Birkenhead Lake

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Birkenhead Lake

Last August, me and two of my girlfriends went camping at Birkenhead Lake for four days. It was stunningly gorgeous and has now taken the top spot as my favourite campground that I’ve experienced thus far.

We were lucky in that we were all able to take time off work to go during the week. I don’t know how busy it gets there on weekends, but it was really quiet while we were there, especially considering how amazing the weather was that week.

On our first day we went down to the lake for a swim and it was really cold! Thankfully we later discovered that we’d been swimming right by where a glacier fed creek runs into the lake. After that we moved further down the beach and it was perfect – and I’m kind of a wuss when it comes to cold water!

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Birkenhead Lake

On our last full day there we decided to go for a little hike and found a path along the edge of the lake. It was absolutely beautiful, and as a bonus, we discovered a private little beach along the path. Next time I go there, I want to pack some food and drinks and head there for the afternoon.

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We found this spot on our hike and thought it was good for a photo op.

After four days of my favourite things – sunshine, lake floating and swimming, camping, and quality time with great friends – we headed home (stopping for brunch of course). I plan to go again this summer and hope to write an even more detailed post about it then.

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This was day one of camping, which you can tell by the condition of my hair. Yours truly on the left and my buddies behind me.

In terms of facilities and logistics – it is not quick to get to, and is down some long dirt roads – but totally worth it. They have outhouses, water pumps and bear proof garbage cans. The rangers are quite adamant about not leaving food and garbage out at your campsite. There are bears in the area, so you must be bear aware and take the necessary precautions. That being said, the biggest animal we came across was the deer that walked through our site. Speaking of sites, I liked the ones here because they are not too close together and are reasonably private. If you have the opportunity to camp here, I highly recommend it. Click the title of this post to go to the park’s site.

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Evening at Birkenhead Lake
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Camping at Harrison Hot Springs

This weekend I went camping for the first time this year. One of my friends was coming up from Seattle and had a bus to catch on Sunday afternoon so we wanted to go somewhere close. We managed to get a rather short notice reservation at Harrison Springs Camping and RV Park. I will post a brief review of this campsite at the end of the post.

Three of us ladies, all seasoned campers, arrived at the campsite on Friday afternoon. It was raining lightly so we set up a tarp and our tents as soon as we got there. It’s a good thing we did because shortly after it started to pour rain, and I mean HARD. I really didn’t think a rain that hard would last very long, but it kept pouring like that all evening and all through the night. We rented a propane ring “fire” to help keep us warm and we huddled under the tarp for several hours.

Tarp set-up before the heavy rains kicked in.
Tarp set-up before the heavy rains kicked in.
Keeping warm around the fire in our funky leggings (left and centre are from sweetlegs.ca and right are from Target).
Keeping warm around the fire in our funky leggings (left and centre are from sweetlegs.ca and right are from Target).

Thankfully I bought my new Eureka Basecamp 4 tent a few weeks ago which kept us totally dry through the all-night downpour. My old tent would have had us floating away. My friend’s tent leaked so she came into my tent as well and it was comfy having all three of us plus some gear in there. I will do a full review of the tent in another post.

My new Eureka Basecamp 4 tent.
My new Eureka Basecamp 4 tent.

Luckily on Saturday the rain stopped and we were able to dry out a little bit. We went into Harrison and spent some time soaking at the Hot Springs pool. After that we had a patio lunch at a nearby pub. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of it. The food was pretty standard pub fare and we had this view of the Dragon Boat race tents:

Patio view of the Dragon Races tents.
Patio view of the Dragon Races tents.

We walked around the town a bit taking in the sites and then we went back to camp. We had planned to do some lake floating but it wasn’t quite warm enough. Saturday’s dinner consisted of bread home made by one of the friends, salad and bolognese pasta made by my other friend. Not bad!

Camp dinner

The campsite had a lot of ducks living there and we would frequently get visitors to help us “clean up” any dropped food.

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Camp ducks

We had brought a bunch of things for entertainment (Bocce ball, Cards Against Humanity, a crib board) but we ended up just chatting the whole time. We don’t get to see each other often so we had lots to chat about! We had a great time.

Happy Campers.
Happy Campers.

Luckily by the time we had to pack up camp on Sunday most of our stuff was dry. Packing up wet tents and tarps is a nasty job so I was pretty happy about that. And we did it just in time too – it started to pour again on the drive home.

Rainy drive home.
Rainy drive home.

It was so nice to get to spend some quality time with my friends outside, despite the horrible weather on Friday night. I was very glad that I decided to bring my waterproof trail shoes at the last minute! Having the right gear makes all the difference.

Review of Harrison Springs Camping and RV Park:

Pros:

  • hot and cold water available as well as a couple of sinks for doing dishes
  • full bathrooms that were kept clean and had free hot showers
  • close to the town
  • friendly host
  • you could rent propane fire rings which are allowed even during a fire ban
  • ducks (some would list this as a con but I thought they were cute and provided comic relief)

Cons:

  • a bit more expensive than a lot of other campgrounds
  • many of the sites were tiny, and some were very much on display to all the campers walking past
  • the sites are very close together so there isn’t a lot of privacy and neighbour’s noise can be a problem at night (we got one of the few sites that was pretty large and set back from the road – site #36 if you ever want to make a reservation there). Most people were pretty quiet at night be we did have noisy neighbours the second night.
  • the propane rings were $40/night, and on the second night our propane ran out at 10pm and the office was closed so we weren’t able to get a new tank.