Our first camping adventure of the year found us trying a new campground, and it’s a mouthful. Brewer’s Campground & Aspen Beach Provincial Park at Gull Lake, right smack dab in the middle of Alberta. Whew, right. It’s not a long drive for us and but a lovely one through the country side.
The campground itself features several loops, but they do not identify the loops by alphabet like many campgrounds do. Rather just drive to your assigned (number) campsite after checking in, and you’re set. Our campsite was treed and private. But close to the highway and we heard the trucks going by quite frequently. We would return to this campground but next time we will try to get a site away from the highway. Also important to note there are no parks activities for families or kids here (also no amphitheater).
Aspen beach itself is sandy and the water surprisingly warm for this time of the year. Sometimes these lakes just don’t get enough sun to warm up in time for the beginning of July. The beach is long and shallow making it the perfect beach for minions of all ages.
The lake has fish. Which includes Walleye and Pike but according to Rob (husband) you have to go into a draw to fish Walleye in Alberta, know which lake your going to, and all kinds of other important stuff before you drop your line. We were not prepared so fishing didn’t happen on this camping adventure.
But there was plenty of other things to do. Like a marsh to inspect, bike trails to ride down, pathways to explore and some geocaching to dive into. Not to mention some delightful camp food to be eaten and of course the beach!
The marsh was alive with all kinds of life. A large beaver dam was viewable as were pelicans. Red-winged Blackbirds were everywhere and we saw some baby ducklings! Off in the distance we were able to spot a Great Blue Heron. Other life in this marsh includes frogs, minnows and even muskrat.
Just beyond the marsh, is a picturesque bushed area. Our gps lead us here to find a cache. Besides the mosquitoes, it was serene and a lovely walk through the woods. We found our cache rather quickly and were on our way.
The first time I made bannock was in Home Economics class around Grade 9 or so. It was simple, tasty and it’s stayed with me for the past 30 years. Traditional Bannock is made slightly different, sometimes with milk, or baking powder, flattened and cooked in a pan with some oil. This dough recipe is the same one we use to make our Pie Iron Pizzas giving you two snacks in one if you choose.
To ensure your Bannock holds on the stick, make sure you find and carve yourself a good solid, thick roasting stick. The dough will not hold onto a metal roasting stick very well, if even at all. You will need some patience, so if your minions can’t sit still for long (like mine), make sure you are there to step in and take over. Takes about 10 minutes or more to roast the bannock ensuring the inside is cooked.
Best way to serve it is warm, with some butter and jam. Really quite tasty. Another fun way to explore cooking outdoors with the kids.
- 2 cups flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 4 tbsp butter, cold
- 2 tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup water
- 1 ziplock bag
- In ziplock bag combine flour, baking powder, butter, sugar and salt. Seal and squishy the bag until butter is crumbly. Write on bag "Add ½ cup water". Put in refrigerator or cooler.
- At your campsite, prepare yourself a roasting stick. Set aside.
- When ready to make bannock, add water to bag, seal and squishy until mixture starts to form a dough ball. Remove from bag and on cutting board, form into 4-6 balls.
- Roll each ball and wrap around ends of roasting stick. Roast over hot fire, but not to close as to burn the outside. This part takes time since you want to cook the inside without burning the outside. Turn slowly, it will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
- When the bread is brown on the outside, has puffed up a little and feels cooked on the inside it is ready.