The National Park Biesbosch is located on a river delta between the Nieuwe Merwede and the Amer rivers.
This has been one of our favorite places to paddle in the past few years since the purchase of our beautiful cedar canoe. This Dutch National Park is full of water birds, raptors, beaver, deer and other marsh animals making it an ideal location to escape the Covid 19 isolation situation. You can read about our other past adventures at this beautiful Dutch National Park here, here , and here.
Plus isn’t camping romantic? Just watch the video to see our beautiful location.
Now, anyone who has camped anywhere, anytime can understand that camping is work. There is never a guarantee you will have perfect conditions. In fact, you can almost expect bugs, wind, rain, or blistery sun when camping.
Romantic? Well… it can be… but most of the time you are busy with set up, maintaining the gear in strange situations, and now added element of Covid 19 with all the worries and/or procedures, romantic doesn’t seem like a word most campers would use to describe camping.
Resilient to changing situations or the profound sense of satisfaction after figuring out a solution to the changing conditions is why I still enjoy camping. This past weekend offered all those situations/conditions.
We reserved a spot at Knotwilg camping inside the Biesbosch National Park last week when we saw that the weather was going to be nice after a few hot days of 30C plus temperatures. Not as easy these days as now we have to reserve chicken sitting help to look after the hens. Once worked out schedules and reservations were made we started to work on our extensive packing list. This was the first scheduled camping/canoe trip in our VW Caddy with all of our required gear.
When we pulled into Knotwilg Camping on Saturday afternoon we were surprised to see that the camping was almost full!
We stayed at this camping three years ago in August and it was near empty then. Now we saw that nearly all the sites were taken. We were assigned site 36 (the site with the best views according to the manager). Located on the very far end of the campground, I have to say it was the most private feeling site on the campground. We didn’t have people walking past our campsite, we situated ourselves so we had the view of the protected wildlife area. Sounds perfect, and it was, except it is also the site most unprotected from the wind.
Yes, wind and rain is not a friend to perfect camping life! We struggled to set up our tent. Once we had it up, we quickly drove off to recon our hopeful canoe launch sites, praying that the tent would still be in place upon our return.
Wind force 5-6 (about 25 knots) here in The Netherlands is not uncommon. We have been a bit spoiled with nice weather, calm winds and higher than normal temperatures. As we were doing our recon of canoe locations, it seemed that the wind was getting stronger. We witnessed the water turning very unfriendly and dangerous. After an internet search of the projected wind speeds for the evening and the following day our hope of a canoe paddle deteriorated quickly.
Another good rule with camping or canoeing…always be flexible.
Once we returned to the campground, we saw that our tent was wind beaten, but thankfully still standing. We started the process of setting up our equipment and cooking dinner.
The hubby had made a nice table off the backside of the VW Caddy recently after one of our day trips. This was the first test of the system and it was a wonderful addition to our already comfortable camping van. He also placed a nice pull out drawer for storing the cooking stuff.
We enjoyed our dinner listening to the wind beating the heck out of the tent and wondering if we would survive the night with the tent intact. We also have identified some design flaws with the tent.
Our question to tent designers.
“Do you ever test these tents out in wind and rain conditions? If so why not fix issues before you go into production and selling them?“
We did get to watch hundreds of wild geese and their goslings of all sizes and ages eat in the area right next to our camping site.
The Covid 19 procedures at the campground were very clear. The rope system to guide the campers to the correct location and sign in English to stay 6 feet apart at all times were placed at the high traffic areas. This campground on this past weekend had campers from Germany, Belgium, but mostly Dutch. The campers all seemed very in tune with social distancing rules (except one lady who was going around to each campsite asking questions and clearly was not participating or caring about social distancing, I kept my eyes on her to make sure she didn’t approach us without advance warning).
In order to keep myself safe, I carried alcohol wipes with me when I went to the toilets. Used them to wipe down door handles, seats, and for my hands. My way to reduce my risk of contracting the virus and similar to the procedures I use at the house. At night we used our camping toilet at our tent with our doodie bags (love this camping invention!).
The other thing we had to consider was wearing a mask on the ferry boat we rode across the river. We always carry our masks with us so that was not an issue. Masks here in The Netherlands are not mandatory unless you are riding on public transport. Masks are also recommended for closer than 1.5 meters when inside an enclosed working space.
When Sunday came around the winds had increased. We decided to pull the tent and head for home.
No canoeing this trip. That was sad, but we did get out of the house and were doing something different for a day. After the last few months is was very nice to experience some outdoors time, even if the conditions were not ideal.
Stay safe, happy, and healthy until our next blog. Thanks for stopping.
Have any of our blog readers been out camping this year? We would love to hear about your experiences in our comments below.
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