It was a great day to head to Algonquin Park for the Winter in the Wild Festival. I was pretty excited to be a demo this year with my hot tent and also get to see all the other great ways people camp in the winter! There are so many ways you can do it. This year, my plan was to capture a few of each type and post about them. (see green link partway down the post for the slideshow I created!)
The forecast was wonderful, almost too warm and compared to last years -42 temperatures, this trip would be a walk in the park!
I was advised I would be on site 17, with the igloo demonstration put on by Algonquin Outfitters, but they would only be there for the demonstration event Saturday from 3pm-6pm.
The site was plowed and ready for me to set up, so I got to work. It was around 230pm Friday and I had lots of daylight left, so I took my time. For the first time setting up the tent for use, I was putting it on a tarp. I would use this for the floor and would roll the outsides inwards to make a bathtub type effect. That way if any water was near the edges, it would just go under the tarp and not into the tent. Hopefully it would work.
As my friend Jen would be joining me the following day and night for her first winter camping experience, I wanted a nice place to sit by the fire. Unfortunately, the actual firepit was buried on the other side of the site behind the igloo and was not accessible, so I prepped another area for it. I built a huge snow couch for us to use and also for others to sit on and drink their hot apple cider tomorrow if they so chose to. I brought some to serve to anyone who came to visit me as a gesture of thanks. I hope people like hot apple cider as much as I do!
By the time darkness fell I was totally set up and settled, and headed inside to warm up myself and my dinner on the wood stove.
I had brought roast with pasta, carrots and gravy and it was delicious. It had been a long day but I headed out to the skating rink firepit to say hello to some friends and visit with them! It was a great time laughing and joking,, but, after a few hours I was ready to fall asleep, so I headed back to my site and snuggled up in my warm cozy tent and lovely sleeping bag, excited for Saturdays visitors!
I got up Saturday and made breakfast and for the first time, fried an egg on the stove. I don’t know if it was especially hot or if it always was this way, as I’d never tried this before. I was really happy it worked. I ate my breakfast sandwich in between tidying up the tent. Soon after, my friend Jen arrived and I gave her the tour.
Jen had never been to Mew in the winter so we went for a walk around the campground. After that she prepared herself to go cross country skiing and I prepared the tent for viewing! Shortly after that, people started to come by and check it out, even though it was only noon. The apple cider was hot and people seemed to really enjoy it and that made me very happy!
People stopped by to visit and they were from a wide variety of places. Some were just here for the day to look at the demos and participate in the Winter in the Wild events. Others, were camping, glamping, staying at a hotel, lodge or cottage. It was interesting meeting all the different types of people that came to visit. I did my best to answer any questions they had about my creation.
Randy from Algonquin Outfitters stopped in to say hello and advised me that a camera crew was coming from Limelight Muskoka and they would do an interview on me and my tent. I was thrilled but beyond nervous, until I met them. Chris and Tammy are incredibly wonderful, and made it very easy for me to tell my story about my hot tent and how it came about, what it was made out of, etc etc. I look forward to seeing the final cut and will definitely share it on my pages for those who are interested in seeing it. (here is the link to the video! )
I was so busy all day that I didn’t have a chance to take any photos, or really do much other than talk to people and answer questions. Thankfully, my friend Jen got a few pictures for me when she returned from her time out skiing, which I am grateful for, but I wish I’d had a few more of all the wonderful people who had come to meet me, many of them supporters of my blog and my pages. I can’t tell you how honored I felt to have so many wonderful people make a point to visit me, introduce themselves and take some time out of their day to speak with me. I am truly grateful and appreciate it more than I can say. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
My friend Candice was the last one to visit just after 6pm. She is such a lovely person and I had met her here last year. We chatted for quite a while and then she headed off to visit some other people we knew. I was starving and tired and ready to take a rest. I cooked a steak on the grill and heated up some pre roastedpotatoes to go with it and sat in the tent with the warm fire going and my feet up.
Well… my feet were actually on a few pieces of firewood. Thanks to Tierney Angus for this great trick I picked up from her on a video interview she did with Shawn James from My Self Reliance. My floor was just a tarp with snow under it and it was too cold to put my feet on, so the wood helped immensely.
The crowds had died out and the park was quiet for now. We sat and talked about our days and enjoyed our food and a few drinks. After some time and a bit of chocolate, lol, I finally felt energized again. Jen and I headed to the skating rink fire pit and joined a large amount of our camping friends for good conversation, some snacks and even a bit of live music, thanks to Nicolas Bellingshausen. What an incredible amount of talent that young man has and how sweet it was for him to spend his evenings playing for all of us by the fire! Looking forward to seeing where your talent takes you Nick!
Due to the excitement and busyness of the day, I was just wiped out and by 11ish, we were back at the tent and heading to bed. In the morning I would take a tour of the park and take photos of some of the different ways people were winter camping here at Mew Lake this year. I hadn’t had a spare minute to do any of that today, but tomorrow, I would rectify that. And, by the magic of the internet… now it’s tomorrow! hahaha.
After my photo shoot, I headed back to camp. Jen had already packed up all her bedding and replaced the chairs and table on the left side of the tent so we could make breakfast. We went inside and did that and then got ready for the day, deciding to go for a skate, jump into the plaid group photo, and then go for a quick hike to the falls and surrounding area. Jen had not been to the falls and as she wanted to go skiing in another part of the park on the way home this afternoon, we needed to get moving. She skated while I went to find out about the photo. It was just after 10am but no one was at the rink.
I found out the photo time had been moved and sadly, I knew I would have to miss it, although I really didn’t want to. I went back to get Jen and we headed off towards the falls so she could see them before heading out. On the way, we saw some of the chickadees hovering around and I pulled out some birdseed I’d brought so Jen could try feeding them.
We continued on our snowshoe to the falls. The trails were fairly packed, but due to the melt and then refreeze, everything was pretty slippery so the snowshoes helped somewhat, in some parts of the trail. Depended on if it was in the sun, or the shade.
As we travelled along, I saw a familiar face coming towards me and my face exploded into a huge grin! It was my friend Kyra from Kyra on the Go and her camping partner Cheryl! They had been backcountry camping for a few days on the highland backpacking trail and were just on their way out!!! The last time I saw Kyra was on a portage on the Tim River, so I thought this was incredibly funny!
We took a few pictures and videos for each other, chatted about each others weekends and eventually headed our separate ways. I was really glad I’d gotten to see her!
Jen and I continued on to the rail trail and then looped back to Mew from there. We actually saw Kyra again when we got back to the park. She had just come from checking out my hot tent and was trying to find someone to discuss a ticket she’d received. Oh dear. We parted ways again, and then Jen and I said goodbye shortly after. She went to ski and I decided to go hike a few trails in the park.
The first trail I did was the Logging Museum Trail which I had never done before. I will be publishing a post on that hike sometime after this one, so if you’re interested be on the lookout for it.
After the logging museum, I did the Spruce Bog Trail. When I finished it, I was pretty much done for the day. I had not slept much the past 2 nights, waking up to stoke the fire every few hours, and as per Jen, talking in my sleep, greeting visitors… lol. I could use a good rest.
I heated up my dinner on the stove, shrimp fried rice which was delicious. After dinner, I made a big cup of hot chocolate with baileys and dunked a couple of double stuffed fudgeo cookies in there. SOO good! It gave me just enough energy to go for my nightly walk with Jack & Paula, which I’d missed so far every night this trip!
Greg who owned the bell tent joined us and we walked the campground roads and found a few really dark areas to admire the amazing sky. It was lit up with zillions of stars and was just incredible. We stared at it for a while, then continued on our way. We ended up at the skating rink campfire, once again, laughing and enjoying the company of the awesome campers staying in the park. Nick sang a few tunes and I swayed to the music, feeling the heat of the fire relax me and make me want my bed! HAHAHA!
Around 10, I called it a night and headed to my warm tent. I checked on my puddle which I’d noticed earlier on. My camp chair had poked a big hole in the tarp and there was water coming through that hole into the bottom of the tent. As it had been so warm, a large amount of snow had melted, in addition to the snow that melted due to the heat of the tent and stove, so it was like a squishy waterbed beneath my feet. Thankfully, the water remained in one small area and was no where near my bed.
I had put the space heater in the tent earlier this evening and set the thermostat on it. If it worked how I wanted it to, it would come on when the fire went out and the tent started to cool, and hopefully, I wouldn’t automatically wake up and feel the need to stoke the fire and would actually get some sleep. It sort of worked. LOL
I woke up to a gorgeous sunny day, it was a bit chilly and most everything that was wet yesterday, was once again refrozen (except my waterbed floor) but not a big deal. I had remained dry and let the heater prevail during the early morning, allowing the fire to go out. I did my best to sleep in, but by 630 I was up and already packing.
When I’d packed as much as I could, I made breakfast, well, heated it up, it was already all cooked. I ate and then continued on my mission. I had decided to head out early and either do a few trails in the park before heading home, or go to Limberlost and do a few trails there. Time would be the judge.
I was happy to finally see that the new material I added to the bottom of the tipi was working. Some of it was even frozen into the ground and I had to yank it pretty hard to get it out, but I managed and it turned out great. No ice clumps or snow balls stuck to the base and as it hadn’t rained, the canvas was perfectly dry!!! So very awesome!!! By the time people were getting out of their tents, I was almost packed up. I visited with a few people and then saw Jack and Paula. We had planned to go on a hike together at some point this weekend and it hadn’t worked out so we decided we would do it today. The plan was to head to Peck Lake. yay! I finished packing, said my goodbyes to everyone and off we went!
We had a wonderful time at Peck Lake and I learned a lot about Jack and Paula along the way.
After this post, Algonquin Outfitters, posted my blog on their website about all the activities you can do in the winter, along with a wonderful video interview on my hot tent. Check it out HERE!!!
Thanks so very much for checking out my post! I really hope you enjoyed it and you come back again! If you would like to get in touch, leave a comment or ask a question, please drop me a line.
Check out my post on the weekend following this one where I go to the Outdoor Adventure Show in Toronto.