Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Camp Morton Yurts Review

Camp Morton Yurts, Manitoba Review (and suggestions)

This past weekend my family did something new: instead of our usual tent camping at the wilderness area of Camp Morton Provincial Park we accepted the invitation of the illustrious Howe's (a very cool families in our church) and went "yurting" instead. Yurts are modern outdoor tent structures based on the refined designs used for centuries by Mongolian nomads.

Let me just say, for someone who is mostly a wilderness camper staying in a campground (even in yurt) seemed in principle to be a betrayal of my camping philosophy. My philosophy can be summed up like this:

1. Be as far away from other campers/people/civilization as possible.
2. As much as possible, carry all your own gear, be self propelled.
3. Travel light and simply.

All of my philosophy had to be thrown out the window. Instead I tentatively tried what Manitoba parks calls "comfort camping." What does this mean? Basically, you are coddled. Instead of a tent you get a large 16 foot diameter yurt complete with rustic bunk bed, table/chairs, futon, armoir, and coat tree. Not only this, but the yurt has lights, yes that's right, ELECTRICITY. You have dimmable lights, power sockets, a fan, and (I kid you not) an electric heater. A large transparent (and openable) dome in the ceiling lets you see the stars or sky at all times. Outside your door you have a nice covered deck and kitchen area which is great for cooking (no cooking in the yurt). There is also an outside light there. In front of your deck you have your own firepit, a picnic table, and you own personal wagon for transporting your stuff from the car to your site. It was so cushy that it was overwhelming. And I'm ashamed to say that we did, ahem, use the heater when it got a bit cool in the evening. Yes we did and I enjoyed it's toasty warmness. Here's a few pics:

Skylight dome and top of bunk bed

Front of yurt and deck.

Jobina cooking in her al frescoe outdoor kitchen area.

The lakeview from inside yurt #2 , looking out.

For a family, this kind of camping is just way to ideal. It's so easy. During a short rainstorm we just hung out in the yurt and when we got hungry we went outside onto our deck and cooked our hotdogs on our stove (which we'd brought ourselves). The yurt was so esthetically pleasing - round rooms feel better for the soul somehow - that I usually didn't want to leave. Of course I did as Camp Morton Provincial Park has lots to offer: trails, swimming (our yurt had a nice lakeview), the gardens, etc. Definitely more then enough for a young family for one weekend. We had the Howe's over at our yurt for campfires in the evening and had a blast. Also, since the yurts are brand new at the park this year we were presented with a cheezy T-shirt to mark the occasion. Sweet unexpected additional value! Also, unlike some campgrounds (yes, I'm talking about you Bird's Hill and Ambrose), firewood is free and plentiful.

Will and Keith testing the waters (literally).

Do I recommend the yurts at Camp Morton? Absolutely. If you are a family with 2 or 3 young kids it is easy and enjoyable to enjoy the park. The extra money required ($47 for a yurt per night as compared to $15 for a campsite) is so worth it. Trust me, you won't be dissapointed. I'd also go as couple looking for some time away. Unless absolute privacy is your highest ideal, you could have a very nice and relaxing weekend for two for under $100 (plus food and gas of course). Very cheap for what you get. We will be going back.

Suggestions: If you are booking online, I'd try for yurt #2 first. It has in my opinion the nicest blend of privacy, view, and a bit of a bigger deck as it has a nice wheelchair accessible ramp that my son enjoyed biking down. Yurt #2 is also close to a water source which was nice. My second choice would be Yurt #1, my third choice Yurt #3, and my 4th choice Yurt #8. Yurts 1-3 and 6-8 are kind of grouped together, something to keep in mind if you come as a group. If you have lots of kids in your group and you want to hang out as much as possible with others in your group, keeping them constantly within line of sight, choose yurts 6-8 as you there is little foilage between them. There is also a nice (but tricky) path to the beach just south of them. Bikes are not essential but are nice to help you get around quickly. If you have any questions about the yurts, feel free to post them in the comments below!


Jay Boaz said...

Sell-out! Just kidding. :) I love cabins and cottages, so camping in a yurt looks like fun!

Elayne said...

Now THAT'S what I call real tenting!! I could be persuaded to do that too!

netablogs said...

Mmmmm...I'd definitely go for that! I'll have to check out some BC campsites that offer these. Haven't heard of any yet.

Jobina said...

This is now my kind of camping! I love Yurtin'!!!

Jay Boaz said...

I can just see the t-shirts now: "Hurtin' For a Yurtin'"

Tammy said...

That looks pretty good actually. I'm a hotel kinda girl, so that's sayin' somethin'!

Elayne said...

Where's the rest of the song Jay Boaz?! LOL

Jess said...

Looks really nice, I'm thinking of renting one for around 4-5 days this summer. How is the park? Are the beaches nice? What kind of crowd hangs around this area? Is it just a family area, or good for couples too? Thank-you :)

Mark said...

Jess: The park is very nice, a very unique place. The beaches are good - not as big as Gimli or Grand Beach but then again you wouldn't be able to camp in a yurt on the waterfront in those places! I would characterize the place as being mostly family oriented. Occasionally there are some larger party groups at the group use sites but I've never experienced any issues with them. My wife and I both remarked that it would be good for couples although it would depend alot how private/quiet you want it (nearby yurts are about a hundred feet away and loud kids at one of them might be heard a little. Over all the yurt we picked (see my review) was very private and fairly quiet).

Jess said...

Thank you for the quick reply! I stumbled upon your blog while looking for reviews of different camping areas in the province. And, apparently I have been reading it for a while now. :) Thanks for your time as well.

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