An Autumn Night in Nova Scotia Under a Tarp.
Not our first time with this type of shelter. Our purpose on this night, was to test some new camping equipment and a new recipe. After my father and I set up camp and the sparks from a Ferro rod brought our campfire to life we set about preparing our supper.
First thing on the menu was a soup from dehydrated tomatoes, carrots and green onions with beef stock. Not only were the tomatoes, carrots and green onions dehydrated in our recently purchased Garden Master dehydrator, they were also grown in our own garden. This is a great option for anyone who would like to have more control over their ingredients while still travelling light. Once the soup was over the fire it was time to mix up the bannock and put it in our new seven inch cast iron skillet. The soup and bannock were delicious! We determined that the soup will be a very light to carry meal for future back packing and canoe trips.
We’ve found that we really enjoy using the tarp instead of a tent in backwoods camping situations, since it’s light to carry and very easy to set up, only requiring some rope and either trees or poles. This allows for a variety of arrangements and styles. The tarp that we use for camping is the Cabela’s Outfitter Series tarp. We’ve owned this tarp for well over two years and have used it on several camping trips.
One of the benefits that we enjoy with the tarp is depending on your set up it can offer you a view of the surrounding area as well as in some cases the night sky. While this may not be for everyone, since many will prefer to have some sort of wall between them and their surroundings such as that of a tent or building. The night air is filled with the aroma of the woods and the sound of the wildlife around you.
Our particular set up involves tying a rope between two trees to use as a ridge line and hanging the tarp over it. This method also allows us to tie mosquito nets to the ridge line and hang them down over our sleeping bags. Depending on how thick the mosquitos are in the area you are camping in this can be very important!
The four corners are fastened by tying rope through the grommets and fastening it to the pegs included with the Cabela's tarp once they are driven in the ground. If pegs are not available they can always be fashioned out of wood. An alternative to using pegs would be to tie the ropes to trees if you find you're set up close enough to them. However whenever you are setting up a campsite it is recommended that you check to see that there are no overhanging limbs or trees that look damaged and could fall on top of your camp should the wind blow.
On this particular night, we were awakened twice by a snorting deer. Perhaps it was voicing its displeasure of our intrusion into its territory. This is not uncommon. Over the past few years we’ve had snowshoe hares running through our camp and on one occasion we woke up to the sound of loud splashing in the water near the island we had camped on. Loons frequently fly nearby and even overhead of a couple of our favourite camp sites. But all of this makes the experience that much more enriched.
Morning arrived and we retrieved our food and dishes from a nearby tree limb. We had seen two black bears in the area so we were extra careful to keep a clean campsite and place all food related items high in a tree so we didn’t end up sharing it unwillingly. This is always a good way to store your food overnight in order to help prevent unwanted wildlife from wandering into your campsite. As well as bears, food can also attract racoons, coyotes and rodents among others.
After Breakfast, which consisted of more bannock and a few strips of bacon we cooked on a stick, we packed up and followed the trail as it wound it’s way back towards our farm. On the way home we started planning a more extensive canoe trip for next spring.