COM0014 -What I Did On My Vacation: Camping with ‘The Hip’

People talk about the harsh Canadian winters but this year our snow “off-season” became a harsh Canadian summer with incredibly warm and dry weather pushing to the extreme of drought, especially in the Kingston region.

Orange and blue campfire

The ‘mystical fire’ packet adds some interesting colour to the campfire.

Thankfully the rains came bringing enough relief for fire bans to be lifted as this group of five, long-time friends, set out to participate in our eighth annual camping ritual, this time at Rock Point. We took advantage of having the campfire with almost every meal cooked over the crackling, hypnotic flames.

Even though the weather brought memorable conditions, it also saw an historic musical event broadcast live, making it available to almost every Canadian. I’m referring to the final show in Kingston, Ontario on The Tragically Hip, Man Machine Poem tour, and possibly the last tour of the band as it is now.

As ‘The Hip’ returned to our hometown, yes all of us are from Kingston, we were on our way out into the wilderness to get away from the cities and the rigors of everyday life. Although not all of us still live in Kingston, Kingston still lives in all of us.

Having booked our trip many months before the fateful announcement by Gord Downie, we knew we would be missing an historic event. But the CBC’s decision to broadcast the entire concert over the radio as well as televise it gave us hope, and we knew we had to tune in. Even now that event in Kingston is in the process of being commemorated. Luckily, even in the great Canadian wilderness, we were still within range of a radio tower broadcasting the concert on CBC Radio 2.

Now I ask you, what could be more Canadian than listening to ‘The Hip’, camping in the wilderness and drinking cold Canadian beer?

To me the answer is helping our neighbours!

As the concert started with Fifty-Mission Cap and we settled in to listen, other campers found their way to our site by following the voice of Gord Downie.

They inquired about the station frequency, in hopes of being able to tune in and celebrate in their sites as well. Our radio waves mixed with others coming through the dense forest and soon enough the tunes of the tragically hip drowned out even the ever present forest creature sounds and the crackling of our campfire.

And we knew “everybody was in it from miles around!” Were you?

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Me (front row, right) and my mates at our camp site on the last day

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