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  • Writer's pictureJessica McQuistin

Summer Family Fun: Camping at Grundy Lake

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

As summer's final days are slipping by, I'm feeling incredibly grateful for the amazing family memories that were made, especially the week my family and I spent camping at Grundy Lake Provincial Park near Britt, Ontario. This is the campground my parents took us to the most as kids, and where my husband and I remember camping as a young couple. We haven't been to Grundy in years, so it was very special to go back with my parents, and watch my kids fall in love with this northern Ontario gem!

My dad's (enormous) side of the family also used to camp at Grundy, and many of them returned this year. After seeing almost no extended family during the pandemic, it felt amazing to reconnect with so many aunts, uncles, and cousins all in one place! I've gotta say, this is one of my favourite ways of hanging out with large groups of people! Everyone had their own space and gathered as they pleased, making memories around campfires, or at the beach, or on a hiking trail.

I could go on and on about Grundy, but I'll just share a few highlights (and lots of pictures - be sure to click on the arrows to scroll through all of them)!

Hiking Trails

Grundy has some of the most gorgeous hiking trails! These are the type of trails that make me want to reach out and touch the trees, smell the juniper berries, squish my toes into the vibrant green moss, taste the wild blackberries, and run my fingers along the roots that miraculously find their footing among the rocks and intricately weave themselves together, connected to each other and everything around them.

During this trip, I was fortunate to go on three of Grundy's four hiking trails: Swan Lake Trail, Gut Lake Trail, and Pakeshkag Lake Trail. I highly recommend the first two for their varied natural terrain and beautiful views. I couldn't believe how well the kids did on these hikes! I think their interest was really captivated by the tricky footwork that these trails demanded, and they loved finding the yellow dots and arrows. The best thing about the third hike was that it was just my mom and I who went, and there was a beautiful lake at the end. The trail itself didn't compare to the others though - it was just a crushed stone pathway in a flat foresty area.

Swimming, Slippery Rocks and Jumping Rocks

My kids could stay in a lake all day and never get bored! I don't blame them. There's something about being immersed in water and moving your body freely that Just. Feels. So. Good. Grundy has several sandy beaches, slippery rocks on a gradual incline that you can glide into the water on, and rocks of various heights that you can jump off of (if you're feeling brave). We did all of the above, and the kids loved every bit of it! It was fun watching them overcome their hesitation to jump off the rocks, and then want to do it again and again!

Canoeing & More Swimming

After visiting a lake with motorboats earlier this summer, I really appreciated how quiet and serene the lakes were here. They made for ideal canoeing conditions, especially with kids. We rented a canoe for 24 hours and managed to fit in two canoe rides. The first day, my daughter Kate and I went out for a mother-daughter canoe trip to Picnic Island where we ate lunch, swam part way around the island, and jumped into the water from some not-too-high rocks. She will tell you she loves canoeing and she even learned to steer on this trip!

The next morning (our last day of camping), our family of four went out together. It was a calm morning on the lake and we caught a rare glimpse of three otters playing near lily pads. We also returned to Picnic Island and this time found an area that we could all swim across to another island. Andrew sure loved exploring!

Now that we're home, the house feels more confining than I remember. (Did it always have so many walls and so few windows?) I miss spending entire days outside and approximating the time based on the sun's position. Sun's up? Coffee time! Sun's high in the sky? Beach time! Sun's going down? Time to tuck in the kids and relax around the fire. I also benefited from a complete technology break during this camping trip. I disconnected from the internet and only used my phone to take photos or coordinate beach meet-ups. Now that we're back to suburban life, but with fresh memories of being immersed in nature, I want to find more time to connect with the natural world and intentionally disconnect from technology. I know I don't have to go camping to do this, but man, camping life sure makes it easier to unplug and unwind!

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