Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Camping at the Pinery

The Pinery is known for it's long stretch of beach. There's also a river called the Old Ausable Channel, where you can canoe and kayak. It's also a good site for fishing. 


My family goes camping every year. It's a summer tradition that spans for about 8 years now. We left on Thursday and left on Sunday morning. This year, we went together with our friends from the Indonesian Church community (Umat Katolik Indonesia). Our campsites are separate but we came together for mass at the amphitheatre and had a massive potluck together on Saturday. Many people from the community (over 100 people) came for a day trip to join us. 

I wanted to take a lot more pictures but as usual, I got lazy. But I'll try to sum up the trip as best as i can with the pictures I did take. 

It took us about 2.5 hours to get to the campground. It's a pretty short drive than what we're used to. Our CR-V was also packed with stuff, so we were pretty much like sardines in a can. Once our campsite was vacant, we set up right away. 

I tied this purty knot :P
 


After we set up our tent, we had to put up tarps to protect against rain. Rain was on the forecast everyday and we didn't want to get our tents flooded or anything like that. The tent took less than 20 minutes to set up, but the tarps were a lot trickier--if you've ever gone camping and needed  to set up tarps, you will understand this. We had to find suitable trees to secure the tarps, and this was tricky--you need to find the right height and angle to get the best coverage. We were lucky that our campsite had trees close to each other, but other campsites weren't so lucky. 
Here's the inside of our tent. 
Our campsite
My parents at the shores of the Old Ausable Channel. There was this overhanging tree and people would climb to the top and jump off into the channel. I also got my fishing lure stuck up there once, luckily one of the swimmers were able to climb up and retrieve for me. That was very nice of them. 
 The first day was basically spent on fishing from the shore. We caught mostly panfish, catfish and perch but they were small. These photos were taken on the P&S by my brother. 

And then...we spotted a snapping turtle right in front of us! That thing was massive! It was just staring at the fish going back and forth and didn't seem to go for them. But then when my brother caught a catfish, it chased it and took a big chomp at it. In the end the turtle broke the line and devoured the poor catfishy. 

Around sunset, we went to the beach. The sunset was unremarkable though. There were barely any colours. At this time, I also found out that I forgot my tripod at home. I also left my GND filters back at the campsite. It was actually pretty mad at myself for leaving the all-essential tripod at home. But over the next few sunsets, I actually found that I didn't actually need it. 
 
The beach was pretty nice actually. It was like an ocean beach too--plenty of waves and the water was clear. Even though it's a lake, you couldn't see anything on the horizon. That was the end of the first day.

 It rained a little bit in the early morning of the second day. Once we freshened up, we made breakfast. Coffee or tea was your choice of beverage. For the main feast, we had Campbell's Chunky soup (essential in camping trips of course) with Twistos for crunch and toasted pandesal for some heft.
Clean water for washing was available from taps
 
Twistos and cherries for snacking. 
 Brother taking out the mosquito racquet.  

 
Dad eating lunch out of the frying pan, lol. 
  We spotted a stick-insect on our tent pole and we went to put it back on a tree. Pretty cool eh? I've never seen one in the wild before. 
There were a bunch of these guys on the ground (must've been blown off by the wind). I flipped the 50mm lens to try to take a macro shot but not everything is in focus.
 It's sunset time! This was the best sunset yet. After an hour of swimming around, I pulled out the camera and GND filters. This was my first time using them. You can see on some shots that they're not perfectly aligned. I stacked 3 of them (0.3+0.6+0.9) and I think it was too much. The sky wasn't really this magenta--it was caused by the filters (I bought them on eBay). These shots were pretty much straight-out-of-camera. I didn't touch the saturation or anything. I just adjusted the shadows and tried to reduce the dark spots caused by the GND filters.
 My favourite shot so far. The black spots are people in the water. 
 You can really see the GND filter's effect on this photo. Some like it some don't. I personally like it. 
All the sunset shots were handheld. That's the end of the second day. 
 We headed to a different section of the beach. They had massive dunes leading up to the water. It was brutally hot. It's like we were literally in the desert. It's pretty amazing how landscapes quickly change from one to another.
My family minus me.
After the little beach visit, we pretty much did nothing--the heat was unbearable and we didn't want to go swim in the middle of the day. We spent about 3-4 hours napping and doing nothing at the campsite while we waited for the mass and potluck. 
 We had mass in the outdoor theatre. 
Father Aegi handing out songsheets before the mass.

 I didn't take pictures during the mass or potluck, sorry. Basically, there were a lot of people and a lot of food. There were also wild turkeys running around in the grass adjacent to us. We ate really fast as we were rushing to catch the sunset at the beach but we were pretty disappointed. It was very cloudy and there was literally no sunset. It proceeded to thunderstorm that night--obviously I couldn't show you that either. The lighshow was pretty incredible though. 

The last day was pretty uneventful--we had to clean up everything real quick because it was starting to rain again. After we packed up everything, we headed for home. 
  I was pretty bored in the car so I started taking pictures of sideroads. I thought they were pretty interesting.  It gave me a little perspective about how it'd feel to live in a rural area. The drive back was pretty uneventful--we stopped at McD's to eat lunch and that's about it. 

Overall, camping was alright. I've heard a lot of good things about this campground and it sort of delivered. The beach was pretty amazing, but we got so bored by the third day. We basically ran out of things to do. It's probably because it was so hot while we were there and we didn't feel like doing anything. I was also disappointed by the sunsets, but who can really predict that? Would I go there again? Sure, but definitely not for 4 days. I'd probably give the overall experience about 6.5/10. If you want a sure winner, I'd suggest Killbear or Killarney Provincial Park. Those two are my favourites thus far. 

Thanks for reading!

-e.m. 

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