Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Wheelchair Camping

I have abandoned hunting camp to sneak down into town for an hour or two. There are three reasons for deserting all that is moose and deer to me. I wanted to check on how my Mom was doing and am happy to say she is well and headed home. She has had an angioplasty and two stents and they are discharging her as I type this blog. I wanted to write my blog, a self-evident event. And I wanted to use the bathroom at Starbucks, as every Starbucks I have ever been in has a wheelchair accessible washroom.

You see, of all the things they have provisioned for me in our hunting camp, and there are a great many, a wheelchair washroom is not one of them. After all, it is a camp, not a four star hotel. Nonetheless Mike, Kate and Dan worked very hard to setup camp in a way that would mean I was fully included in the hunting experience, that I did not have to make the drive each morning and night down into town to a hotel. Some of you may see the hotel as a necessity whereas I see the camping experience as something equally as important as the hunting experience.

In order to give me access to the firepit and campsite, Dan and Mike came up with an industrial conveyor belt. This four foot wide piece of rubber mat runs some 25 feet in length, reaching from the fireside to the rear of the trailer. I am sleeping inside the trailer so my cot was not necessary but it is still cold enough at nights to make me grateful for my cold weather sleeping bag.

That very cold has brought down a mountain of snow in these mountains between Merritt and Kelowna. There is just under a foot of snow. You might think this makes it difficult for me and in some cases it does. To make it easier the rest of the group has swept and stamped the snow around our campsite so I can get around, and when the going gets tough they simply grab my wheelchair and make short work of whatever obstacles are in my way.

We have not yet seen a moose or deer, so this trip is not successful in terms of game. Yet is a great success for me. Last night I hung around the fire with family; Mike, Kate, Dan, Brook, Matt and Tara, all cousins and children of cousins, all family, all together telling stories and laughing. That's what this trip is really all about.

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