Archive for the ‘winter camping’ Category

Stone Cold Crazy

As you know, our family booked a yurt up in Killarney with visions of skiing and snowshoeing dancing in our heads. I checked the weather almost hourly in the weeks leading up to our departure. When one website would show a disappointing forecast, I’d bounce to another one. Alas, they all read the same…warm and rainy. Boo.
Much to my delight on the 26th of December, it finally forecasted some snow. My hopes were reignited. Only a few days to go and the white stuff was a happy possibility.

Killarney December 31, 2011

Well things don’t always go as planned. As it turns out, Killarney got a small dusting of snow, turning the landscape picturesque. It was not however, enough snow to go snowshoeing or skiing, and the ice wasn’t even thick enough to support a snowball tossed onto its lacy surface let alone a midnight skate. It did make for a beautiful hike along the La Cloche trail with a stop for lunch perched on the edge of a beaver lodge. Lunch with some beavers? I’ll take it. The yurt was warm and the company was fabulous. All in all, it was the best New Year’s Eve ever.

lunching at the lodge

The second part of my story goes like this. Winter has finally come. A couple of weeks late for our last trip, but as luck would have it, just in time for hubby’s next one. After his weekly hockey game tonight Fraser was filling me in on his plans for a trip to Algonquin leaving first thing Monday morning. He was talking gear, as he often does, and which sleeping bag and clothes he would be toting along. I asked if he’d been checking the weather reports, as I’d stopped my hourly updates after we’d returned from Killarney. He took out his phone and clicked on the weather site, I craned over his shoulder for a peek and burst out laughing. The verdict? -22 at night Saturday and Sunday. I admit that it will be warmer on Monday, but I still couldn’t stop the giggles. THERE was the cold weather I’d been wishing for, but he won’t be in a cozy yurt. Nope, he and his pal will be roughing it open air. Do not consider me jealous. I come from hardy stock, but the thought of -22 is not appealing to me. I told him to take lots of pictures and I promise to share some with you upon his return. I’m sure he’ll have some stories to tell.

ice on George Lake, Killarney

With that, I hope everyone out there is warm and cozy. I know I will be grateful come early next week when the kidlets and I are playing board games by the fireplace, thinking of Fraser enjoying all that a winter in Ontario has to throw at him. And I hope that you all will be thankful for your own cozy beds when the mercury drops. Sleep tight!

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Let It Snow, Let It Snow, PLEASE Let It Snow!

The hope of a white Christmas has come and gone. It was not meant to be this year. However hope of a white New Year still burns in my heart. You see, months ago Fraser formulated a fabulous plan to spend the eve of 2012 in our beloved Killarney Provincial Park. I thought him a genius. Now, just two days from departure, I’m rethinking that title.

dreamy winter camping

This has been an unusually warm and decidedly snow-free December. Dreams of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing our way into January are impossible at this point. My best chance for a dreamy picture-perfect ending to our year rest in the lake’s ice being thick enough for us to skate on. It should be pretty glassy with the lack of pock-marking snowfall, but it would be wonderful if snow were to gently fall on us while we are playing a midnight game of hockey!

pausing for a picture in algonquin

We’ve gathered up our warmest gear and planned some tasty meals. We’ve dug out our skates and sticks, as well as our hiking poles and boots. We will be prepared for whatever weather is going to meet us at the end of our drive. And while I’m hoping for an unexpected blizzard to hit overnight, the alternative if the weather refuses to cooperate is a headlamp lit hike up a peak at midnight. Either way, we’re launching a new year with a taste of Ontario’s best. Not a bad way to welcome what is sure to be our best year yet. To all our friends and family…Happy New Year! We’ll catch you on the flip side 😉

Now is the Winter of Our Content

I work in a place where on a daily basis people pass through our doors on their way to far-flung exotic destinations. I have to admit that I feel like I’m shirking my duties as a Canadian and a member of this industry not to harbour similar dreams of my own. There still remain a couple corners of the globe that I’d still like to see. I mean, who doesn’t want to go to Lapland and see herds of reindeer roaming the frozen landscape? Did you know that there is fabulous canoeing in Lapland? Just saying. But the truth is that the majority of my travel dreams land squarely within the borders of Canada. Call me a homebody, but Canada has enough special spots to peak my interest and fill my dreams for the rest of my days.

photo: GETTY

Right now I’m working on my newest big adventure idea. In a few weeks we will be heading up to Killarney to stay in one of their yurts. I can’t wait. To fill the seemingly endless days between then and now, I’ve been googling “yurts”. I stumbled across the most amazing thing! While checking out the yurt rental listings in Quebec park sites, I found listings for some alternative abodes. Have you ever rented an IGLOO! Yes, you’ve read correctly. Igloos are available in Parc national du Bic between December 16th and March 18th and Parc national des Monts-Valin between December 26 and March 25th, conditional on weather. A minimum of two adults are required for safety reasons, but the igloos sleep up to four people. That is just perfect for our little family. Put it on the list.

Photograph by: Handout photo, SEPAQ

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but Fraser’s dad was born and raised in Quebec. His family had/has a farm where they produce maple syrup. That’s the coolest thing ever. I have a wonderful memory of when we moved back from Vancouver and stayed at the folks place for a couple of weeks while we waited for our belongings to catch up with us. George (that’s Fraser’s dad) planned a little welcome back to the cold weather surprise. He cooked up some of the family syrup until it was nice and thick and hot, then he took us all out back and poured it onto the snow. Stop me if you’ve heard this one… We rolled the quickly hardening syrup onto sticks and gobbled down the candy. This was not my first maple candy experience, but the kids were amazed and delighted. They also adore what we refer to as “squeaky cheese”, or cheese curds. They’ve already got the basis for some serious Quebec love.

Algonquin yurt February 2011

And so the subliminal coercion begins. I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves in one of those igloos before this season is over. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed and my hints hard. Wish me luck!

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