Friday, September 16, 2016

A Short But Good Weekend At Sandbanks

At the beginning of September we decided we should head to Sandbanks for a weekend. Luckily for us the park had just opened up reservations for the Outlet B campground the day before. As a result we managed to get what might be the best site in the entire park.

Perhaps the Best Site in the Park
We arrived in time for a late dinner Friday. We dug out the food and began preparing dinner as the kids played in the sand. The view from the site was great and being outside made the busyness of the first week of school disappear. Summer holidays were least for a couple of days.

We setup the tents and got ready for bed. Just before turning in we spent some time admiring the moon and the stars. One of the nice things about the sun setting earlier is that the kids get to spend a little more time observing the night sky.

This was the first time that we brought two tents. We thought that the kids might like to sleep in a tent while we slept in another tent. They decided it would be better to have a boy's tent and a girl's tent.

Site at Night
Once the kids were asleep I decided to walk to the main beach. The moon was out and was fairly bright. The walk was very pleasant. When I arrived on the beach I only saw one other person. You could hear the waves crashing but the wind had died long ago. Although the crashing waves were quite loud it somehow still seemed very peaceful.

The boys tent was the first to be vacated in the morning. We decided to go for a paddle until the girls were awake. We paddled the Outlet River until we got to Lake Ontario then turned around and made our way back to the site where the girls were playing in the sand. With everyone awake it was time to get the fire going so we could bake cinnamon buns for breakfast. We had intended to bring a cast iron frying pan to bake the buns in but we forgot it at home. Instead we just used the foil pan that the buns were placed in to rise. It worked great. The buns couldn't have turned out any better.

Cinnamon Buns
After breakfast we loaded the family and some toys into the canoe and paddled to the main beach. It was warm and a little cloudy, which made for a great morning to be at the beach. We played on the beach, swam and just enjoyed being outside.

Hard at Work
As the morning wore on, more and more clouds rolled in. We decided to pack up and head back to the site for lunch. As we got into the canoe it started raining a light rain that seemed warm. It didn't seem to matter to anyone that we were getting wet since we were all in our swimsuits. By the time we reached our site it was pouring. We sat in the screen room and watched the rain just come down. It rained on and off for a good part of the afternoon but there were lots of sunny periods mixed in with the rain. We played in the sand when it wasn't raining and played games when it was raining. Around 3:00 (I'm guessing since I don't wear a watch) the sun was back out. The kids were having a blast in the water so I decided to paddle up the Outlet River to East Lake and paddle a bit in East Lake. It was getting late so I headed back to the site. On my way back I could hear, very faintly, thunder in the distance.

Upon arriving at the site we quickly started to put dinner together. The thunder and lightning was now much closer but it looked as though the worst of it was passing to the north of us. We were just on the edge of the cloud bank. We finished cooking our dinner over the fire by which time the thunder and lightning seemed to be constant, but still north of us. It was an amazing show of light and sound. It poured for a bit then stopped. The thunder, dark clouds and rain all seemed to have moved east and it looked as though we had avoided the worst of the storm. As we finished eating the park wardens came by and informed us that there was a tornado watch and that we should seek shelter immediately. This seemed odd given that it looked like the worst had already passed, but I'm not a meteorologist. We got the kids in the van then quickly packed up (it must have been record time) our wet, sandy things and threw them into the van and headed for home.

As we drove north we passed through lots of heavy rain and noticed the signs indicating that high winds had been present. The worst of the damage was definitely in Bloomfield. There were downed trees and the emergency crews were out. We had certainly missed the worst of the storm. It was certainly our slowest drive home from Sandbanks but we were happy to be safe and dry.

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