Last week, our family displayed acute symptoms of camping withdrawal disorder: desire to sleep on the hard ground, cravings for slightly burned food prepared over a campfire, constant attempts to block out the noisy city to hear the birds. With the next camping trip two whole weeks away, we knew we couldn’t last that long. We needed our camping fix now. So on Friday night we threw our gear into the back of our car and headed to Killbear.
There was a lot to be thankful for this past weekend. Beautiful sunny weather. Deep blue skies and incredible fall colours. Being with family and friends. Having an opportunity to leave the city and be in nature.
We headed to Grundy Lake Provincial Park for the Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving used to be the last camping trip of the year before we started going camping in the winter. However, since we usually stay in cabins and yurts in the winter, it is still the last camping trip in a tent. That is until we pluck up the courage to try winter tenting.
We visited Grundy Lake a few times in the past but that was a few years ago and mostly in the spring and summer. I had my doubts whether it was the best choice to see fall colours since I remembered lots of pines. It turned out I had nothing to worry about. We booked a campsite at the Poplar campground. When I got out of the tent on Saturday morning, I was bathed in the golden glow of the forest around. The ground had a thick carpet of foliage; the trees were all decked up in their best colours; and beautiful leaves twirled around in the breeze. Kids had lots of fun jumping and rolling in piles of leaves and showering them over each other.
Since our son was still getting over the remains of his cold, we decided to take it easy this time. We spent a lot of time by the campfire and cooked the most delicious food: gnocchi with vegetables, veggie burgers, lentil stew, mushroom and barley soup, and roasted root vegetables (by some universal camping law food always tastes so much better on a camping trip).
We took bike rides through the forest and hit a couple of easy short trails: Swan Lake and Gut Lake. Both trails looked spectacular – smooth rocks, whispering marshes and gurgling brooks framed by interlaced green pines and multicoloured maples, birches and aspens. For more pictures of the beautiful fall forest, visit my Random Pix blog.
By another universal camping law, time always flies so much faster out in the woods. Before we knew it, it was time to go back home. On our way back, I enjoyed the beautiful fall landscape flashing by and started planning next year’s trips. Where should we go next?
Summer is officially over but it doesn’t mean you have to put your camping gear away. Fall has so much to offer that it will make you fall in love with camping all over again. Here are some reasons why we love fall camping so much:
View from the Crack, Killarney Provincial Park
Well, it is an obvious one. Albert Camus once said that “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” I could use hundreds of words to describe the second spring and wouldn’t come even close to capturing the beauty that is a forest in the fall. It’s as if nature, in the face of impending monochromatic winter, splashes all its paints across the canvas.
Looking up, Canisbay Lake Campground, Algonquin Provincial Park
Feast for Senses
Fall is a feast not only for your eyes but all the other senses as well. Cool crispness of the morning, earthy smell of mushrooms, crunchy leaves under your feet, campfire smoke dancing in the sunlight, multicoloured foliage twirling in the wind. Fall air is filled with beauty and tranquility.
Rediscover Your Favourite Parks
It is a great opportunity to rediscover your favourite parks and see them in a new light, both literally and figuratively. With the beach weather gone, fall is a good time to try new activities that parks have to offer, explore new trails and locations.
Canoeists on Mazinaw Lake, Bon Echo Provincial Park
Speaking of the weather, cooler temperatures make most camping activities, like hiking and biking, more pleasant and less sweat-inducing. Yes, the evenings are usually chilly but they make campfires even more inviting and conversations more sizzling. Plus a hearty stew tastes so much better on a chilly fall night by the fire!
Getting Wood at Killarney Biking at Lake St. Peter Provincial Park
Absence of Bugs
No bugs! To all those people who can’t go camping because of pesky mosquitoes and flies – fall is the time to try it.
Finally, one of my personal favourites – fewer people. Parks tend to get overcrowded in the summer. As the number of park visitors subsides in the fall, I can finally find much needed solitude and refuge from the city buzz. As the nature starts slowing down preparing for the winter, I am inspired to do the same: breathe in deeply, exhale slowly, calm down my racing mind and listen to myself.
For a list of great Ontario Parks to visit in the fall, check out my article on Parks Blogger Ontario.