What we thought was the name of a setting for a murder mystery movie, Silent Lake Provincial Park was instead a stunning focal point in the Northeastern Ontario. This was my second winter heading out of the comfort of my warm home into the wilderness of Ontario to winter camp in a yurt.
I know that winter camping sounds like an oxymoron, but it can be done! Especially in the comfort of a yurt.
First of all winter camping offers an entirely different experience than summer camping. It is quieter around the parks as everyone except you is off hibernating. Even better there are no bugs, so no complaints here.
Camping is the quintessential Canadian summer activity. Some may choose to go to the cottage, trailer, or rock the stay-cation, but camping has always been such an important part of my summer.
We here in southern Ontario only have 15 weeks of summer, from the unofficial start of summer on the May 24 long weekend to the end of Labour Day weekend in September. We cross our fingers it doesn’t snow because that has happened before (Aug. 2015 in Calgary for instance).
That’s under 30 per cent of the year. Of those 105 days, only 36 are weekends/holidays.
I try to make the most of those precious summer weekends outdoors. Aka: camping.
Here are five reasons why you should make camping an integral part of your summer, whether Canadian or not:
Family, friend or me time
Whether you camp alone, with friends, or with family, it is a time to step away from the normality of regular life and relax.
Being outdoors or cuddling up to a campfire are perfect ways to unwind. Let your mind go and just reflect.
Camping can be time to reconnect with friends and family. It can also let you reconnect with yourself.
Camping lets you explore your own backyard, a nearby campground, a provincial park, or even the backcountry.
Look at the map of the area before you go. I try to conquer the most I can in one trip because you never know when you’ll be back. Look for trails, points of interest, geocaches and more. Life seems to open up when you go out and explore.
Try bringing along your hiking boots or even a bicycle for those wonderful trails.
I really do need to state the obvious. Camping is a way to reconnect with nature. I mean, take the ritual of packing up your belongings to go set up somewhere else to call home for a few days. It’s very nomadic.
Camping doesn’t even have to be very far away from your house. In Ontario, we have 334 provincial parks, 295 conservation areas and five national parks to choose from.
Camping can bring on a new-found appreciation for the wild. You may even discover a new species of flora or even spot some amazing wildlife.
Of all the options for overnighting in a new place, camping is by far the cheapest. Prices range at Ontario parks depending on your needs. Add the cost of gas and food, it still doesn’t put too much strain on the wallet.
The best part of camping is the memories made. From jokes shared by friends, experiences shared by family or the vista you keep all to yourself, memories made on a camping trip last a lifetime.
I recently returned from a trip where I had the honour of making three new friends.On that trip, we were looking for geocaches and came across this amazing peninsula that looked as if it was a tropical beach. Stunning.
What is your favourite camping memory? Share yours by commenting below.