a peek inside the fishbowl

27 Jul, 2021

Camping 2021: Achray campground at Algonquin Provincial Park

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

Perhaps it’s the rainy weather but I am scattered and restless today. My morning looked a bit like this: I read a few pages of  a book, put it down, walked around the house, picked away at a few things, forgot what I was doing, watered a plant, cleaned a toilet, looked something up on the internet, answered an email, bought tickets to some local art & museum exhibitions… etc. Ugh. WHERE IS THE TRANQUILITY I HAVE BEEN BANKING???

First of all, let’s talk about how lucky we were to snag the only yurt, at Achray, in Algonquin Park, during a pandemic year. It was a minor miracle. There it is, nestled down there by the water.

The yurt

We’ve been to Achray before, both tenting and in the yurt but boy, was I glad we booked the yurt this year. Having a yurt means no tent set up and take down. The yurt is more stable than a tent, so no worrying about the weather, which was top of mind considering we drove through torrential rain on the way there. The rainfall was so severe that we pulled over to the side of the highway to wait out the worst of it.

You’d think that this kind of deluge wouldn’t be a very auspicious beginning to a camping trip, but it actually was. This year we got a bit of everything, from single digit temperatures in the evening to scorching hot moments on the trail, from pouring rain to a lake that was as still as a mirror. It was a veritable grab bag of weather and honestly, it just made for a more interesting trip.

Check-in at the yurt was at 4 p.m., a bit later than the tenting check-in for some reason. I’m not sure if this is typical or if it’s just because of Covid. I was just grateful that we didn’t have to set up a tent on a soggy campsite! The inside of the yurt was on the damp side. That torrential downpour had obviously reached here too. The rain covering on the front window had come loose and the floor and two of the mattresses were wet. (The rain must have been coming down sideways for that to happen! Wild.) This was no biggie, since the mattresses are covered in a sheet that is easily wiped down.

The yurt site at Achray

Before we left for our camping trip I looked up reviews of Achray campground online and found some one and two-star reviews which were along the lines of: “Nothing to do, no internet, too many squirrels, dirt roads, too quiet.” Essentially, all the reason we love it.

Achray is the place of my dreams. Honestly. During sad or stressful times this is the kind of happy place to which I mentally  transport myself.

The yurt is right on the water, amid a mix of tall pines and deciduous canopy. Birds chirping, loons calling, leaves rustling, fire crackling – plus almost zero cell service – this is where true relaxation happens.

Things I love about Achray:

  • It is very quiet. It’s radio-free. There are very few boats on the lake and the ones that are allowed are low HP. Plus, the type of campers who come here don’t care if there aren’t any hot showers, cell service, and laundry facilities.
  • When I originally wrote this thought out  (old-school, in a notebook), lapping water and the breeze in the trees were the only sounds I could discern. And these were interrupted by the sound of a family member quietly turning a page in her book.

Camping with young adults is very different from camping with kids. Nowadays we are much less worried about them burning themselves on a roasting stick or accidentally clobbering the other sibling with an oar (both of which are things that have happened in our family). Of course, we still worry, but not very much. They pretty much take care of themselves.

Instead of building sandcastles at the beach we all relax in the sun, occasionally wading in the water to cool down. They entertain themselves and don’t need an eagle eye on them at all times. They help out when asked. Instead of juice boxes we enjoy beer, cider, and canned cocktails (okay, we still drink juice but you know what I mean).

Some things, however, remain the same: hiking and nature sightings and games of Uno by lamplight and chats around the fire.

Achray Campground

This year the girls gleefully pointed out that THEY are now the ones who now help us parents across the typical sticky situations often encountered on hiking trails such as slippery, muddy, flooded areas that are best avoided. “Follow me, mumma,” said the youngest as she and I navigated along some slippery rocks at High Falls. “Just step where I step.”

I will say this, it was very nice to have a steady hand to hold onto when I needed one.

More to come! I’m slowly compiling my photos on Flickr, so stay tuned for that too. :)


1 Response to "Camping 2021: Achray campground at Algonquin Provincial Park"

1 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Camping 2021: Two great trails at Achray Campground - a peek inside the fishbowl

July 29th, 2021 at 11:27 am

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[…] couple of my all-time favourite hiking trails are at Achray. In a previous post I briefly mentioned High Falls. You can canoe in to High Falls, but we chose to pack a lunch and […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. 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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