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  • Writer's pictureClarke Wallace


We glamped. The two of us. At Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, cleared acreage surrounded by forest. The ‘retreat’ bit. I might’ve stayed clear; the name didn’t thrill me. Ok, sit and cross your legs. Close your eyes. Relax. Think of nothing.

It’s the ‘thinking of nothing’ I’m not good at. Random thoughts overtake my concentration. It was the glamping that caught my attention. I’d never tried it. Let’s do it.

Rosanne and I checked in at what’s called the GUEST PAVILION & WATERING HOLE. It was an open wood structure with beams, a roof and a bar. We checked in and were told our tent, WILLOWRUSH’ was down the road by the lake.

There were other tents of varying sizes, many backed by dense forest. A large field was home to two horses bought online from Kijiji, if you can imagine it.

We parked by a large white canvas tent nestled on planked wood flooring. Stripped tree trunks criss-crossed and roped together formed the supports. Its tent flaps were open to show off a king-size bed, a mattress resting on blocks of solid wood with a duvet for added comfort.

No television. No radio. Birds chirping, chipmunks rattling the dry, dead leaves. A gaggle of Canada geese would stop by the early the next morning, curious to see who’s sleeping in.

The tent overlooked the spring-fed lake – John Corcoron’s work with a backhoe (Part One) had paid off – with Muskoka chairs waiting for us. A swimming pool and bar drew us back to the main building.

What began as nods to those who joined us by the pool turned into spontaneous conversations. One couple had come to Canada from Italy with their parents. A young woman was originally from Columbia, then Peru. Her husband admitted life began for him at Etobicoke General Hospital, to which Roe added, “I was a nurse there and probably delivered you,” bringing a rousing round of applause.

Another couple with an Italian background mentioned living in Kleinburg. We piped up that we were from Woodbridge. Small world. What is it? Six degrees of separation? A lively conversation went on over the next few hours. Total strangers coming together over drinks around a pool, or in it.

You could bring your own food with you, or have it delivered to your tent in a wicker hamper. We chose the latter, cooking steaks on the BBQ nearby. The string beans, fresh corn-on-the-cob, baked potatoes were already to eat. Included is bottle of red wine. Dessert, home made butter tarts!

Waking up the next morning, we found a breakfast hamper on the deck. The croissants still warm. The coffee still hot. Granola topped with fresh berries.

Author’s comment: What a welcomed 24 hours. Strangers became friends who we’d likely never meet again. A tent that served all our needs. A bathtub, flush toilet, the sound of nature all around. A bed that puts a lazy grin on your face before you fall asleep. That’s glamping


Not that I’d give up paddling the cedar strip canoe to a small deserted island in Algonquin Park. Sleeping on the hard ground? It’s in my blood.

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