Monday, July 07, 2014

Camping at Manning Provincial Park

This past weekend we went camping at Lightning Lake in Manning Park.  This was our first time camping as a family of five so I was both excited and nervous.  Really the only thing I was nervous about was how the whole sleep thing would go. With Nya.  

The whole camping experience has been a bit of a transition for me because in my head I am a 20 year old backpacker who can climb any mountain, taking all the time I need, and focusing mostly on my own needs.  In reality, I am a tired, out of shape mother of three, that is car camping with children that often misbehave.  Oh ya, and I've transitioned from a light thermarest to a huge blow up double mattress (my 20 year old self would not be impressed!).  Camping now is not quite as fun but it's still memorable :)

That said, Manning Park is so beautiful and the kids would love to go back each year so I think we may make this new a new tradition.  It's really only 2 hours away which is perfect! 

We arrived around 4 pm on Friday and pulled into site 8. Our campsite was in an awesome location and next time we will try to get one just a few sites down to be a touch closer to the bathrooms, playround and beach access. 

The kids all loved this playground (just 3 sites down).  I thought they would play in the forest more, but no, they had to practice their American Ninja Warrior moves. By the way, if someone wants to start a business, that would be it.  Kai would love to be a Junior Ninja Warrior.

Nya could do everything in the playground but just had to be watched a bit.  Next year she'll be totally fine.

Across from the playground was the ampitheatre (we went the first night) and the access to Spruce Bay Beach.  It was just a 2 minute walk to the beach!

Our kids are chickens and would not swim in the cold water.  I'm a chicken too.

Kai took a picture of Gary and I with the DSLR.  First time!  Assistant photographer in training.

We had Fuzz with us. Fuzz was a bear that Gary gave me on the first date he planned for us (we went to Deception Pass). Here he is collecting bottles with Koen.

The first night we just walked 10 minutes to Rainbow Bridge.  People often jump off the bridge.  It is a beautiful walk.  

After our walk, we went to the ampithetre for a talk on the history of the area and then we were in bed by 9 pm that first night.  We had the travel crib set up in the tent for Nya but it was immediately obvious that she would not sleep in it.  She wanted to sleep on the double air mattress with me.  After a few rotations, the travel crib was out and Gary was kicked out of our bed.  We then learned that Koen and Nya had to be on opposite sides of the tent.  Somehow our `huge' 6 man tent seemed like a 2 man tent. So many people in such a small space.  Finally by 10 pm, Nya fell asleep and the boys soon followed.  Remember, she doesn't nap and is up by 7am each day.  This girl has a serious party gene in her.

Nya liked camping but kept saying she wanted to go home.  She missed her Dora (I hate saying that.  Why does she like it so much?!!).  The temperature was perfect with high 20's in the day and 11 C at night.

The next morning, we walked to the lake again and there Kai was doing some more of  his `training'.

And getting the kids involved.

We went to the Day Use area where all of the ground squirrels are.  If you've never experienced them, it's pretty wild.  There are 100's of them that pop up everywhere and get very close to you.  It's cool.  Kai and Koen probably played with them for an hour.

The kids loved roasting hot dog wieners and marshmallows.

We decided to walk around the lake cutting across the middle at Rainbow Bridge.  It was a very nice walk but made a bit more difficult with Nya complaining on my back the whole time.  

There was bear scat every 5 minutes or so.  Definitely a lot of bears in the area.  Good thing Koen never stops talking...keeps the bears away.

The walk takes about one hour and the kids did really well.  Oh how I wish Nya was a year or two older sometimes.

The next morning we got up, packed up, and went across from the main lodge up Blackwell Road about 20 minutes.  Half way up is a lookout.  You see that lake in the background? That's Lightning Lake. 

There were a lot of Yellow Pine Chipmunks and Clark's Nutcracker (birds). 

We then drove to the top to do a short little hike (and find two geocaches) and joined a group on a nature walk with a Naturalist.

We learned that the flowers are in the first bloom and that the really beautiful one with Lupins will happen in August (as the snow just melted).  Some flowers take 25 years to bloom up there.  The root bulbs of the Glacier Lily's are edible.  The First Nations people used to combine lichen and berries and boil it and then dehydrate it and make a type of fruit roll up.  Might have to try that!

Isn't it so gorgeous up there?!

When Gary and I were in our second year of teaching, we were both leaders in our school's Outdoor Club.  The first hike we did was along Heather Trail to the Three Brothers.  It was here that I saw another side of Gary (fun outdoorsy guy who liked to take photos) and a few months later, we were dating!  We got Kai to take a picture of us at the trailhead there:)  Terrible picture of me, but oh well, special place!


Gary: Hiking with Koen (they talked together the whole way around the lake)
Louise: Walk around the lake. Nya falling asleep at night.
Kai: Playground and roasting marshmallows
Koen: Roasting marshmallows and the ground squirrels
Nya: Squirrels (so she says but every time she saw one she would shudder and say `I scared!')

Overall, camping was good.  B.C. is  just so beautiful and I don't think that will ever get old.  I hope that the parenting aspect of camping gets a little easier as they get older because the romance scale was at about a zero.  

Have you been to Manning Park?  Would you go?

Looking forward to more adventure this summer! 


  1. We went to Lightning Lakes in June with my brother and his family. We got the sites right by the park, but the bathrooms weren't open yet and the water wasn't working (it was opening weekend). We loved it just the same.

  2. Great pictures!! Looks like a fun trip.

  3. It looks super beautiful there. May have to be our new campground for next year.

  4. Lovely, Lou! Inspired me... Must go

  5. So awesome!!! Beautiful! Way to go for taking the risk of camping with a young one(s). When we camp, we always stop at coldstream in Manning, just for a stop at the stream, but it's a nice site. I haven't camped in Manning much but I think you can't really lose - looks like you chose a great place :)
    Oh, and it does get easier as they get older. I will say...our group that camps together jokes about ninja sex. I'll leave that with you :)

  6. Very usful post. thanks