The Joy of Winter Camping

Last week, Toronto got its first taste of winter. Even though the snow is gone now, all that white, even if a bit slushy, fluff on the ground made me excited about winter camping. I know the phrase winter camping sounds almost like an oxymoron. When I mention to people that we go camping in the winter, they usually raise their eyebrows in extreme disbelief, and even my reassurances that we stay in a yurt or a cabin do little to persuade them that winter camping is a good idea. Well, this post is an attempt to explain what compels us to leave our warm apartment behind and go freeze in the woods.

catching snowflakes

The joy of winter

Winter wonderland
I know it’s an overused expression but winter is truly magical. Forest is beautiful any time of the year but it reserves a special ethereal kind of beauty for those who dare to venture into the woods in the cold of winter. The monochromatic landscape makes all the lines, curves and forms more prominent and striking. Winter is a skilled artist sculpting the most whimsical creations from ice and snow. On a clear day, snow coated branches and ice covered streams sparkle in the sun, and the whole forest seems to reverberate and glow with freshness and vigor. And when it snows, the world is muted and soft as the white fluff delicately envelopes everything in sight. Or, sometimes, it’s a wind-swept winter desert, rough yet absolutely spectacular.

snow-covered forest in the winter

Sleeping under the blanket of snow

ice covered river

Old Ausable Channel at Pinery Provincial Park

Allegany State Park

Red House Lake at Allegany State Park, NY

winter   icicles

Winter activities
Remember when the sight of first snow made you excited about all the things you can do outside? Time to bring that joy back! When it comes to outdoor activities, winter is unlike any other season. It’s the only time when you can go skiing, skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing, when you can build snowforts and snowmen, engage in snowball fights and make snow angels. Winter has a magical ability to coax a kid from under all those layers of coats, scarves, snowpants, and adult worries. What’s more, these activities don’t require special training or skill, just a childlike enthusiasm and willingness to try.

snowangels   throwing snow

Arrowhead provincial park

Tubing hill at Arrowhead

killarney 2012-17

Skiing at Killarney

winter fun   snowballs



pulling sled   sledding down the hill

For us, testing our ability to be away from everyday conveniences is one of the things we love about camping. Winter adds another layer of challenge to the simplest tasks: walking to the bathroom, chopping wood, making fire, cooking. But with extra challenges come additional rewards. A simple cup of hot chocolate tastes heavenly after a day in the woods, a game of cards is so exciting in a warm yurt in the evening, and there is nothing I love more than sitting by the fire, wrapped up in a blanket, sipping red wine and watching the snow fall.

around a campfire in the winter

Celebrating New Year around a campfire

Stay tuned – tips on winter camping coming soon!