Spruce Woods Yurts

We had a couple of camping trips lined up for a couple of weekends in August, but the weather was looking unpleasant, so we ended up cancelling. There’s something about sitting in a tent in 80 km/h winds – or not sitting in a tent because you’re trying to rescue your eating tent from being blown away – that can sour a person on camping.

We cancelled our first trip, to Gull Harbour, outright, but were able to reschedule our second trip to Spruce Woods Provincial Park. We’ve camped there before and really like it a lot, so we were keen to get there once more this season. Luckily, we’re able to get away mid-week, and it turns out that the campground at Spruce Woods is remarkably empty during the week at the end of summer. We’d have had pretty much our choice of camping sites, but as it turned out we didn’t even have to choose. Somehow, there was a yurt available for a two-night mid-week trip, so we jumped on that. After the mad rush for campsites early in the season, I’d have thought that the yurts would have been completely booked up, but perhaps we were lucky and caught a late cancellation, or things just loosen up in late August/early September (given how empty the campground was overall, this seems the more likely reason, although every yurt was occupied). We’ve stayed in oTENTiks before, but this was our first time in a yurt.

It was great – the interior was perfectly able to accommodate the four of us, although it helped that the weather was not particularly inclement so we didn’t have to spend a great deal of time inside. The best feature might have been the covered deck off the front, which included a stainless steel-clad “counter” where we could set up the camp stove and have space to prepare food/drinks/etc.

Normally we set up our cooking space at the edge of the picnic table, which we move inside our eating tent. Between the sloped walls of the eating tent and the height of the picnic table, it means a lot of crouching and shimmying around the table to get utensils, items from the cooler, and so on. It works, but it’s not ideal. Having the camp stove in its own dedicated space meant we didn’t need to deal with any of that.

As a bonus, the blackcurrants were abundant; we filled a small container but could easily have picked many times more than that.

Also: wild grapes! Not nearly as plentiful but we were able to bring home a few.

I don’t know if we’ll get as lucky next summer, but it’s nice to know that it’s at least possible to land a nice spot at the last minute.

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