Our camping trip to Silent Lake or a recipe for a perfect de-stressing experience

Recently, I read an article about a newly published study that suggests not all people find escape into nature soothing and restorative. On the contrary, they crave a bustling city scene when they need to relax. The idea that traffic and crowds can be anything but stress-inducing is foreign to me, but who am I to judge. One thing I know for sure is that I am not one of those people. I definitely need nature to de-stress and unwind.

Silent Lake Provincial Park

Case in point. A couple of weeks ago, we had a conference at work, and things were pretty busy to say the least. Most of my days started at 7 a.m. and ended sometime around 10, and were spent within the confines of a hotel milling in crowds hundreds of people strong. Plus as a person responsible for social media, I practically lived in the virtual world of Twitter. As exciting, thought-provoking and stimulating the whole event was, by Friday I was longing for some piece and quiet. Grounding was what I needed, not only metaphorically, but also quite literally: I was yearning to sleep on the ground. So a camping trip it was.

The weekend turned out a bit cooler than expected but it didn’t derail our plans or prevent us from enjoying the trip. In fact, it ended up being a perfect de-stressing experience with all the necessary ingredients. The recipe is below.

‎Start with a great location 

We decided to go to Silent Lake Provincial Park, and we couldn’t have picked a better place. Located just south of Bancroft in traditional Algonquin territory, it boasts an aptly named Silent Lake, perfect for paddling and swimming (not that we could do much of either), green solitude of the thick woods, and over 40 kilometres of hiking and mountain biking trails. One of the reasons I like the park is its walk-in sites, which don’t require as much planning and preparation as a backcountry trip, but still allow to get away from crowds and traffic on park roads.

Silent Lake Provincial Park

Silent Lake Provincial Park

Steep in the cool forest air and solitude

When you first step out of the car upon arrival into the park, you get engulfed in the strong smell of pine mixed with a whiff of last year’s leaves and serenity. Then comes the bird song closely followed by mosquito bites. I don’t care for mosquitoes but accept them as part of the package. Certainly a small price to pay for falling asleep to the call of the loon.

pine branch    Silent Lake Provincial Park

loon

Season with a generous amount of “small things” 

With packed schedules and oversized to-do-lists, it’s easy to miss a caterpillar making its way up a tree trunk, raindrops stuck in a web or flowers under our feet. “Stop and smell the roses” may sound like a cliche but there is no better way to put things in perspective and remind ourselves how intensely beautiful the world around us is. ‎And there was no shortage of reminders at Silent Lake.

raindrops in a web

flowers by the lake    flower by the lake

catrpillar on a tree stump

frog    toad

bunchberry flowers

Mix in a handful of sleeptent

Sleep can sometimes be a valuable commodity in our everyday lives. Definitely that was the case for me a couple of weeks ago. So camping at Silent Lake, away from city lights and noises, provided an opportunity not only to catch up on our sleep, but also store some up for the future. I don’t know if it was the forest air, the lullabies of the loons or the patter of the rain, but we slept until noon on Saturday, including our son who’s usually up by six.

Add some movement (with ample breaks)

There is no shortage of movement opportunities at Silent Lake. Our goal for the weekend was to hike the Lakeshore Trail. Needless to say, that after having slept in so late and then taking forever to eat our breakfast, there was no time for a 14-kilometre trek. So instead, we hiked down to the geocache we couldn’t find in the winter. The trail looked very different from the last time we walked it back in March. With the snow gone, we had no problem locating the geocache but unfortunately it was practically empty. “Muggled,” pronounced our son who calls all non-geocaching folks “muggles” just like non-magical people in Harry Potter.

hiking the Lakeshore Trail at Silent Lake Provincial Park     hiking the Lakeshore trail at Silent Lake Provincial Park

lying on the rock by the lak

sitting on a rock near Silent Lake   lying on the rock

empty geocache

Bake it all over a campfire

‎In my home country, there is a saying that one can look indefinitely at flowing water, burning fire and getting paid. I don’t particularly care about the last one but would definitely agree with the first two. With slightly cooler weather, we spent a fair amount of time around the campfire. Add some coffee (or hot chocolate) and card games for an enhanced experience.

by the campfire   playing cards

camping mug and cards

Finally, sprinkle generously with sunset magic and enjoy!

sunset over Silnt Lake

3 thoughts on “Our camping trip to Silent Lake or a recipe for a perfect de-stressing experience

    • Thank you for stopping by!
      The sites are a bit too close for my liking. We stayed at site 80 on the Pincer Bay loop and the fireplace of site 79 was only a few metres away although you wouldn’t tell it from the map. But it didn’t really bother us, our neighbours were very quiet even though they had two toddlers with them. Last year we stayed at site 77 and that one was bigger and somehow felt more private, especially with strategically positioned tents, in spite of site 76 being closeby (again it doesn’t look like that on the map). Same thing though, people around were respectful of others and didn’t bother each other. I have a feeling that those who book walk-in sites want a bit of quiet. I checked the other sites around and # 84 looked pretty big and more private than the others but it’s right next to the wetland so there were more mosquitoes on that side.
      There are more walk—in sites at Pincer Bay (## 66-73) but those are even closer together and close to the beach, too. So on a sunny day that would mean lots of people milling around. I know there are also walk-ins in Granite Ridge campground but I’ve never camped there.
      Even with all the closeness, I would still prefer a walk-in site to a drive-in site. At least there are no cars driving by every five minutes. Ideally, I’d like to be in the backcountry but that doesn’t always work timewise so walk-in sites are the next best thing.

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      • Oh thanks for the info! I agree, I love the backcountry sites, but it doesn’t always work out… I work with adults with developmental disabilities as well and I’m always on the lookout for nice spots for them 😊

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