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02 Aug, 2018

Silent Lake 2018 part 2: a leisurely Friday

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

Yesterday I wrote about our introduction to walk-in campsites at Silent Lake Provincial Park and our trial-by-fire (or should I say, trial-by-thunderstorm?) arrival.

After the deluge we went for a walk down to the beach and were greeted by a rainbow. I took this as a good sign.

Rainbow after the rain

We ran into another mother-daughter duo who pointed out a detail about walk-in campsites that we hadn’t quite figured out yet. The youngest and I had just lugged a huge heavy cooler up to our site. Why hadn’t we just left it in the food shed with the other stuff? Apparently, the thing to do is go down to the food shed from your site with a grocery bag and load up everything you need INSTEAD OF LUGGING A TWO TON COOLER UP TO THE CAMPSITE and then BRINGING IT BACK DOWN AT NIGHT. Doh.

I am glad we sorted this out sooner than later because honestly, it was breaking out backs. Here’s what that food shed looks like inside, by the way:

Inside the Food shed

The next day the two of us set out for Bonnie’s Pond Trail. It’s 3km; an estimated 1.25 hours round trip. Park folks rank this trail as “easy” but I don’t completely agree. A stretch of boardwalks and flat gravel is easy, but this was a bit more challenging than that, with hills and uneven paths over rocks and roots so let’s call it Pleasantly Rigorous But Not Punishing.

That being said, Bonnie’s Pond Trail is a definitely a “must do” if you’re visiting Silent Lake. It really is pretty, with lots of mature trees, mosses, and ferns, with a nice payoff in the form of a lookout. It felt longer than the alleged 3K distance, but maybe that’s just me.

Bonnie's Pond Trail

Bonnie's Pond at Silent Lake

Lookout along Bonnie's Trail

Fishbowl readers may remember a very buggy hike at Bon Echo last year and a special family challenge that I issued to all participants. Well, I should mention that Bonnie’s Trail was the opposite, with minimal mosquitos and no deer flies. In fact, the bugs at Silent Lake were a non-issue during our stay. We didn’t use nearly as much bug spray and no one even needed the calamine lotion. (!) It must be because it’s been such a dry summer. In fact, until the day we arrived there was a fire ban in the entire area. We’ve dealt with a fire ban only once before. A fire ban is a real bummer, totally understandable, of course, but camping just isn’t camping without gathering around an open fire.

The youngest and I had a late lunch on Friday. On the menu: the pork kebabs we were supposed to have the night before, along with a chopped salad. We saved the leftover salad for Mark and the eldest, who were arriving later that evening. We covered the bowl with a plate but a determined chipmunk figured out how to get into the salad anyway so we had to resort to drastic measures to keep him out. Can you see him in the photo below?

Curious chipmunk

(If not you may need to see a larger version.)

We decided to light our fire a little earlier than usual, and the youngest accepted the challenge. Miraculously, she got it started. I suspect that the $1.75 fire starter cube I bought at the gatehouse helped things along a bit (they also sell ice, wood, and select emergency supplies such as Advil, tampons, coffee, marshmallows and the like) but I feared that even a firestarter chemical bomb or whatever it is wouldn’t be a match for a soggy fire pit filled with damp branches and a sopping wet pizza box at the bottom of it all. Good news for us, it worked and we had a lovely fire.

We spent the rest of the day reading and/or staring off into space and into the tree tops as we waited for Mark and the eldest to arrive. We also fooled around with the camera a bit.

Red squirrel sneaks a peanut

Blue jay 2

Coming up next: more about some of the critters we encountered during our stay.


2 Responses to "Silent Lake 2018 part 2: a leisurely Friday"

1 | Jinjer

August 2nd, 2018 at 3:21 pm

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Ohmygosh that chipmunk is too cute! Love the squirrel and blue jay also. You guys make camping seem like so much fun, in spite of the rain and lugging coolers unnecessarily!

2 | Ginger

August 2nd, 2018 at 3:33 pm

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And now I read part two and followed your link back to hiking with fly paper attached to your hat…

Maybe camping in Canada isn’t so different than Texas! :)

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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