”The bears aren’t out yet,” stated Louise in a confident tone of voice in response to a concern expressed about spring camping. “It’s too early.”

In view of the fact that we were outside, seated around a cozy campfire located not far from our tent, this was reassuring information to hear, so we accepted it as gospel. If Louise says the bears aren’t out, they aren’t.

It was a lovely calm evening. It was warm enough to sport polar fleece jackets instead of heavy coats. Our hats and mittens were stowed in the back seat of the car “just in case”. By sitting in lawn chairs around the fire, instead of lounge chairs around the television, we realized the longer hours of summer had already begun to creep in.

I thought back to how this whole crazy-early camping arrangement had started. A couple of weeks back, I received an e-mail that reminded me of some friends we hadn’t seen in a while. I took the opportunity to reconnect with them by replying to it with the comment “Let’s get together soon and catch up”.

In my mind, I was thinking of meeting for a drink after work one day, but Louise’s response was teeming with the spring fever brought on by record-breaking warm temperatures: “Yes, great, we’ll bring the tent trailer”.

Camping? The March page of my calendar had barely been flipped over. But the spring fever was contagious, and I quickly agreed.

The fact that WE don’t own a tent trailer registered later. We own a tent. It’s a nice tent, and we like it, but it’s just a TENT. There’s no trailer part attached.

Never mind, I wasn’t going to change the plan or back out now – we had signed up for tenting in April.

Just as if it was the July long weekend, we dug out said tent, dusted it off and tossed it into the car along with the regular sleeping bags, Therma-rests and coolers. We then added a couple of flannel-covered pillows, a down sleeping bag and our king-size down-filled duvet. Oh, and a half-dozen pair of thick socks. Just in case.

What a delight to discover that our favourite camping spot was a patch of soft and already dry, old grass. Having arrived a half hour earlier, our friends had the campfire burning. Accepting the best of each of the overlapping seasons, the last remaining patch of snow was now serving as the beer cooler.

The ground had thawed enough not to argue with us when we pushed the tent pegs in. Up went the tent, in went the necessities, on went the fly.

“How terrific to be able to enjoy the fresh air this early in the season,” we all agreed.

Steaks for dinner and toast for breakfast were grilled over the open fire.

We talked and joked, laughed and caught up on news and stories. There was no sound but the birds. There was no one else around. We had the place to ourselves. Even the bears were still sleeping.

And perhaps best of all? There were absolutely no mosquitoes. Not one. We hadn’t even bothered to throw the bug dope in the car.

Get out there! It’s time!