Summer camping in Algonquin Park, Ontario

A weekend spent in the forest is a quintessential summer activity.

We spent some time deep in the Algonquin forest in Ontario this summer, surrounded by giant conifers, lush leafy ferns, sparkling lakes + singing birds, sleeping in a forest made of glacier boulders... pretty incredible. Our hike started off in a sea of Reindeer lichen - fluffy white plants that carpeted the forest floor. It was a scene straight out of a fairytale. 

Fun Fact: Although Reindeer lichen (Cladonia rangiferina) looks like a moss, it actually is not a moss. It is a wild edible - but it does taste quite bitter + has a woody texture. It has been used for centuries in folk medicine for everything from upset stomachs to cough suppressants. 

We set up camp in between giant glacier erratic boulders surrounding Buchholz Lake, some were as tall as me! The lake was crystal clear, topped with beautiful blooming water lilies + grassy cattails. We cooked yummy meals on the fire, spent the afternoon birdwatching (catching a few Loons + Yellow-rumped Warblers!) and exploring the plants growing all around us.  Fresh wild blueberries were ripe for the picking, so of course a few had to be snacked on... Spending moments like these out in nature truly recenters the soul + spirit.

When you stop to look around, you will be marvelled when you realize all of the wild medicinal + edible plants around you! I personally love bringing along a wild edible identification book, as well as a wild mushroom identification book - immersing yourself right in nature is the best way to learn. (Caution: do not eat any wild plant or mushroom without being 100% sure of your ID. It is best + safest practice to only practice your identification.) For Wild Edibles in Canada, we love THIS book, however there are many publications that are widely available to purchase at both your local bookshops + online.

There are so many beautiful edibles + medicinals growing in bountiful Algonquin, anyhow, these are a few that we personally love to explore out in back country:
  • Cattail - Typha spp.
  • Chicken-of-the-woods - Laetiporus sulphureus
  • Chickweed - Stellaria media
  • Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale
  • Morels - Morchella spp.
  • Plantain - Plantago spp.
  • Shaggy Mane - Coprinus comatus
  • Spruce Tips - Picea spp.
  • Sweet Gale - Myrica gale
  • Turkey Tail - Trametes versicolor
  • Wild Blueberries - Vaccinium angustifolium
  • Wild Raspberries - Rubus spp.
  • Wild Rose - Rosa spp.

You'll want to become familiar with THIS plant...

    POISON IVY    
A pesky plant that you most definitely want to familiarize yourself with before heading out on your outdoor adventures. A plant that you want to avoid because of its irritating resin called  urushiol that can cause red, itchy, blistery skin. A compound leaf made up of 3 leaflets - look for "leaves of 3". The bottom leaves resemble 'mittens' with the 'thumbs' pointing out, with pointed tips.  Poison ivy can be seen growing in both a crawling ground cover, as well as a climbing vine.
If you believe you've come in contact with poison ivy, you will want to wash the area immediately with a gentle, mild soap to try and remove as much of the irritating oil as possible. Change your clothes to avoid transferring that oil. From there, you will want to keep the area hydrated with a soothing lotion or herbal salve that will reduce the redness, irritation + itch. Bathing in cool water will also soothe the area. 

Camping essentials that we can't live without

After spending our fair share of time backpacking + portaging in back country, we have complied a list of a few essentials that we truly can't live without... 

  •     BUG PROTECTION:     the best bug protection in my opinion is physical - we love using The Original Bugshirt that keeps us protected from black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, all without the need for chemical sprays like deet.
  •     SOMETHING TO TAKE AWAY THE ITCH:     from bug bites to scrapes, rashes, + burns, we can't live without this healing and soothing salve. Our CALENDULA + PLANTAIN salve is a simple, yet effective product that can be used on the hands, lips, face, anywhere that needs a healing, moisturizing touch.
  •     SUN PROTECTION + CARE:     when spending hours + days out in the harsh sun, protection and care is critical. Be sure you are using SPF every few hours to prevent burns. Our ALOE VERA + NETTLE after sun spray soothes your sun kissed skin by replenishing it with essential moisture that promotes healing. It's formula is cooling, which also keeps you feeling refreshed on those hot summer days.
  •     KEEP IT CLEAN:       which product you use to clean yourself, clothes + equipment is important - the golden rule of being outdoors is "leave no trace". Our SOAP STICKS are the perfect product to do just that - our 100% natural + biodegradable formula is gentle on skin and mother nature. It is important that you discard of your grey water (water used in washing) away from active water sources. Plus, they come in convenient, light-weight sticks!


We hope you get a chance to spend some time out in nature this summer + would love to hear your favourite summer activities down in the comments below! 



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