This past weekend, my family went on our first backpacking trip as a family. Most of us have gone before, but it was my mom’s first time and our first time going as a group. We even brought our dog along.
We went to this lovely campground called Tombstone, which is just outside of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. If you’ve ever been to Elbow Lake, it’s right near there. You actually hike up to Elbow Lake and then hike about 10km past it to get to Tombstone. The hardest part is getting to Elbow, which is 1km of steep uphill. But the hike to Tombstone is flat for the most part, so you get the hard part done with and then can enjoy the rest of the hike.
What I like about Tombstone is that it’s pretty easy to do but you still feel like you’re in the backwoods and it’s beautiful. You definitely don’t trade beauty for comfort.
The campground itself was all booked this weekend, but you’re allowed to random camp in most of the area, which is what we did. As long as you’re one kilometre away from a campsite and 50m away from the trail, you can pitch your tent and camp. So we went 1km away from Tombstone and plopped out tents right next to a river. It was perfect, because we could still walk to Tombstone to use the outhouse if we had to.
Because my dad doesn’t do anything small, we had chicken curry with rice and lentils for dinner. It’s actually really light to carry, because you pre-cook and dehydrate everything, and it’s super easy to make. You just soak everything in hot water and add spices. It’s super good. We also made bannock, of course.
We had to collect our own fire wood, which was actually a lot of fun. Luckily, most things we dry so it wasn’t hard. My sister and I wandered around collecting wood. I told her I felt like Laura Ingalls or something.
It’s bear season in Alberta and there have been a lot of bear sightings this year. We talked to a park ranger and she said it’s because there’s more berries, so the bears are coming down and staying for longer because there’s more food. This meant that (of course) we had bear spray and whistles. I like carrying them around because it makes me feel special.
I’m sure I’m meant to live near the mountains and backpacking. I always feel the most comfortable in leggings, hiking socks and boots, and my backpack. Even though I don’t do it often, I do really love it. I think it’s one of the things that makes me me.
If you are ever in Alberta and want to go backpacking but aren’t really in top shape, I would highly recommend Tombstone. It’s so worth it, trust me. I had a perfect time and it was the best.
Thanks for reading! xx