Camping Adventures

Uncategorized Jul 18, 2023

We’re back from camping (just) and, of course, I have some highlights and stories to share.

Our home in the outdoors was probably the nicest campsite we’ve ever experienced. The Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park is exceptional. There were brand-new hot showers and washroom buildings within a short walk of every campsite loop. Those buildings also had cell phone charging stations and electrical sockets! (Not that we go camping to stay plugged in but it was very nice to be able to charge our phones to continue to take spectacular photos and get directions to hikes and lakes.)

Another wonderful thing about the campground is the rules; no more fires, cannabis or alcohol past 11pm. I am so grateful for those guidelines because it means that only a certain kind of camper chooses to go there; the kind of camper who likes to sleep. It was a tremendous gift. 

For the first time ever, the four of us camped in a palatial tent. Usually, we use our backpacking tent which is a cozy fit but Paul had a giant 9-person tent donated to his school so we gave it a whirl. It was amazing for things like standing at full height while changing and doing sun salutations (yes I brought my yoga mat and was delighted that it fit in the tent). 

Those were the upsides. On the adventurous, good-story-once-it’s-finished side, the tent was not best friends with the gale-force winds that swooped down the mountain on night #3. More on that in a moment. 

Night #1 brought some pretty intense thunderstorms. The lightning was so bright that even though my eyes were closed, it felt like my whole brain was lit up with every strike. The thunder rumbled for so much longer than in a city as it echoed around the mountain valley. The heavens opened and released 17 years' worth of raindrops (probably not really but it sure sounded like it). During the break in the rain at 2:30am, we all ran to the luxurious bathrooms and then were able to sleep intermittently until morning.

Night #2 was uneventful and uninteresting for our purposes here, although we slept well. 

Back to Night #3. Thanks to the wonderful rules, the campground quieted down at 11pm, we wrapped up our card game of Knock (or 31) and drifted off. Just a few hours later, a huge gust of wind caused me to stir and moments later, I was startled into confused awakeness when a tentpole and my side of the tent fell on me. Paul didn’t wake immediately so I called out his name and he rescued me from being pinned to the ground. We both jumped up and braced ourselves against the corner and side poles to hold them up. Sheets of rain started falling, along with cracks of thunder and lightning. We wondered what we could do because it took all of our might to counteract the wind.

Paul raced out into the storm to find a solution and I yelled to the kids to see if they were okay. Apparently, Zoe’s side of the tent had also collapsed on her. She didn’t seem too concerned. Meanwhile, Oakley desperately told me that he had to go to the bathroom immediately. I put on all my rain gear and we left Paul to fend for himself for a few minutes. 

Oakley and I ran down the path through the chaotic weather and I felt like I was in a scene in a war movie (although there wasn’t really any danger; it was just that I was running with my glasses on, shielding my face from the elements and it was like I was seeing it all through the eyes of a movie camera where the cameraman films while running - it was bumpy). 

When we returned to the tent, Paul was pounding more tent pegs into the ground and securing extra ropes to the picnic table. I asked if he needed help but thankfully he declined so we climbed back into the tent and took off our soaking layers. 

Eventually, Paul finished battening down the hatches and climbed back inside. The wind continued to whip around for at least another hour and we took some time to do some deep breathing to help our nervous systems return back to normal. 

I told my brain that it could sleep through all the noisy sounds of the storm and some time later, I fell back asleep. 

You would never guess that we would have the most peaceful and tranquil canoeing experience just a few hours later, but that’s what happened. 


The mountains are like life. You really must go with the flow and adapt to changes very quickly. They are such great teachers that help you not get too attached to any plans you had (such as sleeping through the night) and they call upon you over and over to be resourceful and present.

As I wrote in our family travel journal, I love camping and I also love not camping. I love being outside in nature and seeing things like loons in the lakes, elk grazing right near our tent and the clear skies that appeared on Day 5 after 4 days of smoke from forest fires. Coming back home is also a tremendous gift and our gratitude is amplified for things that we normally take for granted, like a bathroom that is just steps (rather than a stroll) away in the wee hours of the morning.

Probably the best part of the trip was all the time we got to spend together as a family. We hiked, canoed, wandered around the town of Jasper, visited a variety of aquamarine-coloured lakes, spent time on a dock, had picnics, hugged trees, read by the fire and played cards. We even attempted to sing some campfire songs in a round (we still need practice on that one). I love the closeness that braving the elements together instigates. It was a gift to slow down together and connect. 

May you also have a week of slowing down and connecting deeply.

With mountainous love and wild courage,


>Creator of Courageous Self-Care

>So grateful for my heroic husband

>Happy to be back with all my supplements, health foods and smoothies. On our drive back, we stopped at a place that offered all sorts of brown foods for exorbitant prices; hotdogs for $28!!! I couldn’t buy anything there on principle, even though I was very hungry. 

Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park. It’s gourmet! Although it holds hundreds of campers, it doesn’t feel like it at all. 

As I mentioned earlier, they have wonderful rules in place that ensure quiet nights (apart from storms, 6am crows and the like) and their amenities make camping totally luxurious. They even have a couple of food trucks onsite should you want Mexican food or morning beverages and baked goods. 

There are cook shelters for every loop, playgrounds, a big field and an amphitheatre with nightly talks and interactive presentations (which my kids did not want to see). Not sure why they weren’t interested in Claw and Order… oh well. 

On our canoe trip, we stopped at the far tip of the lake by a little bridge. We left our bright red canoes on the bank and walked up into the forest. There we found a most magical place. Water rushed through some rapids making that wonderful trickling laughing happy rushing sound. As we stood on the bridge, butterflies started to flock towards us. Orange and brown ones, yellow ones, and black and white ones fluttered by as if they were welcoming us. Sun filtered through the trees and it was just absolutely lovely. 

In honour of that special place, here is a song we listened to on the way back during our 5+ hour drive. 

Zoe loves Aurora, a Norwegian singer-songwriter, who sang the high-pitched tune in Frozen 2. Her voice is haunting and her music style is very unique. Enjoy this short little song about Butterflies that she sings with Tom Odell and let yourself be enveloped by the enchanting ambiance. 

Listen to Butterflies on Spotify

Listen to Butterflies on iTunes