Trip Report: Algonquin Park’s Mew Lake Campground

snowshoe adventures Mew Lake Campground winter camping

In the middle of November, my husband and I attended a wedding for two dear friends. Doesn’t every outdoor adventure story start like this? We knew our wedding photographer friends were shooting the event and laughed as guests watched in confusion as we hugged and kissed our friends after wishing the bride and groom hearty congratulations.

As we stood behind the receiving line, Brian paused from shooting, leaned over and said “I’m going camping in Algonquin January 16th to 19th.”

“Sweet! Do you have room for one more?”

Preparations

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Two days later I had my invite to the Facebook group centralizing the logistics for the weekend camping trip. We arranged car pools, divvied up meals, and made recommendations on important gear for first-time winter campers.

A week before the trip, I called MEC to see if they had any snowshoes left to rent in my size. I lucked out and snagged them for $20 – the store’s weekend deal: pick them up after 3pm on Thursday; return them before 1pm on Monday.

I shopped on Wednesday for snacks and ingredients for a Saturday night pasta dinner. On Thursday I rummaged through our second-bedroom closet / my gear shed and started pulling out and organizing everything I would need for a winter weekend in the great outdoors.

Equipment

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  • Pot set
  • Whisperlite stove and repair kit
  • White gas, fuel botter, lighter
  • FairShare mug, cutlery, coffee mug
  • Camp soap and towel

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  • Tent, fly, poles, stakes, and footprint
  • -20 degree Celsius sleeping bag, fleece liner, and overbag
  • Emergency tarp, yellow foamie, and a Thermarest

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  • 1 extra set of long underwear, wool socks, and fleece jacket
  • Down booties, gaiters
  • 2 extra hats, balaclava, and a merino wool buff
  • Waterproof overmitts and snow pants
  • Plus what I was wearing when I left (see daily log)

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[su_plan name=”Safety”]

  • Headlamp
  • First aid kit
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Waterproof matches

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  • Trail mix
  • Instant coffee (Starbucks Via)
  • Quick oats with seeds and nuts
  • Dinner for Saturday (pasta, separately marinated eggplant and chicken)
  • Water (33 liters)

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  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • Deodorant
  • Toilet paper (just in case)

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[su_plan name=”Luxuries”]

  • DSLR
  • Lenses, spare battery, and spare memory cards
  • Tripod
  • Folding camp chair

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Daily Log

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I packed up my car Thursday night to try to reduce the amount of separation anxiety I cause in my Wheaten Terrier. I didn’t want three trips down to the car on Friday morning. As it was, he came down to the car with me and an armload of last minute items (oh hello camp chair!) Friday morning before our first walk. Not a great start.

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“Kate, are you okay?” I wrested my hand from my sleeping bag to look at my watch. 5:30am. Only an hour after the last time I looked at my watch which was maybe an hour after the last time… you get the idea.

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I slept like a rock Saturday night. My feet were warm and toasty in my down booties. I barely moved an inch overnight. I dreamed. It’s amazing what a full night’s rest and feeling warm can do for one’s outlook. I popped out of my tent, raring to go.

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I slept even more soundly and warmly overnight Sunday night than Saturday. Vivid dreams stuck with me as I awoke early and started to organize the inside of my tent for packing up.

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Published by Kate Ming-Sun

Travel happy. Outdoors professional. Writer. Photographer. Educator.

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