Cultus Lake, BC

Family camping trips sure are fun, but teenage camping trips are that much fun times the number of friends you bring along.

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Cultus Lake is a popular summer camping spot in Chilliwack, British Columbia among the inhabitants of the Greater Vancouver Area. It is located about two hours away in the SE direction from downtown Vancouver. They are best known for the Cultus Lake Water Park, the best waterpark in the province.

Cultus Lake National Park offers family friendly campgrounds with decent facilities at a reasonable rate. We were at the Sunnyside Campground, which they claim to be walking distance from the water park. We later found out that that information was quite misleading.

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Camping activities are quite sequential. The first afternoon is spent setting up camp, exploring the campsite, locating bathrooms and water stations, and acquiring essential items, like firewood. Then dinner is made and an early night in followed to save up for a fun day tomorrow.

At night we sleep with the tent cover off, so that the sky is visible in plain sight. Growing up in Bangkok, a clear night sky with sparkling stars is a rare occurrence. Most of us city kids have only seen it in a painting or a movie- the over-the-top Hollywood version.

Second day is activity day. For the Cultus lake campers, this can only mean hitting the waters. The only time you spend on land is the time it takes for you to travel from one body of water to another.

This night is usually a favorite. We went down to the lake one last time and waved goodbye to the sun as it sets. Sausages and s’mores are made over the campfire. As the night gets colder more secrets are uncovered. We laid awake telling and listening to ghost stores, confessing our souls, making promises we didn’t keep, over-valuing each others’ existence. There are no bonds like a campers’ bond. This is the peak of emotion in the camping process- the camp high.

The morning of the last day feels like a prideful walk of shame, fully satisfied and eager to get home. 48 hours is plenty of time to get sick of company. I watch the same sun rises over the horizon, thinking this would be the last time.

I took the trip home with me and everywhere I go. As travellers we must have witnessed a plethora of sunrise, ranking each one by their mesmerizing factor. However all those scenes, as post-card-material-typical or exotic as they are, are just different varieties of one planet routinely orbiting an entity at the same pace, via the same path. Our travel is the sole factor that stimulates this variety.

In a way, we control our own sunset.

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