Pinehurst Lake & the Brant Gypsie Camp

This blog is dedicated to a pair of $10 waterproof sandals I bought more than 5 years ago. They bit the dust on this trip.

The weekend kicked off with plans to check out Pinehurst Lake there were a half dozen campsites left on Friday evening, and it was decided we weren’t going to book anything.
Saturday morning I hopped online and had a look and the sites, and only one was worth taking. Being that I like my privacy and I always secure a spot for the night, I tried to book it. I couldn’t because it had a two night minimum. Even though it was booked for the following two nights. We decided to wing it and show up. We showed up at 1:00 and all the campsites were taken. I wasn’t a ‘happy camper’.

Since we were here, and hadn’t seen the park before, we decided to take a walk along the lake trail.
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After our walk we called up the Grand River Conservation Authority to see where some sites were available. Brant Conservation Area was closest with openings so we headed there.

When ever Nick and I are in a conservation area, ( and because I am such a campsite snob) we always drive around the campgrounds to scope out the best campsites and make note of them. We had done this at Brant the last time we were here. None of our sites were available. When I asked about radio free, she said they weren’t very private, and gave us site 524.
When we rolled up to it, one site was blasting some 80’s rock, another was playing guitar and harmonica.
When I saw our site, I just shook my head and said, “No!” Repeatedly.

Our patch of grass had a thin treed barrier between the site on our left, and in our right…maybe 4 inch high weeds. If you even want to call it a barrier.

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Nick says, “they can’t all be back country.” This is true, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that I not be able to see my neighbours when I’m camping. Give me like at least 3 foot barrier.

We decided the campsite wasn’t where we wanted to be hanging out so we grabbed our stuff and took to the trails. That was the best thing we could’ve done because until we got to the dam to fish, we had the whole meadow to our selves.

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Much to the delight and disgust of some children down by the river, I’d caught a snake

They thought me some kind of snake whisperer as I held it while they took turns touching it.


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After a couple hours walking around, the sun was beginning to set so we made our way back to the camp site.

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We returned to a relatively quiet campground, and got a fire going to cook dinner.

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The evening ended up a lot quieter than I first expected. Our neighbours serenaded us with their mix of guitar and harmonica. They weren’t great, but it wasn’t hard on the wars either. That atmosphere that was created made me feel like we were in some gypsie camp. Until their 15 year old son started making these ridiculous fake farting noises. Which was kinda funny at first but when it continues sporadically for over an hour it gets annoying fast.

We slept well over night, and early in the morning I got up to use the washrooms and took Fingal with me. There was the faint smell of skunk in the air. About two sites over it was rank with skunk stink! I wondered what poor souls ended up with that mess. Upon returning to the tent, Nick told me how in the middle of the night he woke up and saw Fingal sitting up and staring out the open end of our tent, and when he looked, there was that skunk sitting there staring back at him. I am so thankful Fingal behaved himself because we may have ended up being those poor souls!

After sleeping another hour or so, we got up, prepared breakfast, and took down the tent. The morning was already sunny and hot so we went on another hike to finish the trails from the day before.

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We walked back to the campsite for the car, and decided to drive to this small town, where we know of the ruins of an old mill. We thought that it would be worth stopping to try and fish. We got there, and began our hike on the Rail Trail to find the mill. The last time Nick passed it was on a bike. He figured we had a one kilometre walk to get there. Part way through, we walked under a bridge and passed a path leading to the waters edge, so we decided to toss in a line. But no bites.

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We continued on our merry way. One kilometre ended up turning into two. I was just about ready to say forget it when we saw the mill through the trees.

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We waded across the Grand River, and fished for close to an hour but had no bites. I didn’t see even the tiniest of fish in the river. So we grabbed our stuff and headed home.

Brant Conservation Area is certainly beautiful. It’s real attraction is the fact that the trails are so quiet. I would consider camping there again, provided there are radio free sites available. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a nice place to spend a day, check it out.

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