My wife and I sat in front of my laptop, looking for a new and interesting place for a camping trip this year. We spotted Silent Lake on the Ontario Parks website and I remembered reading about it in one of Kevin Callan’s books. A quick look at my well worn copy of Weekend Wilderness Adventures, and the decision was made. We would do a road trip up to Silent Lake for some car camping and paddling around the lake.
We set out early in the morning with the truck fully loaded and our tent trailer in tow. Our first stop along the way would be at the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time now. The tour of the Canoe Museum was great. It was interesting to see the old boats from the natives and the voyageurs and the kids had fun with the canoe drum. We also had a chance to do a few activities and I weaved a snowshoe. If you are in the area I highly recommend stopping in.
After some lunch and the Canoe Museum, we gassed up and headed north towards Bancroft. It wasn’t long before we arrived at Silent Lake Provincial Park and registered. We made our way to our site and setup the camp trailer before settling in with a homemade spaghetti dinner with fire-baked garlic bread.
The kids had a blast exploring the woods around our site and we gave them free reign of the area, as long as we could see them. It was great watching my son inspecting rocks and moss, and looking for birds with his binoculars. I think I’ve got an outdoors nut on my hands and couldn’t be happier. My son frequently had to come back to our site and guide me to something interesting that he found. He learned about quartz rock and how decaying trees are habitat for wildlife. He also spotted some interesting fungus on a tree.
The next day would finally give us time to get the canoe on the lake. My wife and daughter were a little under the weather so my son and I hit the lake by ourselves to do some exploring. The lake was dead calm and looked like a mirror. We traveled to a quiet bay and paddled along the shore, stopping to get out at an old wooden bench. A short walk away was “Lost Lake”, which is home to the endangered Blanding’s Turtle. We got back into our canoe and paddled further down Silent Lake, looking for a lunch spot, where we eventually stopped on what we named “lunch island”.
After lunch we paddled back to the dock and joined my wife and daughter at camp where we began preparing a roasted pork-lion with potatoes and corn-on-the-cob. It sounds pretty fantastic for camping food but we like to eat real food while we camp, not packaged or bagged crap, and there is nothing quite like a camp fire corn roast.
The next morning my wife and daughter were feeling better and we all hit the lake together to explore some more. We eventually stopped at a rocky point to let the kids play and stretch their legs while my wife and I took in the scenery. There are some beautiful views up here and we took the moment to snap a few family photos.
We finished off the day with a great campfire with my wife and I sharing stories with the kids from when they were babies. After lots of laughs and silliness we retired into the trailer for the cold night with the heater running. The last night of a trip is always a little bit sad for me, as it seems I always want to stay longer. In the morning we discovered that our eggs had frozen in the fridge overnight (oops) so breakfast became a makeshift bacon and grilled cheese feast. We packed up and took down the trailer, saying goodbye to our site and Silent Lake.
My wife and I decided to give the kids one last awesome thing to do. We traveled home a different route and stopped at the Haliburton Forest Wolf Center. Unfortunately the wolves were not very active today and we only spotted two. The kids did enjoy the wolf museum and stuffed animals though.
We were glad to get home after the long drive but would do it all again in a heart beat. My wife and I are already planning our return to the area for next year and I have delusional thoughts of heading up there to camp in the winter.
But, thats it. Our short summer vacation in just a few photos and words. I’m looking forward to another backcountry camping trip in September and our last family car-camp in October. Its been a great year for camping so far! Get out there and enjoy a camp fire on a cool night!