Droplets of icy snow hang like small crystals on the branches of trees as we pull our sleds on the path. Headed for our first camping trip of 2023, we are set to spend the January full moon, otherwise known as the Wolf Moon in a yurt at Silent Lake Provincial Park.
Located in Eastern Ontario close to the town of Bancroft on 1450 hectares, Silent Lake Provincial Park is situated on the Canadian Shield and boasts eight yurts that can be used in winter. A yurt is a cross between a tent and a cabin, originally developed by nomadic Mongolians. The structure is circular in shape with a wooden cross-hatched frame, covered by tarp-like material.
Of the eight yurts at Silent Lake, four have electricity with electric fireplaces and four have no electricity and are a short 300 metre walk-in. From the parking lot a rack of sleds is available for loading your gear to pull to your yurt.
There are comfortable beds, a table to sit at and a cozy woodstove that keeps the place warm. Outside is a deck with a picnic table and propane barbecue with a side burner and an outdoor fire pit.
The first thing we do is light the stove. There is lots of wood provided. Like camping, the bathroom is outside in a shared privy down the path. We bring our own water as the communal taps that our distributed throughout the park are shut off for winter.
We unroll our bedding and unpack our dishes. Immediately I put my camping kettle on the stove. It’s so nice to have hot water for making tea, washing dishes or my face. Indoor shoes are a must. Snowy boots can be left at the door.
The first night we reheat some stew in a pot on the woodstove and play board games by lamp light. Going to sleep we gaze up at the full moon visible through the centre skylight. Once in the night my husband, Brad gets up to feed the fire. The yurt is toasty as long as the fire continues to burn.
Day Two: Exploration
The next morning after breakfast we pack a bag with water and snacks, donning our winter wear we head out. Originally when we booked this trip, we had planned to cross country ski. Silent Lake Park has 34 kms of ski trails. Unfortunately, our trip followed one of those annoying January thaws which meant that conditions for cross country skiing is less than desirable.
With plans to try the trails the next time we head to one of the three snowshoe trails. We abandon our snow shoes; the trails are hard and the snow is packed down from the winter melt. However, the sky is clear and blue.
Although there is wind the sun warms us as we walk along the Bonnie Pond Trail. The path follows a picturesque shoreline with a small waterfall and lookout point.
We return to our yurt rosy cheeked and rejuvenated by sunshine and fresh air. After a little snack I stretch out and read my book, dozing lazily in front of the fire. In the summer I do this on a big warm rock by the lake.
As night descends my husband starts a fire in the fire pit outside as we barbecue our dinner and watch as the big round moon slowly climbs the sky. Camping even if it’s winter glamping is about simplifying life and connecting to nature.