Camping is something my parents introduced me to when I was a child. We had a pickup truck with a slide-on camper (Mom and tents are NOPE), and during my school breaks we’d go to places like Two Jack, Waterton, Elkwater, or to secret places along the Old Man River and elsewhere. I’d go fishing with Dad, or hunt for pretty rocks (I should have been a geologist), and otherwise romp around in the wilderness. When we weren’t camping, I would sometimes sleep overnight in the camper while it was parked in the driveway, and later on when I started using a tent, I’d occasionally pitch that in the backyard and sleep there, because camping out is fun no matter where you do it. These days, I still go camping now and then, though not as often as I might like.

I have a lot of fond and amusing memories of past trips, like how it always seemed that the radio station out of Pincher Creek would play Wheel in the Sky, without exception, every time we turned along that last long stretch before arriving in Waterton. Or the time we camped on Crown land but I was too tired to get up to go fishing so Dad went without me, and I woke up later to find the camper surrounded by cows—I was maybe seven years old and freaked because a cow was blocking the door—so I blasted the radio and when I looked again, it was like the cows had evaporated. Totally gone, couldn’t find them anywhere. Didn’t imagine it though… Dad and I had to muck out the campsite when he came back, and we had a good laugh when I said the cows had been looking in the windows. Then there was the time I woke up in the back of the hatchback to find a horse’s butt resting against the window a few inches from my face, because apparently cars are great resting places for weary trail pony bums. (Couldn’t get out that time either.)

Not all trips have gone according to plan though.