. Hmmm.
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