Its kind of funny to us that to most people their ‘camping season’ has just begun, not to brag but ours goes year round. In fact we already have been out on 6 trips( one a month since january) It started several years ago when that lag between our last trip of the year typically in October ended and then visions of camping would drift through our heads until we headed out on our single ‘winter trip’ of the year during March Break. Along came introduction Family day and the beginning of earnest winter camping when we purchased a winter tent and stove. That was over 5 years ago, we have a spent Christmas, 2 New Years Eve’s, every Family day since the holiday was created and too many March breaks to count in Algonquin Park with our 4 kids and dogs. I know winter camping isn’t for everyone, but I do love to encourage people to get out and at least try it once before passing judgement.
Winter camping has a lot to offer, no bugs (especially now in June in the height of bug season), less crowds and people, a different selection of activities such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skating on an outdoor rink. There are a different assortment of animals and birds in the winter and sometimes you see animals in the winter that you typically would rarely see in the summer when the forest growth has moved in and the leaves are out. Identifying tracks in the snow is fun and interesting to all ages. Lastly , I think the people that you meet while winter camping are an awesome group, I mean anyone who camps at -42 has to be either dedicated or crazy right?
The people are much more friendly and helpful, the kids form groups of friends whom we see every year usually only during the winter and there is the sense of general solitude that the sleeping park doesn’t offer during the busier summer months. Its actually impossible now to imagine what it would be like to wait 6-7 months to get back out in the bush, lake or campground!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my canoe. There is nothing like the feeling of paddling on a quiet misty lake with loons calling in the background on an early morning paddle. I think that just because there’s snow on the ground and its cold you should have to give up an activity that brings you joy. Our kids have learned a different skill set by camping in the winter and an appreciation for our wilderness no matter the season. It gives you something to think about, ponder over that treasure cup of boxed wine or whiskey that your enjoying after a long day of portaging. Ask yourself does it have to end? Are you willing to try something new? Winter camping doesn’t have to be expensive or budget breaking but if you love the woods, you will find a way. Hope to see you out there sometime!by