While staying in a yurt at Mew Lake with my mom, we met a park ranger who had just come from working at Silent Lake. He told us all about the park and that he highly recommended us paying it a visit. I had heard a lot about Silent Lake but had never been there so I was appreciative of the information and decided to look into it further when I got home.
A few weeks later, I checked out the sites at Silent Lake on the Ontario Parks website and it looked to be a pretty nice place. I discovered that all the yurts were booked for the season, except one, yurt# 5. I did a bit more research and discovered that this particular yurt just had a wood stove added to it and as it previously didn’t have one, it hadn’t been booked for much of the month of March. My timing was perfect! My birthday was arriving soon and I always liked to head south for it, but this year, that wasn’t an option for me. However, this could be. I checked with my mom to see if she was up for an adventure and she indeed was. I booked the weekend before my birthday and started collecting more information about the park, what there was to do, how to get to our site, etc.
Silent Lake is in Bancroft Ontario. On the weekend of our arrival the weather forecast for Bancroft looked good. Lows of -21 and highs of -3 with a possible chance of snowfall, adding to the beautiful snow that had just fallen a few days prior. I worked a half day on Friday and then at 1230 headed to get my mom and took off towards the park, excited to explore a brand new place!
We arrived about 4 hours after we departed making pretty good time. We went to the park office and called the number in the park newspaper to be greeted shortly after by a lovely paint covered Jennifer! She was a breath of fresh air and registered us quickly, got us some nice firewood to take to the yurt with us for an outdoor fire, and a pair of snowshoes to rent for mom. We were all set and on our way to the yurt parking lot!
Although I had advised my mom that we would need to pull ALL our stuff to our yurt via sled, somehow she seemed confused and frustrated when we got there about the whole thing. She kept saying she thought it was a sleigh, and from what I could figure she maybe thought horses or santa claus were involved in the transportation of our gear to the yurt? I’m still not quite sure? Regardless, we loaded up the 2 sleds that were sitting at our signpost at the parking lot and trudged the 300 metres to the yurt. In the end she did a wonderful job and I was very proud of her!
When we arrived at the yurt, we discovered the amazing staff at Ontario Parks had already lit a fire in our stove and it was toasty warm!
All of the yurts at Silent Lake come with a lovely storage locker full of firewood. As I’d mentioned the time we were arriving to Mike when he called to make sure I had all the details needed for our trip (another great touch) he had a fire started in the stove for us, which was also very thoughtful. I was already loving Silent Lake!
We had a bit of time to enjoy daylight, so we set off to check out the area, find the bathrooms which were conveniently located directly behind the yurt, and get our steaks on the barbecue before darkness fell (bbq is also provided with fuel.)
After enjoying our delicious dinner and cleaning up afterwards, we went outside to get a fire going in the fire pit provided with the wood we’d purchased at the office. It was about -10 and not too cold and it was a beautiful night to be sitting by a campfire. We had a few drinks and relaxed and after a few hours, headed inside to enjoy a game of dice in the warm cozy yurt.
We both slept fairly well considering I had to get up every few hours to put wood in the stove. I woke up around 7 to go to the washroom and decided I would go for a snowshoe at the lake while mom stayed in bed and enjoyed her warm sleeping bag.
The sun had just started to show itself. It was chilly on the lake with the wind blowing but it was incredibly peaceful. I was breaking trail on the frozen lake and was all alone and loving every minute of it.
I explored the area and stayed near the shoreline. I was not too trustworthy of the lakes this year as the weather had been so mild but I had been assured by many it was frozen solid. Still, I played it safe. You never know?
I found some neat areas full of animal tracks. I believe this bunny hole was pretty active and I stood for a bit waiting for something to hop out, but unfortunately, nothing did.
I snowshoed quite a ways, thankful I had my snowshoes on. The snow was very deep and I definitely would’ve sunk in without them. After a bit, I turned around and headed back to the car. It was time to get back to the yurt and get some breakfast going.
Breakfast was delicious! After we ate, we decided it was time to get mom into her snowshoes and test them out. She said they felt weird on her feet! LOL
Bonnies Pond Trail was 3 km’s and started at the parking lot for the yurts so we figured it was a good a place as any to start the adventure. Mom had other ideas though.
She did not like the snowshoes much at all and on top of that Bonnies Pond Trail didn’t look to be an easy trail. It started out nice but quickly turned into a long trek downhill and mom did not like that at all. She was scared of falling and hurting herself and I didn’t want to force her so we turned around and she took the snowshoes off when we got back to the trailhead. We went for a drive over to the lake and walked around where I did earlier in the morning. Mom kept sinking into the snow but I couldn’t convince her to give the snowshoes another try. She was fine walking along in her boots so we did that for about an hour and then headed back to the yurt for lunch.
After lunch I decided to go back and snowshoe Bonnie’s Pond Trail. Mom had a book to read and was completely content sitting in the yurt beside the warm and cozy fire while I went out exploring. So that is what we did.
I loved Bonnies Pond Trail. The start of it was mostly all downhill but it was also had a lot of twists and turns and was very scenic.
Eventually I arrived at the pond at the bottom of the hill and then walked along the pond where the trail was sometimes narrow and a bit challenging, which I liked a lot. I even saw lots of animal tracks!
Every so often you would come to openings where you could look out onto fields or what I assumed was water in the warmer weather. It was snowing softly as well which made it even more pretty.
There were animal tracks all over and I was on the hunt. I would stop in one place and stand still for a while and see if something would come visit me, but sadly nothing did.
At least my tree friends were always showing themselves to me! 🙂 Who needs moose and deer when you have these cuties around! LOL
I guess all I can show of the animals are their tracks. At least with the snow I know they are out here, somewhere??? 🙂
I made it to the lookout and it was stunning! I was glad I had continued on to see it and taken the side trail to it. I was told by Jennifer in the park office that it would be worth it, and she was right! 🙂
I sat and had a snack enjoying the view. It was so pretty and snowing softly which made it even more beautiful!
Eventually my bum got cold from sitting on the ice covered rock, so I closed up my backpack and got back on the trail.
I was intent on getting back to the yurt quickly after my stop at the lookout. I had been gone for a while and I didn’t want my mom to worry about me. The return trip was mostly up hill but I had expected worse considering how much I felt I had gone downhill during my outing. I guess the uphill was spread out a bit more and wasn’t as noticeable. Yay!
When I got back to the yurt mom was ready to go for a walk around the campground loop we were on. This may sound like a quick easy thing, but with the deep snow and not wearing snowshoes for the walk, made it quite the trek. The camp road is not plowed so there were only tracks where people had walked and/or pulled their sleds of gear. The top half of the loop had no sites that had been used since all the snow had fallen and the snow was very deep and difficult to walk in there. It was a good workout for my already tired legs and almost too much for mom! But halfway through, it started snowing big huge flakes and she loved that, so she was once again a happy camper!
In our travels we saw a few quinzees around the campground. I was amazed that people slept in these. I was definately not ready for that adventure yet, but it piqued my interest for sure!
We got back to the yurt and heated up a pasta dish I’d premade at home. Easy peasy. I grabbed a few icicles for my drink and it was time for games! I had brought family feud game cards I had gotten myself for christmas and mom loved it! We played for hours and hours until we were both so sleepy we had to go to bed. It was a fun night and very relaxing and I was sad we would have to go home tomorrow. The card above was one of many that was ridiculously funny. I actually guessed another kid and did not ever think in a million years it would be on the card, but there it is! LOL
We woke up to a gorgeous winter wonderland and I was feeling so lucky to have gotten to see it!
We took a quick early morning drive over to the lake and I got what I thought were some great shots of the morning sun hitting the beautiful fresh snow covering everything.
Eventually, we headed back to the yurt to have some breakfast. After we finished, I decided to go on one more snowshoe trip. I walked towards one of the closed loops of the campground and broke trail in some very deep snow. A friend of mine had just booked a group site and had messaged me to ask if I could check it out for her, so of course, I had to give it a go.
After what felt like hours, I had to head back to the yurt and pack up our stuff so we could head on our way home. As my mom and I had been to the car a few times to drive over to the lake, we’d taken a lot of extra things we didn’t need back to the car already, plus, we left the 2/3 bags of wood we’d purchased at the site, so our loads were much much lighter, making this a very fun and easy process this time around for mom! She actually seemed to enjoy it and I was very happy and grateful for that.
I took a quick video of the yurt before we headed out and even caught mom pulling her sled, eager to get back to car. 🙂
The trip was a huge success after all and we were both very happy on our long drive home. We decided to stop in Barrie for some delicious food at Moose Wanooski’s. Then we arrived back to Niagara to find warm temperatures and no snow. Back to reality!
I would like to send a huge thank you to the amazing staff at Silent Lake, to Jennifer for her kindness and thoroughness, and to Mike and Tyler for their awesome customer service on the phone and for making us feel special and welcome by having a warm fire going in our yurt upon arrival after our challenging sled pull in. It totally changed mom’s mood and I am truly grateful to you for that thoughtful act.
Thanks so much for checking out my post! I hope you enjoyed our adventure at Silent Lake and it somehow inspired you to get outside and enjoy nature! If you have any questions, comments or issues, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.
Another great read Christina. I have fond memories of Silent Lake. There used to be a fabulous @20km cross country ski trail around the lake. We also use to ice fish there and do quite well (small lake trout) and some nice smallmouth in the warmer weather. A friend of mine told me most of the yurts are propane heated now. I guess there is a trade off of a good nights sleep (no feeding the fire) and the coziness of a real wood fire. Look forward to reading your next adventure.
I like your “fungi and woodpecker hole” tree friend the most! 🙂 Sounds like you had a fantastic weekend!
Thanks Kyra! I loved that one too! It has a pumpkin face nose! AHAHAHA. Thanks for checking out the post! I’m so glad you liked it! 🙂 I really enjoyed my time there. I will definately be going back!
I’ve never been there in the winter, although a friend and I did head there for Easter weekend one year (we misjudged the weather — warm and no snow in Mississauga, in the middle of the spring melt at Silent Lake.) It’s a great park. We went back in the summer and enjoyed it tremendously.
thanks so much for checking out my post and for commenting. You were kind of there in winter, lol. Must’ve been very wet! Hope you get to enjoy it again and I see you back here soon! Happy Camping! 🙂
Whenever I am longing to the great outdoors… I just come here 🙂 Thanks for all the wonderful details and getting the rest of us inspired to get outside and start camping!
Wow! Thank you so much for the lovely comment! That just made my whole weekend! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. Happy Easter!
Great post!! I need to add that park to my winter adventures!!! Thanks for checking out the campsite!! lol!!! Your mom is such a trooper!!
We can go next year. I would like to do the ski trails ! They looked amazing! Thanks for checking out my post and for commenting. You’re the bestest!!! 😘
We stayed at that same yurt a week after you, I think! It was much warmer though. Loved the wood stove even though had to wake up several times during the night. And Silent Lake is a great park, any time of the year. Beautiful pictures, especially the ones with the sun and the snow!
thanks so much for checking out the post and for commenting! So cool you stayed there too! I really enjoyed the park! Hope to see it in the warmer months as well sometime! Happy Adventuring! 🙂
[…] Fued. I’d brought a small deck of the cards that I’d brought on my trip with my mom to Silent Lake and we had fun taking turns guessing the answers. We also played creepy faces with our […]
Love your post, I would have never considered trying this but I’m going to go for it this winter, thanks!!
THAT IS AWESOME!!!! Thank you for checking out the post and for the comment!!! You should book soon! They book up very fast! 🙂 Please let me know how it goes? Happy Camping!
[…] hard to believe that only 9 months ago, I had my first visit to Silent Lake! It was a wonderful experience and I was hoping for more of the same this […]