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Winter camping can be ‘magical’

Winter camping isn’t for everyone. But for those who enjoy nature anddon’t mind some potentially chilly temperatures, it can be quite theexperience.

Winter camping isn’t for everyone. But for those who enjoy nature and don’t mind some potentially chilly temperatures, it can be quite the experience.

There are a number of places to try winter camping in Nova Scotia.

Bear Falls Wilderness offers camping year-round. Located in Bangs Falls (about 25 minutes away from Bridgewater), it is a 200-acre site with close to three kilometres of river frontage of the Medway River.

“The river and the falls are particularly beautiful,” says co-owner Carl Shannon. “People come here and they regularly say, ‘It’s magical.’ We’re back a kilometre off the road. There are huge big old growth hemlocks ... It’s a pristine, pretty amazing area.”

Kejimkujik National Park is also open year-round for camping. Plus, you can hike, cross-country ski and even snowshoe. And if Mother Nature provides the snow, the Big Dam-Flowing Waters Trail and the Peskowesk Trail are conditioned every Friday and Saturday from January through March.

The Cape Breton Highlands National Park also offers multiple winter camping facilities. The Ingonish Campground and Cheticamp Campground are accessible by car, but the Black Brook Cross Country Ski area and Mary Ann Falls Shelter are accessible only by skis or snowshoes.

But for those looking for a little more of an adventure, roughing it in the woods is a possibility.

“Some people really dig it and enjoy it,” says Richard Black, a 31-year-old from Lake Echo. “You know, it’s like Cub Scouts. Be prepared. It’s fun to go out and kind of survive for a few days.”

It’s now an annual tradition for him and his friends, with the third trip set to take place this year once the ice is thick enough on Soldier Lake in Fall River. This trip will be a three-day one, whereas previous trips were two days.

“We ski across the lake and it’s just all woods, there’s no civilization or anything like that,” says Black. He brings his cross-country skis along and his Siberian Husky Cali pulls him across the lake.

The first day is spent crossing the lake, finding a suitable campsite, setting it up and gathering firewood.

“It’s pretty peaceful,” he says of the overall experience.

But it isn’t always so relaxing.

“You do get the occasional plane flying overhead, which kind of ruins the mystique,” says Black of the nearby Halifax Stanfield International Airport.