Car Camping or Canoe Camping?

I’m blogging to you live from my blow up couch at the Miles Roches Campground on the Long Sault Parkway. For a myriad of complicated reasons, we did not go Canoe tripping this year and to assuage my Camping bug, I planned a short trip to an area I’d biked through twice with the Bike Rally. 

It’s a stunning little piece of the St. Lawrence River shoreline. It consists of a series of islands connected by causeways and the whole thing is basically one big camp ground/recreation area. We are currently looking out at a northern channel of the river toward the mainland. The site is simple and a little muddy but there is adequate shade and lots of birds to look at out over the water. 

I had not car camped in about 5 years and we had all the gear, kitchen, two burner Coleman, tiki torches, the whole shebang. “Why not glamp for once?” I wondered. So here we are. 

An image of an Ash tree in the water's edge.
An Ash tree!!! We don’t have those anymore in Milton.

Now I will relate my observations about this whole experiment in doing it the so called easy way. 

First of all, car camping makes me lazy because I just think, “It’s car camping, whatever I’ll take it.” Of course this means the over packing was epic. Back country tripping narrows the focus and it is actually EASIER to plan because you only take what you need and then you try to do with even less because you have to carry it! Setting up camp was hard precisely because we had so much stuff. 

Looking towards the back seat of a car with grey interior. A smiling panting yellow lab is centered and surrounded by camping gear in blue plastic boxes.
Too much stuff and one super cute dog

Second, it is such a gift to trust the water. In Algonquin, as long as I boil it or filter it, no problem. Here? Germs are the least of my worries. You can’t boil out all the toxic waste in this river so water becomes a chore. Getting water from a bathroom sink while camping is depressing to me.

Third, oh for my privacy. While back country camping if I want to take my shirt off or skinny dip, in I go. If someone canoes by and I’m feeling modest, I stay under water. Simple. Here? Nope. I joked with my partner that there will be no camping sex because it would be like doing it in the kitchen while the kids are watching TV in the living room. Nope. 

Fourth, what do we do all day? We slept in then we ate and then we went for a run (no bikes because of the dog). That was great. I know there is this thing where you “relax” but it somehow doesn’t feel earned if I haven’t canoed or hiked for 3 hours to get there. That’s just me. The run did help even thought it was a bit melty on the pretty road. 

Fifth, drinking, it all leads back to drinking and as people who are really trying not to do that any more, it’s weird to notice the cup holders and insulated pockets on all the things that just scream “PUT A COLD BEER IN HERE!!” We looked after some dude’s dog while he biked to the liquor store this morning and ended up with a Radler because he insisted on reciprocating with beer. I drank it. And wrote this blog. But I will regret that when I try to cook dinner because doing that sucks the life out of me. This would never happen in the back country.  Beer is heavy. 

My conclusion is that while it is lovely here and I do not regret coming, I prefer to canoe in rather than drive to my camp sites. This sort of adventure has lots to recommend it but it’s like all the hastle of camping with a lot less of the pluses. Your mileage may vary. Enjoy the summer!

A frame of a woman's face at sunset. In the background is the multicolor sky over a large river.
Beautiful river.

2 thoughts on “Car Camping or Canoe Camping?

  1. I found out another thing about the area and why it is so curious. It was flooded in 1958 to create the seaway. This explains the causeways between the islands. It was all artificial so they just wrecked whatever. I was talking to my mom and she remembers the uproar of the “relocations” of mostly French Canadian Villages. It’s amazing how history sanitizes itself if there is no one to tell the story loud enough to hear.

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