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Rocking Rockwood and Power-Camping

You've heard of power-shopping. Let me introduce you to the concept of power-camping.... Two nights.  One full day. A trailer. A dog. Our kid and her friend.

That one day included: 
  • geocaching (twice!)
  • swimming
  • canoeing (twice!)
  • fishing
  • hiking, and...
  • a campfire (both nights, actually) complete with roasted hot dogs, polish sausage and smores.  

And that, my friends, is power camping.

Where the heck can you accomplish such a feat? We totally rocked it at Rockwood Conservation Area - an awesome spot 20 minutes outside of Guelph, Ontario that is part of the Grand River Conservation Authority.

Since Rockwood is practically in my backyard, I've been there more times than I can count. But I never get tired of the geography and views that make you feel like you're at least 5 hours North of here.

And I know I'm not alone. Even Disney (Yes. THAT Disney.) Loves Rockwood.  They filmed one of Em's faves, Camp Rock 2, here.  If this scene looks familiar...

It's because you might have seen it before in a movie. Maybe in Camp Rock 2.  Or maybe in Cheaper By the Dozen with Steve Martin. Maybe in some other movie or commercial filmed there.... there have been a few!

Aside from giving you the chance to do a fan tour of sites where the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovatto actually filmed scenes, Rockwood offers up awesome opportunities for all ages to try their hand at favorite outdoor pursuits.

Fishing was a success for all of us. Although Alex spent more time taking fish off of the kid's hooks than doing much of his own angling.  I stopped counting after the girls caught 5 fish each.

And then there is the geocaching. There are a lot of caches to be found in the conservation area, but we had targeted only about four of them to find. I can't say that we had total success, but the hike and the hunt is always a good time.  In fact, on one of our geocaching hikes Em's friend found an animal jawbone. That wasn't part of the cache challenge, but it was seriously cool and sparked a lot of conversation and speculation about who it might have belonged to at one time. (Turns out, it was a coyote. Confirmed by a classmate's mom, who also happens to be a veterinarian).

Geocaching success!

Where will you go for a geocache? Sadly, this one wasn't a success.

Even if you aren't into geocaching, the trails at Rockwood are lovely.  They are not terribly challenging, but the scenery and the area's unique geographic features are very cool. Caves, cliffs and glacial potholes make hiking in this park very interesting.  

Did I mention the canoeing? Rockwood Conservation Area surrounds a section of the Eramosa River.  Here, the river is as calm as a bathtub, making it an easy paddle. But the rock cliffs, narrow passages and nooks and crannies along the river make it a neat place to explore by canoe.  We took our own, but you can rent canoes and paddle boats right at the launch docks for $12 hour.  An hour is plenty of time to explore this section of the river.

The campsites at Rockwood are o.k. In the serviced area, you get water and electric service on-site. We had a really good spot at the end of the serviced campground  section, with only one neighbour beside us and a site across the road.  It was well treed on 2 sides, and big enough that we didn't feel like we were camping on top of our neighbour.  The comfort station offers coin-operated showers, and was kept clean and well stocked while we were there.  Be forewarned, though. You can hear the traffic from the two lane highway, and there is a train that passed by at regular intervals.  Be prepared that you'll hear the faint sound of cars, and the not-so-faint sound of the train whistle. But we knew what to expect and it didn't cause us any problems.  We spent so little time on our site, the ambient sounds of modern life really didn't affect us.

Like most campgrounds close to urban life in Southern Ontario, wildlife isn't a big problem. But be sure to store your food appropriately.  Raccoons are plentiful. And they are smart. They will try to get into your cooler if you leave it out.

As for the more domestic beasts found on campsites.....

All I can suggest is to find a tree farther away from the picnic table to tie the leash.

You Should Go! Here's What You Need To Know...
Rockwood Conservation Area is busy.  I strongly recommend making reservations before you pack up your gear and head out the door.
Non-serviced tent sites and serviced tent and trailer sites are available.
You can phone to reserve a site or book it on line.  Find out how here: Grand River Conservation Area

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