Day 3: Sunday Funday with Winter Activities

winter layering snowshoeing snowshoe snowshoes

Date: Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weather: Mixed precipitation (snow, sleet, rain) on and off throughout the day; around the freezing mark (SO warm!)

20150117 - droplets

I slept like a rock Saturday night. My feet were warm and toasty in my down booties. I barely moved an inch overnight. I dreamed. It’s amazing what a full night’s rest and feeling warm can do for one’s outlook. I popped out of my tent Sunday morning, raring to go.

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Michael and Bill needed some extra sleep as well, so I worked on a hand-drawn mock-up of my consulting services page in the hot tent with Brian who tended the stove’s fire. We boiled water for coffee. Brian fried up some pork belly bacon in his cast iron pan. Camping with people who love food as much as these guys do is pretty awesome. Eventually Bill and Michael stumbled out of their respective abodes and we did round two on bacon and one more morning of french toast with frozen eggs and bread.

20150117 - climb the branches

After breakfast Michael started tearing down his campsite while Bill, Brian and I went for a walk around the lake. I needed to shake yesterday’s lethargy. I listened to the black-capped chickadees chattering, to a family laughing on the lake, to plops of snow land meters behind me as I passed beneath boughs bending with wet snow. I shot photos finding this or that interesting.

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When we wended our way back to the campsite, Michael had finished packing and we decided to squeeze in a snowshoe hike before he got on the road back towards Toronto.   This is another great thing about Mew Lake Campground for first-time and experienced winter campers alike. The Track and Tower Trail as well as the Old Railway Trail sit just behind the recycling and garbage bins for the campground. The Old Rail Trail is groomed for snowmobiles, although Michael used it Saturday for his training run without running into another person. The Track and Tower Trails is more suitable (and fun!) for snowshoeing. The park’s designated cross-country ski trails (Fen Lake, Minnesing, and Leaf Lake) are within are short drive of Mew Lake. There are outfitters nearby who can rent you equipment. I happened to rent a pair of snowshoes from MEC in Toronto, but you could just as easily pick up a rental from Algonquin Basecamp or Algonquin Outfitters. The campsite floods the parking lot outside of the comfort station for a skating rink and you’re just as likely to see a game of shinny as a solo skater practicing her moves.

We set out for a two hour hike, crossing the Highland Backpacking Trail I had hiked a few falls earlier. There are a few photos in the gallery above (click the orange arrows) from our hike as well as one below. Moving at a steady pace we navigated a couple of steep hills and peeked out through the trees to see we had climbed out of the valley. However there was not enough time to make it all the way around the loop so at the hour mark we turned around and headed back.

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We stopped to chat with a couple from the Philadelphia area just a bit too long – leaving those of us who were damp from the exertion, chilled. Back at camp, Michael took off for the four hour drive home and the rest of us prepared dinner. Using leftover meat from Brian’s meals and vegetables and seasoning that Bill brought up, Brian whipped up a hearty Hungarian goulash on the stove in the hot tent.

I puttered a little before bed, putting away items I knew I wouldn’t need in the morning, and then headed to my tent early to get a good night’s rest before tearing down camp in the morning. I listened to the freezing rain pelt my fly as I drifted off.

Read the rest of the trip report here.

Up for discussion: What’s your favorite wintertime activity?


Published by Kate Monahan

Travel happy. Outdoors professional. Writer. Photographer. Educator.

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