A few of us decided pretty close to Easter to look for an easy, one-night/two-day trip we could do in a cabin or yurt with a couple little kids, and a quick search led us instead to the four season tents at Lac Philippe in Gatineau Park, mainly because a handful were still available.
[popout]Our friends Pilar and Hubert took care of the booking and reserved three of the four tents for themselves and their 2-year old daughter, Me, Erica, and Erica’s 3-year old daughter, and a to-be-determined third party, which ended up being new-friends-to-me Rob and Tina.
The tents are relatively easy to access; a short 3.5k cross country ski or 4k snowshoe from P19, though we ended up hiking along the #50 cross country trail instead, unsure how much snow we’d encounter this late in the season.
These tents are pretty well equipped, with a double bed, two single bunks (built in a clever fashion so as to maximize both space and climbing fun for the kids), a two-burner propane stove and propane fridge, table, chairs, and of course a nice wood stove. There’s also a pretty good assortment of pots, frying pans, strainer, and so on, but bring your own cutlery and cups.
Erica and I nabbed the furthest site, 258, purely by accident but, with a steep hill just beyond the fire pit giving it a nice remote aura, I’m pretty sure it’s the nicest location of the four.
Once we were settled in and had fires going to warm the tents, Pilar and Hubert took care of dinner: a variety of cheeses and Polish sausages, followed by a huge pot of homemade chili. Rob and Tina brought some chicken to throw on the fire, which prompted Hubert to pull out some pork chops he had hidden away, too – the first campfire of the season surely deserves some meat to cook!
After dinner was some wind-down time as we all hung out in the middle tent, sipping some bevvies, sharing stories, and entertaining the kids. Around 10:30 Erica and I left to put her daughter to bed, but never made it back to the party.
Monday morning brought with it obvious signs of an animal visitor the night before. The evidence, most notably the little chocolate eggs hidden inside our tent and out in the forest, pointed clearly to a large, magical bunny rabbit!
It was neat doing the egg hunt outside and the kids caught on with very little prodding. As they buzzed about on sugar for a bit, Erica and I prepared the group breakfast: bacon and eggs with potato cakes, and Rob dropped his leftover chicken back on the grill.
Checkout time is 11, so by about noon we were packed and loading up outside Hubert and Pilar’s tent.
And with that we wrapped it up! Nothing but an easy 4k walk back to the cars with nice light packs!
I’m stoked to have had a chance to check these tents out, even if just for a night. I imagine in the summer it would be much busier, with the hundreds of campsites that surround the tents, but in the winter it’s pretty quiet with just a handful of skiers coming around the loop and whatever neighbours have rented the tent next door.
All in all – another great thumbs up, and an easy, fun, kid-friendly overnight adventure!