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Algonquin & GoGirlfriend Escape 2012

5 tips for fun fall camping in Algonquin

Maybe you've back-packed Europe or snow-shoed through Alaska but you haven't really lived until you've camped in and around Algonquin Park in Ontario. Algonquin is glorious year-round but autumn is my favorite. The bugs and tourists have (mostly) vacated until next summer, the colors of the leaves take my breath away and the temperatures make hikes much more comfortable.

Girlfriends, if you're hunting for a fall adventure, read through our tips for fun and safe fall camping in Algonquin.

Tip #1 ~ Leave your hairdryer at home

how to stay warmhow to stay warmCamping at any time of year involves balancing needs with wants. I need a moisturizer and lip balm just as much as I need protein. But I can do without make-up. In the fall, economizing supplies becomes a science - because now we need coats, hats and mitts.

It's always colder than you think it's going to be and thermal underwear is never a mistake. Your hairdryer? This ain't glamping!

Tip #2 ~ Make lots of noise when hiking

By the time fall rolls around, bears are packing on the pounds to get ready for their long winter's nap. They're roaming and foraging and there's a bigger chance you might encounter one while hiking through the park. Always carry a whistle or a couple of flat rocks in your pocket and talk loudly while walking. If you make enough noise, they'll hear you long before you have a chance to surprise them.

If you unwittingly sneak up on a bear, ensure first that you're not between a mom and her cubs. And then stand your ground and try to make yourself look bigger than you are - by blowing that whistle or banging those rocks. Be the alpha bear and you have a better chance of surviving your encounter.

Tip #3 ~ Wear bright colors

Algonquin beauty at sunriseAlgonquin beauty at sunriseOctober signals the start of hunting season in Ontario (Note: hunting is not permittted within park boundaries). If you're in and about the park to hike or leaf-peep, wear bright colors so you stand out from the wildlife. Hunters wear an orange hat and/or vest because it stands out - even in colorful foliage. Make it a rule that everyone wears their bright colors when outside.

Travel in packs and if a couple separate from the group, know their exact route and estimated time of arrival back at your camp. Cell service is sketchy in the park so don't rely on it if you need help. And son't forget your survival kit.

Tip #4 ~ Leave your diet at home

One of things I love best about fall camping is the crisp, fresh air. While swimming is no longer an option, you can hike for hours without breaking a sweat. To stay energized and warm, your body needs carbs and protein in equal measures.

And let's be honest. A beautiful bottle of wine shared between friends around the campfire after a day outside is heaven. I guarantee your body will thank you for the extra energy and the bathroom scale will forgive you when you return home.

Remember to indulge responsibly.

Tip #5 ~ Pack out what you pack in

Algonquin's natural beautyAlgonquin's natural beautyAlgonquin remains beautiful because of the way its visitors treat it. You're a guest in the park, a visitor, and it's your responsibility to preserve it for the next person who visits. Whatever you take into the park, take it out when you leave.

If you're a fall camper, I'd love to hear your camping tips. I'd also love to hear about your favorite fall campgrounds - and why they rank as a favorite. Yosemite? Joshua Tree? Banff? Fundy? Share your finds with us and let's talk!

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I loved New Year's Eve camping in Algonquin when I lived in ON. Wonderful place all around. I'm back home in Gros Morne National Park in NL nowadays and loving it, too. The fall colours are wonderful. The mountains are accessible and both front country & backcountry camping are do-able year round.

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