Day Camping Episode 3

If you’ve been reading my blog posts for any amount of time, you’ll know that we’ve spent a bunch of time camping in winter since 2011, most of it in a warmer climate south of the Canada/US border. We’ve camped in Canada in winter too, but this year, the peeps just weren’t into the issues that arise with staying in a trailer in freezing temps—no water in the system and condensation being the main two. But it didn’t stop us from getting out and day camping.

Camping in the Cypress Hills in March of 2019

The first day camp was in December at Dinosaur Provincial Park, the second in Kananaskis, and the third just last week down at Little Bow Provincial Park. Although the walking was more challenging and interesting at Dinosaur and Kananaskis, Little Bow wins hands-down for weather. It was the only one of three outings when I didn’t end up shaking like a leaf in a prairie wind!

Happy (day) campers

Little Bow is pretty much due south of the farm and, as we travelled Highway 24/23, the snow disappeared from the prairie. By the time we reached the park, there were only a few small patches in very shady places. The lake itself was still frozen, to be expected in March, but the picnic area was sunny, dry , and WARM. In fact, when we finished our walk, Ria and I were both warm enough to seek out some shade.

Nap time with her stick.

Some shared chew time, a nap in the sun, it was like the perfect dog afternoon. Well, at least for this dog. Ria enjoyed some fetch time as well, but I passed on that activity. I was only a fetch dog while I had Logan to compete with for the ball. After he was gone, I lost all interest in chasing balls. It seems so pointless. Now, if the ball was edible …

The only thing better than chew time is shared chew time.

Things did start to cool off as the sun went down but I had a jacket and a fire so the dreaded shivering never struck. This dog is definitely more of a fair-weather camper. I’m just glad spring is upon us because camping trips will only get warmer from here. And if the peeps want to go camping anytime between December and February in the future, whether it’s for the day or overnight, I’m hoping it’s in Arizona!

Jacket time but still cozy by the fire.

Live on Location

It was day camping time for the adventuresome six yesterday and we were down at Little Bow Provincial Park just east of Champion, Alberta. I had this terrific idea to present the Fur-iday Files “live on location” from the park—great idea, right?—but then there was no internet service.

So … instead … I did this …

Bare ground and spring sunshine. Oh, man. Heaven.

And, this morning, I’m feeling inclined to do this …

Short walk but a big day yesterday.

So, I’ll be back next Fur-iday, with the tale of our third installment of winter 20/21 day camping.

PS: In case anyone is concerned about the proximity of the humans in my banner image, this photo was taken pre-pandemic on an outing to Rosebud.

Hot Dogs, Cold Dog

It’s the 22nd of January which means that many winters since 2011 you’d have found us somewhere south of the Canada/US border by now, enjoying the sun and warmth of Arizona or California. We’ve departed Canada in November, in December, and in January, but never this late. Pretty sure that means we’re not going.

It’s the border closure, of course, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, that’s keeping us home this year. I’m mostly okay with the situation. I love home—my favourite beds, trips to the barn, exploring our prairie landscape, and I’m normally included in all outings to town or to the city.

City outings sometimes involve one of these magical places — the drive thru!

A few years ago, I wrote a post about loving snow, and I do. What I’m loving less as I get older is the cold. Logan used to talk about getting cold more easily as he aged and I thought I’d be different, but recent events have changed my mind.

If I’m moving, I am comfortable in almost any weather, even my paws don’t get cold. I stepped into a mountain stream to get a drink on Monday and continued along the trail as before, toes quite comfortable.

Cooling my tongue and my toes in Ribbon Creek.

But, when I stop moving, the chill creeps in quickly, I feel the cold seeping through my camp mat, and the frost crawling into my bones. That’s when I start to shiver, just a little at first, and then it takes over and is like someone hit my vibrate button and turned it to the highest setting.

On Monday, we went on our second “day camping” outing of this stay-at-home winter. I think these day trips are designed to keep us all from getting cabin fever and missing our desert time too much, but I’m not sure it’s working for me. I love the hiking part—there’s nothing quite like a new trail and Ribbon Creek was fantastic—but the picnic in the snow and cold, other than the food, not a huge fan.

Love the exploring part of our day-camping trips.

Evenings can get chilly in the desert at this time of year, and I sometimes need some blanket support, but out in Kananaskis on Monday, I had a woolly coat, was wrapped in a blanket, sitting next to a roaring fire, and still shaking like a leaf. Built for comfort not for cold.

A January late afternoon in Arizona.
A January late afternoon in Alberta.

T’s planning to bring a thicker bed for me on the next day camping adventure, to put more between me and the snow. I’m happy to hear it and hoping it will help, and yet I hate being such a wuss when it comes to cold. I like to think it’s the winters south, not age, that have softened me, but since this is our third winter in a row at home, I’m not sure this theory continues to hold water.

A thicker bed would be nice. And staying on it probably wouldn’t hurt either.

Despite the increasing chill as the sun dropped below the mountains, I did eventually fall asleep, once I’d had a beef chew, two turkey weiners, a few potato chips, and my dinner.