Kory was able to snag a couple days off of work, so we decided to drive up to MacGregor Point, near Port Elgin, Ontario, (a 360km jaunt this time) for a long weekend of camping. The older members of the family (Kory, Em and I) have been there several times but this would be Lyssa’s first trip. We love it there and we were excited to get away again.
On Thursday evening we drove up to Zurich, near Grand Bend, to get a little bit of the driving out of the way. This ended up being a bit challenging as we were driving through the “witching hour” and our 6 month old was not pleased. We arrived at our destination in decent time though, and our moods improved when we entered the hotel. Kory booked us in for a night at Hessenland Country Inn. Now, this is a camping/nature blog, so you need to believe that we were quite impressed by this place for me to mention it on here! Our room was wonderfully clean, quiet and comfortable, the staff went out of their way to be friendly and the grounds were stunning! The rate was reasonable and included a delicious breakfast. We’ve driven by this place many times, and we certainly plan to return – highly recommend it if you’re not in the mood to camp!
After a fair night’s sleep (as good as could be expected when you’re in a hotel with 2 kids and the routine’s all off..), we awoke to a beautiful sunny day and set off for our destination. We grabbed a fast food lunch in Port Elgin and found our campsite. Em was happily occupied with her food while Kory set up the pop-up camper.
Our site was gravel this time – perfect for the preschooler (apparently she’s not a “toddler” anymore at 3 years old) to collect rocks!
Our campground was in a relatively young forest, as this area had previously been logged. White Ash, White Spruce, White Birch, Eastern White Cedar and Trembling Aspen made up the canopy, and dogwoods filled the understory. I love hearing the gentlest of breezes rustle the leaves of the Trembling Aspen. I forgot my plant book this trip, not that there was much time for botanizing. On our last day, I discovered that the Visitor’s Centre has a library – including both kids books and plant and wildlife ID books! What a great idea!
Arriving at the campground earlier in the day was awesome – we set up and promptly went for a hike. We followed a trail near our campsite led to the lake. Lyssa went up in the Tula and Em went up on daddy. Why walk when you can ride, I guess. I was hoping she’d be interested in a toddler carrier, but she flat out refuses. She was a “late” walker at nearly 18 months, but now she’s Miss Independent much of the time.
As we approached the beach, we were reminded why we love this place so much!
Lyssa and I stayed in the shade while daddy and Em threw rocks into the water. The late summer sun is so intense! We’ll be missing it soon enough…
After returning to the campsite for dinner, we set off for another hike. This time we drive to the Visitor’s Centre and took the Huron Fringe trail and then walked to the actual point of MacGregor Point.
In the gorgeous evening light, daddy and Em threw more rocks into the water (an activity that never gets old) as Lyssa snuggled into my Tula. We had the place to ourselves. I think one of the things I love about camping is all the family time. At home, there is always something to do, something nagging away, messes to clean, yard work that needs attention. On a hike like this, we can just relax into the natural environment and enjoy each other’s company. I truly hope the girls will enjoy camping with us for years to come.
The trails were lined with blooming Goldenrod and Campanula, and some Joe Pye weed was still in flower. We also saw several frogs absorbing the heat of the day from the road, but I will save you from all my terrible iPhone pics…
The Potentilla appeared to be thriving along the beach, smiling brightly in the dusk. This park has a great variety of wildflowers. Some day, I’ll get there in the springtime!
On our way back to the campsite, some fellow campers were waving at the side of the road. They were watching a porcupine near the dumping station. Em and I got out if the car to watch. The porcupine was quite slow moving (as I guess one can afford to be when covered in spines) and I loved watching it walk. We got some terrible pics in the fading light.
Back at our pop-up camper, Kory helped Em to sleep as I nursed Lyssa down. He was then able to get out for a other walk to the water to watch the sunset (and more birds, no doubt!). I finished with Lyssa, and then we sat by the fire with the baby monitor on. Gotta love technology!
This was a short trip, but we packed in a lot of good times. I’ll continue with this trip soon in Part 2. Happy trails!