Tag Archives: Family

Camping for Beginners: Close to Home

Written by: Erin Worgan

Camping in Halton Parks

You may be in the comfort of your home surfing the web, when you read this, and think, why would I possibly want to go camping? If you and your family are new to camping, camp at Kelso or Rattlesnake Point for a trial run before you try camping on a grander scale. Camping at one of the Conservation Halton parks can allow you and your family to experience camping without the total commitment, and without losing certain comfortable amenities that are lost when truly “roughing it” (like toilets).  

Camping at one of Conservation Halton’s parks allows for a fun experience without the congested four-hour drive up north to Muskoka. Kelso and Rattlesnake have clean facilities that include running water, flushable toilets, a fire pit and picnic tables.  Best of all, these parks are close enough to stay for as short or as long as you and your outdoor heart desires. For that reason many people are now “solo camping” as it is said to be an eye opening trip of silence and reflection. Realizing who you are when you are alone and in the quiet of nature can be very rewarding for some.

Kelso and Rattlesnake Point parks have an endless list of activities for you to enjoy. On any given day at the parks you can go for a hike, take a picnic, go rock climbing, mountain biking, take a swim, paddle the lake, go fishin’, or learn a thing or two about nature from some outdoor or wildlife experts. At every site there is also a fire pit, and nothing says fun like sitting by a campfire and having a cookout under the stars.

Like any campsite, there are a few things to remember when camping at Kelso and Rattlesnake, specifically regarding the policies on park etiquette. Please note that only the firewood purchased at Kelso or Rattlesnake can be used at the fire pits on site. A full detailing of all of Conservation Halton’s camping guidelines can be reviewed here: Conservation Halton Rules & Requirements.

Whether you are the “solo camper”, an avid adventurer, or are a family of campers young and old: Conservation Halton Parks are for you! Would you rather stay in a five-star location or a billion-star location? You will never know until you try and the campgrounds at Conservation Halton Parks are waiting for you. You can even book your campsite online or to get more information visit our camping page at http://www.conservationhalton.ca/camping

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5 Great Benefits of Camping

Written by: Craig Machan, Area Manager for Hilton Falls, Rattlesnake Point, Mount Nemo

Ontario is a great place to enjoy nature and there is no better way of truly soaking it in, than camping.  Ontario’s Conservation Areas offer amazing opportunities to take your family out to enjoy a night in nature with over 8400 camp sites.  At Conservation Halton, Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area has camp sites to take your family or group of friends to get a taste of the outdoors while staying close to home. Enjoy camping at Rattlesnake Point with your family and friends. Get a taste of the outdoors while staying close to home!

I loved camping when I was a kid, and now I share this passion with my wife and daughters.

Why do we camp?

  1. Just to get away.  It doesn’t matter if you travel 3 hours or 15 minutes, you’ll feel a world away from home.  When my family and I are set up, and settled in, I feel peacefulness and relaxation come over me. You’ll find you sleep better, and even your thinking clears.
  2. Electronics? What electronics?  Like a lot of people, we use tablets and smartphones for personal use and professional use.  The kids enjoy playing their favourite video games. When we are camping, those devices are soon forgotten.   Instead of crafting buildings with pixelated blocks, my daughters are out and building real structures with sticks and stones for their dolls and trucks. For me, the cell phone is put away and the only buzzing and chirping are the insects and birds.
  3. The memories.  I will never forget the excitement my daughters had catching their first fish!  The look on each of their faces was truly memorable.  Or the time we sat beside Lake Huron and watched the most amazing sunset we had ever seen!  Sometimes it is only the memories of camping that get us through the long, harsh winters we experience living in our area.
  4. It’s cheap.  Like many young families, there is always something that needs the attention of our hard earned money.  Whether it is clothes for my ever growing girls, or money for the next field trip at school, money always seems to fly out the door.  Camping is a great cost effective way to head out on the vacation we so deserve.  For around $50 per night, you can spend a night away.  Good luck trying to do anything with your family for that price!
  5. It brings us together.  Yeah sure, we eat all our meals at the dinner table, we play board games, and we spend time together at home.  But nothing beats the conversations around the camp fire with a S’more (or in my case, a roasted hot dog) in our hands. Or the teamwork of trying to find a geocache. The laughs and smiles seem endless.

As you can see, camping is a wonderful experience to share with your friends and family. I think it should be our national past time.  If you haven’t been in a while, go! It will be a trip you never forget! Find out more information about camping at Conservation Halton here!

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Ski the Slopes with a Pinecone Snow Kid

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Written by: Karlee May, Digital Media Coordinator

We’ve patiently waited all spring, summer, and autumn, and winter is finally here. Finally we can ski at Glen Eden! If your family loves sliding down the slopes, they’ll love to make a Pinecone Snow Kid. Follow our step by step guide below!

After you’ve made your Snow Kid, I bet your family is ecstatic to get outside themselves! There is more to Halton Parks than Glen Eden. Visit our Events calendar and see what activities are afoot in Halton Parks, or purchase a Halton Parks membership and hike in the parks at your leisure.

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Maple Snowflakes + Moose droppings

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It’s Maple Syrup Time @ Crawford Lake and Mountsberg from now until April 7th 2013. Nom, nom, nom!

 What is maple butter you ask? Well, to start it isn’t butter! At least not in the most commonly used sense – it contains absolutely no dairy. In fact, maple butter contains only one ingredient – maple syrup! The maple syrup is heated to approximately 110 degrees Celsius, cooled to 52 degrees Celsius and then whipped until it achieves a texture similar to peanut butter. The result is creamy and smooth and melt in your mouth delicious!

Teresa Rigg, one of our Mountsberg Resource Interpreters graciously agreed to take a jar of maple butter home to experiment with and below are the tasty treats she brought in for us to share. They didn’t last long around the staff table…

Teresa started simple with a tasty sandwich cookie she called Maple Snowflakes

Ingredients:

Pizzelle cookies (maple flavoured if you can find them!)
Maple Butter

Spread a thin layer of maple butter on one of the cookies, then put another on top to make a sandwich. The hardest part was spreading the maple butter without breaking the very thin cookies. Enjoy immediately!

Her second recipe is perfect for kids with a fantastic gross-out look and title but with a taste that is good enough that adults can overlook it!

Moose Droppings

Ingredients:

½ cup butter
½ cup milk
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup maple butter
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cup oatmeal (not instant)

1. Combine butter, milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, maple butter and sugar in a pot over medium heat to create a syrup.
2. Simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Add the vanilla and oatmeal
4. Drop the batter by the spoonful onto a wax paper lined tray and allow to cool.

They won’t win any prizes for their beauty but the texture was nice and crunchy without being too crumbly. They made a delicious maple treat!

You can give yourself some green points for this recipe too! The original called for two cups of sugar – maple butter/syrup is an excellent locally sourced sugar substitute! Something to remember when substituting maple butter/syrup for sugar is that is that maple is twice as sweet as sugar, and has a moisture content that sugar does not. Reducing the amount of liquid in a recipe can help make sure that the texture turns out the way you expect. Using maple rather than sugar can also mean that the baked good comes out denser and browner in colour. Best of all, you can usually taste the maple flavour quite distinctly in the finished product.

Happy maple baking and stay tuned for something savoury in the next installment – maple vinegar. It tastes much better than it sounds – we promise on our sugar maples!

Maple Syrup Calendar

Have any great maple recipes? Comment below, Facebook us or Tweet us! We might just share ‘em here!

MAPLE SYRUP TIME is on now until April 7th 2013. For all programming and information about Crawford Lake’s Sweetwater Festival and Mountsberg’s Maple Towne, click here!

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Maple is More than Pancakes

Christmas TownMaple 136

It’s Maple Syrup Time @ Crawford Lake and Mountsberg from now until April 7th 2013. Nom, nom, nom!

Maple season is in full swing! The trees are tapped and the sap is starting to flow, soon the Mountsberg evaporator will be working overtime to churn out gallons of sticky sweet syrup.

Now the question is – what to do with it all? There are only so many pancakes a person can realistically eat without needing to go up a pant size (truth be told, some of these recipes are so good we might need to go up a pant size even without the pancakes!).

For the month or March we will be revealing all our staff’s favourite non-pancake maple recipes featuring the incredible maple products from the Mountsberg gift shop. From maple butter to maple vinegar and maple chipotle bbq sauce to maple balsamic mustard; life sure is tasty when you enjoy maple syrup in creative and interesting ways!

Our first foray into the culinary delights of maple syrup keeps it simple!

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I was looking for something tasty to enjoy with my six year old while watching a movie this weekend. We decided to give maple popcorn a try. We broke out our trusty Whirley-Pop (stove-top popcorn maker available from Lee Valley) and in a few minutes had a savoury/sweet treat that we couldn’t stop munching. In fact, next time I think we will have to use separate bowls to keep us from battling it out over the last few kernels. Here is our stove-top recipe but if you don’t have a Whirley Pop – check out the link below for an alternate rendition using air popped kernels.

Whirley-Pop method ingredients

3 tbsp canola oil
2tbsp maple syrup – any grade will do!
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
Salt to taste

Directions

Combine oil and maple syrup in the bottom of the pan and place over medium heat. Allow the oil to heat for a minute and then add the popcorn kernels. Agitate the popcorn kernels using the hand crank  – this is important – the kernels get quite sticky and need to keep moving to avoid burning. It will take a few minutes for the kernels to start to pop. Once the popping subsides to one or two per second  remove from the heat. When the kernels have completely stopped popping remove the lid and give the mixture a sprinkle of salt. Transfer to a serving bowl – or two or three… and enjoy!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Air pop method ingredients

5 cups air popped popcorn
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 T butter or vegetable oil

Directions

Lightly butter or oil the inside of a bowl or casserole dish large enough to hold the popcorn. Butter a large mixing spoon. Set aside.

Place maple syrup, in a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive sauce pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and continue boiling until the mixture reaches 236 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Place popcorn in the mixing bowl and drizzle the hot caramel over the popcorn. Working quickly, stir with oiled spoon until all popcorn is coated with caramel.

Cool and store in airtight containers or enjoy immediately.

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 Have any great maple recipes? Comment below, Facebook us or Tweet us! We might just share ’em here!

MAPLE SYRUP TIME is on now until April 7th 2013. For all programming and information about Crawford Lake’s Sweetwater Festival and Mountsberg’s Maple Towne, click here!

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Two fantastic Family Day festivals at Crawford Lake and Mountsberg

Snow today, gone tomorrow: that’s been the theme this unseasonally mild and dry winter for most Ontarians. It’s snow big deal as Crawford Lake and Mountsberg gear up for Family Day weekend!
 
Details behind the jump including what the heck a snowsnake is!

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