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Sunday, July 28, 2013

You can go camping, but I prefer “glamping”

   One-Tank Trip for July 27/13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   There’s still plenty of summer left to learn to camp at Ontario Parks – or forget about roughing it and go C at Bingemans in Kitchener.

   Newbie campers
   Among the “what’s new” at Ontario Parks are additional Learn to Camp sessions at more locations, says Lori Waldbrook, senior marketing specialist.
Escape to a park such as Algonquin to paddle a Voyageur canoe in the wilderness. (Jim Fox photo)
   There is also a new “Graduate” program offered to past learning participants along with new Learn to Fish sessions at four Ontario Parks.
   No car or can’t drive? Then there’s the Parkbus offering transportation from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with connections from other cities, to a new Learn to Camp in Northern Ontario.

   Learning sessions are offered at Selkirk Provincial Park in Southwestern Ontario, Murphys Point Provincial Park in Eastern Ontario and Grundy Lake Provincial Park in Northern Ontario.
   As well, in the GTA, Earl Rowe and Emily Provincial Parks are hosting learning sessions in addition to existing programs at Bronte Creek, Darlington, Sibbald Point and Six Mile Lake parks. For rates and availability: ontarioparks.com/learntocamp
  Learning to set up a tent is part of camping programs offered by Ontario Parks this summer. (Ontario Parks)
   The new grad program gives past participants a chance to further hone their camping skills.
   There is a choice of one-or two-night sessions at an existing Learn to Camp location or opt for an independent camping experience at Grundy Lake, north of Parry Sound, with guidance provided.
   Camping equipment is included and participants just have to bring their own food, bedding and personal items. ontarioparks.com/learntocamp/graduates_program.html
   You can even take a bus to Learn to Camp with Parkbus service from the GTA to Algonquin, Killarney and Grundy Lake by booking the camping session first and then buying the pre-reserved bus ticket. http://parkbus.ca

   Go fish!
   Ontario Parks, in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources, now offers two-hour Learn to Fish sessions.
It’s a great day for going fishing at Bass Lake Provincial Park near Orillia. (Jim Fox photo)
   These are part of the overnight Learn to Camp experiences at Darlington, Earl Rowe, Emily and Sibbald Point parks, with equipment and one-day fishing licenses included.
    Other park learning opportunities range from nature photography to kayaking as well as mapping the night sky and creating a stone or wood carving. OntarioParks.com

   There’s an app for that
   Whether you travel near or far, there’s a camping app available.
   Need a flashlight? Looking for easy campsite recipes or a trail to hike? How about a new outdoor game?
A moose is on the loose in Algonquin Provincial Park. (Ontario Parks)
   Camping apps include ones from Coleman for the Classic Camping Cookbook and Meal Planner, Coleman Lantern and Campfire Tales.
   The Ontario Trails Council has a mobile app to search trails by city, town, name or nearby and includes cycling, equestrian, hiking and walking, running and snowshoe and backcountry.
   There’s the St. John Ambulance app for first-aid advice and protocols for dealing with emergencies and includes illustrated guides and voice instructions.
   Stargazers can download the Royal Astronomical Society’s Clear Sky Chart and there is a proliferation of bird-watching apps available.

   Glamorous camping
   Forget all the work and drudgery of roughing it on a camping vacation.
   Bingemans offers “glamping” experiences alongside the Grand River in Kitchener.
Glamping experiences at Bingemans in Kitchener include yurts with two queen-size beds.
   You can enjoy the great outdoors but with additional amenities that exceed anything most campers experience.
   The Glamping Experience packages include a night's stay in a luxurious yurt – that’s a free-standing tent with hard walls and a door – with two queen-size beds and linens.
   There is chandelier lighting, a refrigerator, fire pit, picnic table and a pristine site overlooking the river.
   “A lot of people love the idea of camping – sitting around a fire, enjoying the wilderness and connecting with family and friends – but not everyone likes to rough it while on their vacation,” said Mark Bingeman of Bingemans Camping Resort.
   “We’ve created an experience that combines the outdoor fun of camping with the comfort of a five-star hotel. The other great aspect is how you can customize the experience to be as glamorous or as rustic as you like.”
Bingemans offers “glamping” experiences alongside the Grand River in Kitchener.
   There’s also the Pampered Glamping package for those wanting to increase the comfort level.
   This includes Gina’s Spa glamping rejuvenator, a personal chef dinner made with local-inspired menus delivered to the site, premium picnic baskets and a movie night.
   In its 75th season, Bingemans’ resort has an amusement park, Big Splash waterpark, indoor playland, mini golf and has just added the Kingpin Bowlounge with 28 lanes and Boston Pizza. Bingemans.com; 1-800-565-4631


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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