This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

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Saturday 26 September 2015


Looking back on our Algonquin trip I'm puzzled by the actions of some campers. Maybe I'm expecting more or maybe I just have fond memories of yesterday, who knows. Let me explain.

We love camping and have done so all over North America and even some in Europe. My parents bought me my first tent when I was 10. It was made of canvas, had wooden poles, no floor and no netting. The mosquitos had free access to everyone and if you touched the roof it leaked. But it was great for backyard sleepovers and car trips when I was old enough to drive. I've done a lot of camping.

Most folks head to our provincial and national parks to enjoy the scenery and experience life at a slower, quieter pace not always available in our busy lives these days.

In the 70s parks started to install electrical outlets in many of their sites. It was in response to demands that campers made for more conveniences, more services, the urbanization of our campgrounds.

Now I admit I love our current trailer, complete with propane stove, fridge and furnace. It has a water heater and a queen size bed, a shower and holding tanks. We are comfortable and dry regardless of the weather outside. So I'm not adverse to comforts especially as I age and no longer get excited about sleeping on an air-mattress, you know, the ones that go flat in the night.

But lately I see people hauling stuff to their campsite that really puzzles me.

Last year the guys next to us brought their portable hot-tub. I wonder if they were there to enjoy and experience the unique natural features the park offered or simply replicate their urban lifestyle in a park setting. Did they take as much effort to hike the trails and paddle the lakes as they took to set up  the hot-tub and haul it home? Did it enhance their experience, I'm not sure. But it reveals a new trend in camping one that puts the focus on "man made" and negates the gifts nature gives.

This year same experience different scenario.  The park was full of campers, mostly senior citizens, there to enjoy the fall colours, sit around the campfire and marvel at the stars and chat with friends. It's something Canadians have been doing for over a hundred years.

But this year the night sky was obliterated, replaced by a strobe light show from a campsite just down the road.  I do mean obliterated, as this gadget spun a multitude of colours in every direction, bathing, not just the trees in his campsite but in those two down and across from him. It lit up the night better than a search light. Yes another toy to plug in and impress their friends with. 

I'm sure they thought everyone would enjoy watching the trees sparkle at night deep in the heart of Algonquin Park but we didn't come to see trees sparkle but to see the stars we can't see at home. 

Not sure if the campers who came from Poland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, Britain or Denmark were there for the light show, I didn't get a chance to ask. I suspect they would have stayed home and saved their money if a light show was all that was offered. We don't travel to see what's available downtown, but what is unique to the location. That's why Algonquin is such an international destination in the fall; the colours are spectacular and unique to its location.

If a strobe light show is what turns your crank, stay home and enjoy it in your own backyard; not in our national parks. Oh, wait a minute, your town has a bylaw prohibiting such shows because your neighbours might complain. I should have known there was a reason you brought it camping, it's the only place you can use it.

Just my thoughts on the subject.


  1. We agree wholeheartedly!! We don't even like radios, as the volume is usually cranked up and we would much prefer the natural sounds, such as birds, etc!