January 11 - Day 1
Arrival at Mew Lake

I had an opportunity to take a young Australian lad, who had never seen snow to Algonquin Park. I was asked to take the young fellow ("Lochlan" is his name) on a winter camping trip. I initially declined the offer citing my concern as it is not the kind of trip for inexperienced people and it is a lot of hard work. Lochlan didn't even have his own pair of snowshoes.

Instead, I offered a more memorable experience; Two nights in the comfort of a yurt complete with an outdoor fire-pit, while during the daytime the chance to hike some trails. A much easier itinerary then the extraneous physical exercise of interior winter camping.

I tied the trip in with a meeting in Barrie, north of Toronto. Leaving the meeting during the lunch break we headed up to the West Gate to pick-up our permit and the key to our yurt at Mew Lake Campground.

We arrived at our yurt shortly after 4pm and while unloading the vehicle, I spied a pine marten across the road, as it bounded across a vacant campsite. I scrambled to get my camera and tippy-toed my way to where I last saw the marten and for the next 10 minutes waited. The marten did not return and so I continued to unload the vehicle.

Once we got established in our yurt, we went for a walk around the campground, most of the yurts were occupied, but all we saw was one couple walking around as well. It was very quiet, winter in The Park is a bonus sometimes.

bird feeding

Lochlan enjoys an encounter with a Chickadee


Lochlan was quite thrilled by all the snow and enjoyed the fire I had got going with Lochlan's help. Surprisingly, the wood provided for the campground was not the usual wet and frozen birch, but was in fact maple that was damp, but when it got going, it burned well and smelt even better, a nice change.

campfire
Lochlan enjoys his first wintertime campfire and it was goooood and warm!


We had a dinner of store bought subs and a few beers to unwind and enjoy the campfire. It was Lochlan's first experience drinking beer in a cold climate and he was astonished to realize that as he drank his beer it got colder instead of getting warmer like beer usually does. Another bonus of drive-in camping in the wintertime!




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