After a long month with no sunlight, we needed to get out of town and a weekend in the forest seemed like the remedy. There was no way I was spending another second in my home town living in a routine.
It was dark the snow was dancing around my headlights making it difficult to see. We had been driving for hours and I was beginning to think that we were lost. That’s when a little glimmer of hope came around another curve in this endless road we had finally found the yurt.
We pulled in the steep driveway and parked in front of a massive pile of snow, it was twice my height, and I thought, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ I read everything over again that Natalie, the property owner, had sent me, she said it was visible from the driveway. I couldn’t help but laugh, ‘Sure it was Natalie’.
There was a narrow trail around the mound that appeared to be hand shovelled out of the snow, so I followed it and at the end of that trail sat an adorable yurt, in the middle of the forest, just as listed.
My first impression was that it was a lot larger than I had thought. The door was difficult to open, as there was a build-up of ice directly in the middle, which made a perfect place to kick off all the extra snow.
Inside was warm, the little potbelly stove had been lit in anticipation of our arrival and it smelt like the sweetest campfire. The ceiling had drapes hanging from the circular skylight; they attached to the wooden wall like a Moroccan tent.
There was a rustic washbasin, a pile of wood, and a very fluffy bed. On the bed was the welcome pack that outlined all the rules and had some suggestions for things to do in the area. While reading through the information, we discovered something we had overlooked. The toilet was an outhouse. I hadn’t seen any other buildings. We looked around in the storm and came to the conclusion that I would have to wait until the following day. It was -25 Celcius and I was not getting my butt out in an outhouse anyways. I was looking forward to a restroom, but it would have to wait until morning as the storm was setting in and I was at least 30 minutes away from the closest village in good weather.
The morning came and the storm passed. We woke up freezing and immediately had to start the fire. When we went outside to finally go to a restaurant to find a toilet and get some coffee we saw how beautiful our surroundings were.
The yurt was at the edge of a clearing there were hundreds of trees, and a little creek that vanished into the forest. The branches had icicles hanging, the birds were chirping, the ice was cracking, and it felt like a winter wonderland.
We found tracks everywhere. Which reminded us of our welcome pack that said a pack of wolves lives in the area and not to approach them. They had come to explore the new smells in their territory and instantly we became thankful we had not gone out searching for the outhouse at night – no matter how bad I had to go. We set off to the restaurant and spent the rest of the day hiking and exploring Algonquin Park.
Leaving the yurt the next morning left me feeling refreshed and inspired. I had learned valuable lessons on short-term rentals, such as the importance of indoor plumbing in the middle of winter but I also left feeling grateful for such a wonderful weekend away.