Last weekend was a long weekend in Canada for Monday’s holiday, Victoria Day. It turns out this holiday is to honor the birthday of Queen Victoria (although it is not necessarily on her actual birthday each year – thanks Queen V for allowing us to celebrate your birthday such that we get a long weekend). It is apparently considered the unofficial start to summer in Canada (such as Memorial Day weekend – this weekend – is in the US) and is also called the May two-four weekend. It often occurs around May 24th but the real reason for this name is the slang term for a case of beer here – a two-four – for the twenty four tasty beverage cans that come inside and are often enjoyed on this holiday weekend.
So I set out with a meet up group (great website for finding cool people to do cool activities with, by the way, and it is available in many different cities in the US and Canada – not sure if it’s anywhere else in the world) for Rissers Beach Park near Petite Riviere, Nova Scotia.
I gave a ride to a new friend, Rachel, originally from the UK, and we arrived around mid-day Saturday to meet up with everyone else. The campground, and our two campsites (#9 & #10), were right on the beach so they were beautiful!!! But the camping trip in general can be summed up as:
Luckily I have a very nice Marmot sleeping bag from my days of family camping in our pop-up camper when I was younger and a nice Thermarest backpacking mattress that was my college graduation gift from my parents. But even with that, after a cold first night of waking up every couple hours to shiver myself back to sleep, I had to wear two pairs of wool socks, spandex pants, sweatpants, under armor shirt, t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, rugby polo, windbreaker, puffy vest, beanie/toque, sleeping bag liner, with the full mummy bag and a pair of hand warmers left over from this years ski season to keep warm enough to sleep through the second night. But then I slept great! And due to all the layers, I couldn’t really move so it was probably similar to being in the womb – again, great sleep. Although I assume that in the womb you don’t often get a little nip of Jameson to help warm you up before going to sleep. I mean apple juice – the park has a ban on alcohol until July to prevent students from coming down and partying after the school year ends. Yes, ‘warm apple cider’ before bed for a nightcap…
Me, being the savvy and experienced camper that I am, brought bagels for breakfasts (to be toasted on the campfire), peanut butter and jelly to make sandwiches for lunches, and hot dogs (also for campfire roasting) with ketchup for dinners, along with some apples, baby carrots, and gluten free snack-y items (cheetos and cocoa loco bars) for in between. This was all delicious and worked out great, plus had the added benefit that if I ran out of ice or it was really warm out (didn’t turn out to be a problem on either count), could all survive being only partially refrigerated. But what I didn’t realize was that I was going to be hanging out with the fanciest gourmet camping chefs I have ever met. Here is a sampling of some of the spread…
After the smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers with lemon zest on toast made on a backpackers stove in the woods off the mountain biking trail, I was slightly embarrassed by my hot dogs. At least I got the ‘natural selections’ kind to make them a little fancier – although that was more because they said gluten-free on the package and weren’t much more expensive than the store brand. But everyone was very nice to the poor little graduate student and shared their fancy foods. In fact I had to lay down on the ground by the fire for about ten minutes on Sunday night after a severe episode of overeating.
To fill the days,
We wined (Petite Riviere Vineyards Tasting!)
And, as I mentioned previously, we dined (not just ate) our way through a lovely, although rather chilly weekend of camping.
And this was not a bad spot to wake up in either:
Luckily the rain held off until we were just about to leave on Monday morning, giving us just enough time to pile in our cars and head to a bakery in La Have for some coffee and souvenir shopping. I just window shopped due to my student budget but picked out what I would have bought had I had money (and cats that don’t eat things).
But actually, my real souvenir choices would have been between this little wood + fuzz lion (unfortunately it looks very similar to a few cat toys I have but look how cute he is!!!!) and a cool art-y print of whale jumping out of the water. I took a picture instead…
Thanks Michele, Shabana, Amanda, Rachel, Neil, Jim, Lori, and Arnold for a fun weekend!