This winter has been far from a typical one with warm weather and little snow. However, it gave me the opportunity to convince my family to go winter camping with me. We decided to head over to MacGregor Point Provincial Park to take in a night of winter bliss in one of their yurts. MacGregor Point is a very popular summer destination as it is home to some of Ontario’s carnivorous plants and has a great little beach. It is located on the east coast of Lake Huron, just a short drive from Southampton and about two hours drive from Collingwood.
We started our journey close to noon on Tuesday, just as the February thaw was coming to an end. The drive was uneventful, with Alexander (my son) sleeping the whole way. As we approached our destination, the snow was just beginning to fall with those big snow flakes that make it seem you are driving at warp speed. We pulled in to MacGregor Point to find it all but empty. The ranger station was the only building that was open, with only two people working getting ready for family day. The women who welcomed us was very nice, she took our money (just over $100/night) and gave us a map and directions.
With only one of their camping loops open during the winter, finding our yurt was quite easy. The February thaw had made the ground muddy and wet and with the new snowfall it really was a mess. We first brought Alexander in the yurt before unpacking the car and to our pleasure the yurt was quite spacious inside. A yurt is an octagon shaped tent that is supported by a wood floor and metal posts. On each side of the yurt there were bunkbeds, queen size on the bottom and twin on top. The heating was done by a small electric heater that we kept at full blast for the duration of our stay, keeping us quite cozy. The campsite is also supplied with an outside propane BBQ under a covered deck. You can also start a fire in the fire pit located on each site. We did buy wood to have a fire, but by the time we were ready the snow had started to fall with a vengeance.
Since we arrived with a few hours of sunlight left, we bundled up Alexander, put him in his sleigh and headed off for a short hike. We wandered the park, exploring the different camping loops. Although MacGregor Point has a small foot print, it has a large diversity of camping areas. I can see why in the summer it is hard to get a reservation. With my map reading skills, we were able to get a little lost but we ultimately found the beach. With the snow really picking up by then, and the wind being really strong off the water we decided to head back to the yurt for some evening fun. By the time we returned, we were pretty wet and dirty. A quick change of clothes and it was time to cook. Adriana fed the baby and I made delicious pork chops and corn for dinner. After dinner we put Alexander down, we played a few games and had a few drinks. Then off to bed, I think it was before 10pm.
The morning is when things became interesting. Over night the snow accumulation must have surpassed one foot and the temperature had dropped at least 10 degrees. Opening the door to the yurt was a little difficult, but I managed to push the snow and get it open. To our amazement the snow had left us in a winter wonderland. The snow cover created a great sense of beauty everywhere we looked. The cold temperature, big flakes of snow and lack of wind allowed the trees to hold on to the snow that had fallen on them. This scene really created postcard moments no matter where you looked.
With the snow still falling in vast amounts, I began to worry about the trip home. Thankfully, Adriana convinced me to go for one final hike around the park. This time, with Alexander bundled up and in tow, we began to walk around the campsite. We quickly learned that with the amount of snow that had fallen, Alexanders sleigh was to low to the ground to do any real hiking. We enjoyed the great walk in the winter playground, we made snow angels and shook many trees to see the avalanche of the white stuff come down. After our walk, we packed the car back up and off we went on our journey home. This drive was a white knuckle adventure and took about an hour longer to get home. All and all it was a quick trip that we thoroughly enjoyed. Looking forward to going back to MacGregor Point in the summer to see it in all its splendor.
Yurts are available at many different Ontario parks. With 74 of them spread out through numerous parks, including Algonquin Park, Bon Echo, Killarney and Silent Lake to name just a few. You can find a full listing here https://www.ontarioparks.com/roofedaccommodation/yurts. I would highly recommend giving this style of camping a try as our experience was nothing but pleasant.
Jonas has lived in and visited many parts of Canada, but he has chosen the Georgian Triangle area to call home. Through his formative years, Jonas was an active climber, hiker, biker, skier and canoeist. As 'real life' began to take hold and being a recent father, Jonas doesn't get out as often as he would like, but he still enjoys the great outdoors whenever he can.