*By Ro Nwosu*
This Summer, my goal was to get out camping in Ontario at least once. In the past two years, I’ve been quite fortunate to visit a few provincial parks – except I haven’t really touched many within Ontario. Camping is one of those things where you move efficiently, and with more purpose because the regular amenities that you would normally have around you are gone. Things like fancy toilet paper (you know what I’m talking about!), fridges, your entire closet and the gym.
Camping gives the opportunity to grab that healthier life within a healthier environment. That’s why this yoga car camping trip was phenomenal. Even though I teach and promote living an active lifestyle as a yoga teacher, it can be hard at times for me to give myself ample time to practice and relax. The great thing about yoga is that it can be done almost anywhere. From a plane, to a bus, to even in the tiniest of spaces. Although, nothing compares to getting outdoors and grounding yourself in the dirt, in the grass and even in the water. The stillness and sounds of nature can really level up how your body feels, and it also inspires you to move a bit differently than your everyday patterns.
The trip this August led me to Mikisew Provincial Park in beautiful South River, Ontario. ‘Mikisew’ is the First Nations word for eagle and the eagle inspires others to find their true potential and to walk their true path. It also symbolizes strength and there was a lot of strength with following my true path during this entire trip – with being able to practice, play and find peace.
Upon arrival, the Rangers were personable, helpful and didn’t spare any time letting me know about all the activities that were available during my stay. The campsite was in the Mikisew Pines, which I appreciated way more than what I saw in photos. The trees were tall, the campsite clean and the neighbours around were enjoying themselves. Once everything was unpacked and set up, it was time to explore!
On the way in, I saw a sign that mentioned bike rentals and thought it would be easier to get a full scope of the entire park on two wheels. It’s interesting that there are bikes provided – normally I would have just stayed at my campsite and walked to the bathroom, maybe looked around a little but the bikes made it more enticing to want to venture. The feeling of the wind and being able to take in the lush forest and make stops at all the beaches really helped pinpoint the places to come back to during the remainder of my stay. Even the additional cardio (and I’m not always a fan of cardio) was great. It helped me to prepare for a yoga practice afterwards, in order to stretch out muscles that weren’t used to peddling and giggling so hard from the thrill of zipping around.
After a delicious yoga practice back at the campsite, it was time to jump on this game I’ve never heard or played before… Disc Golf, which is the type of game you wanna play when camping. It doesn’t require much equipment except for a few frisbees and Mikisew Park has a course already set up. Let me explain the rules, even though I didn’t follow them because I’m competitive. I had this idea in my head that it should have been played a certain way that involved jumping in the area and then adding in cool tricks that were only seen by my boyfriend.
– The rules are very similar to golf with there being 9 or 18 holes.
– There are targets, chain baskets, so that you know you hit your target.
– There are crazy trails in which you need to hit these targets or holes. This is hard to do, and you must bend and crawl through the trees in case you’re a poor shot like myself and really want to win.
It was phenomenal! I honestly thought I had a great throwing wrist and it turns out that I didn’t, but it was just so much fun and really works up a sweat. My yoga practice really did come in handy when it came to lunging and twisting on the trails.
Disc golf was fun, so much so that it had to be played twice. From there, the course led to the Red Trail which was about a 1 hour hike through the forest. The trails are well marked and distinct enough to see, even as the sun starts to set. There were many trails and I wish I could have done them all. Mikisew has an array of wildlife and plants that were interesting to see, and the Park Rangers have incredible knowledge of letting you know what is well seen on the trails too. I appreciated that part a lot, because it meant that they explore the area frequently and truly experience the park for themselves.
If disc golf and biking aren’t your thing, paddle boarding and exploring the beaches might be up your alley. To be active out on the water is a nice change of pace. Yoga on a paddle board was a new experience for me. It can be thrilling to see how well your balance works out on the water. Eagle Lake is gorgeous, decently shallow and there aren’t too many boats out – so the water is calm. I have a bit of a fear of water, so it was lovely to know that all the equipment for safety was there and that you could just float and relax without any worries. Even having them for the whole day was the way to go. We were able to relax on the beach, then go out for another paddle over and over, as much as we wanted.
After each day, the breaks in between and the evenings of being able to light up a fire amd sit peacefully, really added to the special moments of tuning in. These activities really made the experience for us. I’ve been to decent number of provincial parks all over the country and Mikisew had everything I needed to kick up the active lifestyle patterns that I try to bring home. There was always a nice space to move, stretch and flow. It really helped me to be mindful of where I was and to enjoy what was happening with the calm around me and the beautiful scenery. Yoga is more then the postures that are paired together. Yoga for me was the bike ride around the park, the time on the water, the walk through the forest, the laughter at the Rangers’ desk and the late-night stargazing.
A healthier life can start anywhere, but I recommend really putting it into practice at Mikisew or at any Ontario Park. The opportunities to learn something new and to try something different is what makes the practice forever changing and forever growing. It’s where I found the potential to explore, find strength and to be honest, be happier.
Find Yourself Here, I dare you.
Ro Nwosu is a Yoga + Movement Facilitator. She’s an International Yoga Teacher based in Renfrew where she owns Movement. She’s a pie enthusiast and experience junkie who uses laughter and dance to train and inspire others. Exploring motivates Ro’s love of travel, health and learning. When she’s not teaching you can always find her helping within the community, couch surfing, hiking or enjoying getaways.
Photos by Cody Labombard
Please note that this is a sponsored post.