A few days ago a posted a couple pictures from our camping trip at Sandbanks but I didn’t comment so this is really just for those who have been asking me about it. Let me preface by saying, yes I had fun, it was a fun time, fun, fun, fun. I am happy my father-in-law decided to come to Toronto a few days early and come with us – it was a great experience – but I am sad that our other friends couldn’t make it. It’s very selfish to be bitter in light of everyone’s very valid reasons but the thing is, you have to book these Provincial Parks six months in advance. So from March to August you’re thinking, or at least I am, about how great it’s going to be to hang out for three uninterrupted days with some of your favourite people. It makes our long winter a little easier to bear. When they can’t make it, it’s a bummer.
The other problem with the long period between booking your site in the middle of winter and actually attending at your site, is that there is no way to predict how the weather is going to turn out. If the forecast is going to be shit you have two choices. You can forfeit your money or you can suck it up and go anyway. We chose to suck it up and although we had a fairly decent day of weather on Saturday, it never really got hot enough to take the chill out of Lake Ontario (it is a Great Lake after all). As for the other days, I went to bed wet on Friday night and it was raining again on Sunday morning when we woke up so that day was a total write-off. We got up, tore down, and got the hell out of there.
It sucked not having another girl there, or I guess even another guy would have been fine, just anyone who would have liked to go for a hike or canoeing or something. I don’t mind sitting on the beach, but for me those other things are part of camping too. I managed to convince the guys (and not in the sweetest way possible either unfortunately) to hike the dunes with me, but there was no way I was going to get to hike the other trails unless I went by myself. I’m an independent girl, but come on. You go camping with people for a reason.
Sandbanks is a park that’s really hyped up so I was expecting big things from it, but as I have mentioned to a few people since we got home, I think I actually left my heart at Awenda so nothing is going to be able to compare to it. That said, Sandbanks is a beautiful park. There was a debate amongst us as to whether or not the dunes were man-made. In fact, they are naturally formed (watch me graciously refrain from saying, I told you so) and they are very beautiful. Sandbanks is worth visiting at least once to see them. The other beaches are also lovely and the sites themselves all looked pretty good, particularly the ones right on the beach. The vegetation is really diverse ranging from farmland, to marsh to pristine beach to thick forest and it would have been fabulous to bike around to get a better perspective on it. I wished I had my bike more than once while we were there (next year, bike rack!). We saw a ton of monarch butterflies everywhere we went, even at the beach, and that was really cool too.
There were only two things I didn’t like about the park itself. No kindling was available the whole weekend and burning dead or fallen wood from the ground is frowned upon (though certain parties who shall remain nameless did do this). This was a pain but is perhaps just a matter of poor timing and I can let it go. The fire pits though, are lame. At most parks we’ve been to fire pits are just that, pits in the ground. Sometimes there are rocks are concrete around the edges. But at Sandbanks, there is no pit. Fires are built on level ground in a giant metal enclosure. It’s open at the top, and there are holes in the sides, but if hanging out around the fire and watching it in quiet contemplation is your thing, you’re going to have to build a raging fire so that you can even really see it from your chair. This really isn’t the end of the world either, but between the kindling issue and the pissy weather and missing my friends, it kind of felt like it.
We’ll try again next year. The rest of the pictures are here.