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PostPosted: November 19th, 2002, 1:13 pm 
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Location: Brampton, Ontario Canada
Hi there,

After hearing you all talk about the winter gathering, it got me to thinking about finally giving winter camping a try. The only drawback is that I can't afford to take the time off to take you planned trip. The most I can afford at the moment is one night, two days. What I was hoping you guys and gals could do is provide me with some ideas of locations I can go to for a quick but scenic weekend. I have the following criteria in mind for my first winter camping experience:

-Within 5 hours of Toronto
-Beautiful scenery
-A place to try out me new snowshoes (i'm buying some this weekend)

That's about it I guess. I was hoping someone could supply me with some ideas.
Thanks,
Ray


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PostPosted: November 19th, 2002, 11:54 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: London, Ontario CANADA
Killarney is the closest that I know

Great fun and you can make a short getaway from T.O.

If you use the sites, you may have to clear your own paths...Then again, it's a few Klm's up and down through the trail ( which again , maybe make your own paths) to the first campsite.

You can day hike around from base should you choose the first of the teo options and use the warm-up cabin to get out of the cold if need be as well.

I tell ya, I loved it!

You can not cross country ski the trail to the first campsite, you would have to snowshoe.

Camping in a site area, there's usually a few tracks ( that I seen) that former cross country enthusiasts have used.

I believe Richard and Debbie ( CCR Host)occassionally puts ski's on into Killarney as well(?)

I'm sure he will reply...

Georgi


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Georgi on 2002-11-19 23:59 ]</font>


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 7:06 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Cheltenham, Ontario Canada
The Bruce Peninsula National Park is worth a look. My deal with my wife when she first agreed to try winter camping was that we would camp close to the car and go to a motel if she was still cold at 11:00. At Bruce, the parking lot is only about 100 meters from the first sites.

Second, the privies are operational, so at least that detail is taken care of.

Third, the Bruce Peninsula gets lots of snow.

Fourth, you can hike to Georgian Bay in a few minutes, which puts you on the Bruce Trail.

Head south on the Bruce and you come to a very nice winter camping site at The Ledges.

There are usually other campers in the park proper, but we have never seen them on the trail.

kk


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 9:53 am 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
pinery has camping all year round. i was there last weekend. it was great fun with the first snowfall of the year. the trails are nice. i imagine it must be pretty neat to snowshoe along lake huron.

the sites are a bit worn from heavy summer use, but in winter it doesn't make a difference! :smile:

it's definitely not as rough as killarney or the bruce peninsula national park, but if you want a taste of winter camping, it's not bad. there're several yurts in case you're not as adventurous. they also have cross country skiing and tobogganing. it's about 2.7 hours from toronto (add an hour for rush hour).


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 10:09 am 
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Joined: July 17th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Lindsay, Ontario Canada
Mew Lake campground in Algonquin is open year round, so is the backcountry for that matter, lots of hiking options there.

Markw


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 12:44 pm 
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Joined: June 27th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Brampton, Ontario Canada
Thank you all for your replies. I am now narrowing my search to either Killarney or Mew Lake.

Georgie,
I think I would like to camp at the first campsite on A.Y. Jackson lake (H54). Looks close enough to the car and far enough to have some sense of solitude. Do you know how long it would take to get there? Where did you camp when you went. Could you tell me a bit about your trip. I am really interested in going but am worried about getting turned around. I will of course bring a map, compass and gps. Do you think I can reserve a specific site or is it first come first serve.

As for Mew lake, what is that place like in the Winter. Is there enough trees to have a feeling of solitude. What was your experience there? Where did you go skiing or snowshoeing.

Thank you all again for you replies. Your help is appreciated. I can't wait to go.

Ray


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 12:51 pm 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Keswick, Ontario canada
Raymond,
Winter camping is also available at MacGregor Point PP, Silent Lake PP and Beausoliel Island (NP). If it is your first time, you probably don't want to stray too far from civilization, so Algonquin would probably be a good choice. I was at Mew lake a few years back and was surprised to find so many people there (30 or so) considering the temperature fell to -20. I understand that you can actually get an electrical site now during that winter at Mew Lake (perhaps someone else can confirm this). Beausoliel Island is pretty close to TO and there are some shelters with woodstoves available. I believe that there is a certain section of the Cedar Springs campground designated for winter camping. The drawback is hauling all of your gear there, and you won't have a car to jump into if you need to bail early. Many of the provincial parks already mentioned have heated Yurts available, but I think you need to reserve them well in advance, because any time I have called they are always booked.
Hope you have a great trip,
Jeff


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 1:02 pm 
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Location: Copper Cliff, Ontario, Canada
Hi Ray:

Don't mean to steal Georgi's thread here, but seeing as I was with him on the winter trip into Killarney, I guess I'm qualified to answer.

We went the opposite direction of A Y Jackson lake. We started walking down the Silhouette trail in a clockwise direction (northwest from the campground) with the intention of staying at the site on Lumsden Lake.

Bit of a funny story here. We hiked in for a while, knowing that we were going to head into Lumsden Lake when we saw the hiking trail sign that marked the side-trail to Lumsden. After a couple of hours of hiking, we came to the conclusion that we had missed it. We had map and compass, but no GPS so there was no way to really verify it, just the feeling that we'd walked too long and too far to be 'before' the turnoff.

We turned around and hike back, the three of us watching carefully for the sign or the side-trail. Obviously we missed it again, since we crested a ridge and found ourselves looking at the bridge over Chikanashing Creek back at the campground. So basically, we had showshoed for five hours, pulling loaded toboggans, and we had travelled about 100 metres.

By this time, we weren't going to tempt fate by marching back up the trail another time. We found a site in the park, stomped down the snow, set up the tents and settled in for the weekend.

Let this be a warning for anyone who is ever tempted to follow Georgi or I into the bush on snowshoes :wink:

Anyway, the site you're considering on A Y Jackson is a nice one. I've stayed there in the fall, hiking in with a friend. I'm going by memory, but there are some small cliffs or ridges along the east side of the lake, and the site is right at the northern end of the lake. It's a bit of an up-and-down trek to get in. I remember hoofing it up some pretty good hills as we worked our way into the lake.

It certainly could be done, as could a trek down the Silhouette trail the way we went towards Lumsden.

Another option is just to stay at the campground. If you've made a poor selection of gear, or it's not what you envisioned, or you're absolutely frozen, you have a couple of bail-out possibilities. There's a warmup hut for skiers - a simple wood framed building with a wood stove. You're not supposed to sleep in there, but it's a good emergency location if you're freezing.

You're also ten minutes away from your car should the experience prove so miserable that you change your mind entirely.

Don't think that you'll be camping in a crowd just because you're in the camground. When we stayed there, we were one of two groups staying over (grand total of five people). Other than the proximity to the park buildings, it was pretty 'isolated' and quiet.

Debbie and I play hookey and go down there a couple of times a year to cross-country ski for the day. As often as not, we're the only people in the park.

Feel free to post again if you have more specific questions.


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 1:13 pm 
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Location: Lindsay, Ontario Canada
Mew Lake will likely have some campers (as in big trailers) and of course the yurts are pretty popular. I'd guess you could pick a secluded site to get away from people but it is a car campground. As others have mentioned it may be a good spot if you are new to winter camping and want to give your gear a try close to somewhere with heat. It is also very close to a number of great trails.

If you really want secluded you could also hike into the interior sites and camp.

Markw


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 1:14 pm 
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I've only winter camped in Kilarney once but was specifically told NOT to camp at a designated camp site. You might want to find out for sure before you make a definite plans.

On our trip, we just took the trail out of the George Lake Campground (go towards the lake, turn left and then walk over a ridiculously narrow bridge). We walked until we felt we had gone far enough. We then took a hard left off the trail and camped in some trees next to a swamp. Lots of standing dead wood to burn which was a bonus.

We were maybe two hours from the car and only 5 minutes from the trail so we felt pretty confident we could get back in a hurry if we needed to.

James.


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 2:55 pm 
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Location: Scarbados, Ontario Canada
How deep into the soil do you dig your cat holes on such an outing?!

JUst kidding of course - and trying to illustrate one of the reasons why you do not want to camp near a summer camp spot. Unless there is a thunderbox that stays accessible duirng deep snow.

Also, in winter you do want plenty of firewood which is scarce near summer campsites.

One last thought: the back country sites in the park at the top of the Bruce do not permit open fires, I believe. Check it out before you go....


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 4:44 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Ray, I like exploring off the beaten track on snowshoes myself but here is a slightly different suggestion on going winter camping for the first time. If you are looking for a little more solitude, rather than stay at the Mew Lake campground, why not camp at one of the backcountry sites on the Uplands Trail right beside Mew or the Western Highlands Trail closer to TO? It is about a two to three hour walk into Provoking Lake form the parking lot, if memory serves (disclaimer of responsibility here) and you can do additional loops to a lookout.. The draw back, or advantage depending on how you look at it, is that the Uplands Trail gets enough traffic that you will not need snowshoes unless you go right after a heavy snowfall. This applies whether in December or March. There is heck of a lot more light in March! Hiking boots alone are fine on the trail. You could take your snow shoes for some off-trail exploring. Walking the trail you can count on almost the same pace as hiking in summer. Using snowshoes on an unbroken trail can take two to three times longer or more depending on conditions. Try out the snowshoes on day trips around home first to get an idea of how far or fast you can go in a day. Also it is much more tiring. I have known some pretty tough hikers and skiers who got a shock about how little ground they could cover breaking trail on snowshoes.

If you want to go backcountry rather than campground it might be wise to get the experience of winter camping away from the crowd without the uncertainty of snowshoe travel. Have fun Jay


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 5:46 pm 
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Joined: June 21st, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Trying things out close to home the first time is an excellent suggestion. I first winter camped in my parents backyard (I slept well - my mom, worrying about me, didn't) and would suggest it as every novice's first winter outing. Aside from the safety factor, it's also very good at building up a "crazy neighbor who camps out in winter" reputation.


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 6:09 pm 
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On 2002-11-20 13:14, James wrote:
I've only winter camped in Kilarney once but was specifically told NOT to camp at a designated camp site. You might want to find out for sure before you make a definite plans........
James.


Yes I remember reading about that in the Provincial Park Rules. You're not allowed to camp on interior campsites and you're supposed to be 30 meters from shore. I can't figure why they don't want you to camp on designated canoeing or backpacking campsites. There would be less impact on the bush.

Donny


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2002, 6:32 pm 
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Location: Copper Cliff, Ontario, Canada
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On 2002-11-20 18:09, Donny wrote:

I can't figure why they don't want you to camp on designated canoeing or backpacking campsites. There would be less impact on the bush.

I think it's for two reasons ...

First, you don't really know where the firepit is because it's buried in snow, so you're going to make a fire somewhere else, leaving a pile of ashes and burned wood that will appear somewhere on the site in the spring.

Second, the inevitable result of bathroom sessions in an area of frozen ground leaves shit all over the place after spring melt.


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