I used to think people who went winter camping were crazy. Guess what? They ARE crazy! I say that with confidence, because we started winter camping in 2014 with a yurt trip in Killarney Provincial Park.
We like doing stuff in winter. But my interest used to only be in activities that lasted a few hours. When the activity is done, we’d retreat to a lodge or our cozy home to warm up. Alex, on the other hand, had always wanted a bit more adventure in the winter. As long as we have been married, he has suggested that we go winter camping. Year after year I told him he was crazy and completely rejected the idea. Until the fall of 2013. After 12 years of marriage, the discovery of heated yurts, and watching some really cool You Tube videos, he finally wore me down and convinced me to experience camping in an Ontario provincial park in the dead of winter.
It was the promise of heat in the yurt that got me on-board for this trip. I think it was also the heated yurt that helped us stick-out the temperatures that nearly hit record lows. Being a resident of Southern Ontario all my life, I had never experienced cold like we had for our first three days in Killarney. According to Environment Canada, the lowest temperature was -29.4 C with wind chill values between -45 and -50 C.
So what do you do when it’s that cold? You dress properly and get outside! We had a campfire every night – complete with defrosted roasted marshmallows. We snowshoed to the peak of the Granite Ridge Trail for perfect views of Georgian Bay and the La Cloche Mountains. And we visited our favourite site in the George Lake campground. It looks a little different at this time of year than when we camped there a few summers ago. We even did a little tobogganing. The hill from the campground to the George Lake beach is a sweet little ride.
Everything at Killarney looks different in the winter, including the park’s famous landmarks and landscapes. The extreme cold actually gave us opportunities to do things we’d never experience in warm temperatures, like a fun little experiment with boiling water we had seen once on TV.
And when the outdoor fun was done, we retreated into the yurt to read, play countless card games, talk about our day and enjoy early bed-times.
This trip was an experience like nothing we’ve ever had – a mix of new adventures and familiar experiences with a frosty twist. Yes, I still think winter campers are crazy. But you know what? Winter camping is an awesome kind of crazy and we’ve been doing it ever since that first trip in 2014.