Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Our sleeping huts
Summer's always a busy time where people are coming and going from vacations and summer jobs and various activities here and abroad. Whether it's the Stampede in Calgary, one of the many festivals here in Saskatoon (like FolkFest coming up this week - I'll be dancing at the Greek pavilion), or jetting away to one of Saskatchewan's many lakes, there's always something going on. About a month ago, Darren, a friend of mine who'd moved back to his home town of Kamsack to work at Duck Mountain Provincial Park called me to invite me down camping. Given my large amount of experience camping, I took him up on the offer. Yes, a *lot* of camping experience right here. There was the time I camped on Pacific Ave overnight for Phantom Menace tickets (lots of fun), that time I slept in the backyard of our old Cochin cabin in the tent with some cousins, and I even visited with my cousins for a couple hours on my uncle's deck in Greece in the tent they were staying in when I was there in 2001. So needless to say, camping was a new experience.

More along the lines of what I was expecting
I didn't really know what to expect. I somehow imagined it much more remote and disconnected from society. Sort of a spot in the middle of nowhere. Looking back, my expectations seem ludicrous given it's a park and on a lake, but I really did have this image of wilderness and wandering through it until we found a nice spot to set up our tent and rub some sticks together to make a fire. Instead of being off the beaten path, we were actually off a small gravel road. About a ten minute walk away from a public beach, five minutes from a little ice cream/burger shop (with a really beautiful young lady (yes, that's code for me being too old) working there), a five minute drive from the Manitoba border, and maybe ten minutes from Darren's home, which is actually between Kamsack and the park. Now it's important to remember that all these drive times are at-the-speed-limit estimates. I did no such thing that weekend. In fact, I made the four hour drive to Kamsack in 2.5. Highway 5 is really pretty and also fairly quiet so I had no compunctions about putting some distance between here and me as a friend of mine once put it.

Darren uses his infrared vision to light the fire
So I showed up and by coincidence, Darren was just about to leave as I zipped by his place into the park, so he caught up to me (I had slowed now, since I had no idea where I was going) and took me right to the camp. I put up my tent, we created a fire with a little 'persuasion'. Darren almost lit the jerry can (did you know that the term 'jerry' was British slang for German soldiers, who were the first to use these cans) on fire - the nozzle was burning but luckily the whole thing didn't blow up in his hand. I hung out with him, Nathan, Rachel, and a few other girls who sort of came and went that night and awoke to a LOT of beer cans/bottles on the table. We had some muffins and orange juice for breakfast, went to the beach for a few hours (where there were more lovely and ... less lovely ... girls about) and off to the ice cream shop for a burger and cone. We visited the girls in the 'interpretive centre' and went to check out the bigger beach. We also popped into Kamsack and town to get pillows (which I had forgotten in my preparations) and some ice for our coolers. The weather all weekend was amazing, by the way.

Dusk falls
That night we called it pretty early, the sun having sapped us, but I wasn't really tired, just exhausted. I read for a bit in the tent until it finally got dark around 11 and then I put my head outside the tent and laid there for about half an hour looking at the stars. We get a pretty decent view at home, but this was incredible. Incidentally, the first signs of impending winter have begun. The other day I came home and the northern lights were flashing in probably a 120 degree arc in the night sky over Saskatoon. They were probably the most incredible northern lights I've ever seen, very very bright and lively. Unfortunately, as with my photos of the night sky, these ones didn't turn out either. Monday I came home, but I went for breakfast and hung out with Darren at the beach and around the park for the better part of the afternoon. Just as I finished taking down the tent, the first drop of rain for the whole weekend fell. Talk about a great weekend for camping.

The long road home
As for what is keeping me so busy, well, I'm not entirely at liberty to say, but what I can tell you is that I'll be dancing with the senior group in Folkfest again this year at the Greek pavilion (where else?). Which has meant some practice time and me realizing that the desk life is doing nothing for my fitness. I'm also revitalizing the mix for the deck, lots of new stuff to add and questionable stuff to remove. The problem with adding new stuff is I know that half of it will go from 'cool' to 'annoying' in the course of a year and require the job to be redone yet again. I'm trying to avoid the most annoying of the pop stuff and on the plus side it means getting to add some new indie stuff, so there is a rainbow at the end of the tunnel. Yes, that's right.

And for no reason, the Saskatchewan version of the Windows XP background
Soccer just wrapped up last week since we didn't make the cut for playoffs. Not because we're no good, no no, just that we seem to have a problem completing our plays. Our second-last game was a prime example. We spent 90% of the first half in their end (I want to say 95% but I'll leave a little room for error) and didn't score. We had quite a few good shots, but nothing. They, on the other hand, got two goals against us, and almost three. They had beaten John, who was doing time in net, and shot it and I was behind him to cover and running full tilt. At the last minute I knew I wasn't going to get to the ball in time and sort of dove in front of it and spun my body around. I went to grab the ball as I was laying right behind the line and the ball was ahead of me and about to cross the line, but instead headbutted it (ever seen an egg rolling contest?) and saved the goal. I looked up and shouted "No hands!" and was back on the field to run the ball up. Sadly, my antics were wasted and even more sadly, non-televised. Damn you TSN!

But, I should get doing all those things that are keeping me busy. See you in a week! Don't forget to check out the photo gallery which includes such greats as the Saskatchewan version of the Windows XP Desktop background (shown left).

<Kamsack Camping Photos>



the_dutch said...

kind of odd that i had to check with you for kamsack news. I'll read it in details tomorrow. Interesting to here an outsiders perspective on the town.

Dean said...

Well, on the plus side there is very rarely any news from Kamsack anyway. :)

In fact, there were quite a few residents lined up along the main drag to wave as I drove through on my way to Duck Mountain. Where the %$^#^$ was the confetti?