One of the items on this year’s bucket list was to take Athena camping. I’m embarrassed to say that she’s never been before, especially since I loved camping as a child and it’s one of my earliest memories. We wanted her first overnight camping experience to be in eastern Canada so it would be similar to what I remembered as a child. We packed our bags and made our way to Fundy National Park in New Brunswick to experience camping like never before for all of us.
With minimal camping gear with us on our extended vacation in New Brunswick, we didn’t know how we were going to make overnight camping work. When I found Fundy National Parks’s oTENTik experience, I knew it was the perfect fit. The Parks Canada oTENTik is a spacious blend of tent and rustic cabin equipped with beds and furniture on a raised floor. It’s not exactly roughing it but it’s a great introduction to camping and tenting. Darren and I never camped in an oTENTik before either so it was a new experience for all of us.
Outside the oTENTik, there is a parking space, a picnic table, two deck chairs and a charcoal BBQ. Inside, there is a table, 4 chairs, a bench, a sleeping area, a solar-powered light and a propane heater. All we needed was bedding, food and drinks, cooking gear, propane and a lighter.
Athena was bursting with excitement when we arrived. She climbed up and down the bunk bed steps dozens of times and anxiously awaited s’mores. Since the BBQ was propane, we used waffle cones and stuffed them with marshmallows and chocolate. Wrapped in tinfoil, they roasted beautifully on the grill and tasted delicious.
As we sat in the chairs and ate our s’mores and hotdogs, we watched a pair of squirrels run and play around us. Even though we were only 1 km from the town of Alma, we felt like we were having deep woods camping experience.
At night when it was time for sleep, Athena used her flashlight as a nightlight and we made shadow animals on the side of the tent.
It was everything I imagined our first camping experience to be with woodland creatures and delicious food around a fire followed by snuggling up in the tent while telling stories and drifting off to sleep.