Friday, January 15, 2010

Yurt Camping: Try it, You Might Like it

Today I'm excited to publish another guest post by Patrice, a fellow blogger and adventurer. Be sure to check out her witty take on life at Life Less Ordinary. You can also read an earlier post she wrote for New Hampshire: Love it or Leaf it on Camping at Squam Lake. She and her husband "J" are never sitting on the sidelines!

What's it all About?
I am so in love with the idea of camping in a yurt that I want everyone to try it once. My husband Justin and I tried it for the first time as a New Year's vacation and we will definitely be doing it again; in fact, we may buy our own yurt sometime in the future.

If you've never heard of a yurt, I think the best way to describe it is as a cross between a tepee (but much bigger) and a cabin. The walls are canvas and there's a door and even some windows.

For our trip, we stayed at Frost Mountain Yurts in Brownfield, Maine, which is only 16 miles from Conway, New Hampshire. They have four yurts for rent on 60 acres of land. In my opinion, this is the most luxurious form of "camping" out there in all seasons, but it works really well for winter camping.

Let me get right to the dirty details.

Things to Know Before You Go
Typically, you cannot drive to the yurts. The ones at Frost Mountain were approximately 1/10 mile from the parking area, but with snow and hills, we relied on our snowshoes to make the trek easier. So it's a cross between backpacking (hiking in) and car camping (driving up to a site).

Most yurts for rent have no running water. You pack in whatever water you think you'll use. My advice? Wash dishes in a bucket and be conservative, dumping your dirty water in a concentrated area away from the yurt. Frost Mountain provided non-drinking water, so we brought our own drinking water. Some yurts, including the one at Frost Mtn., have a solar shower for use in the summer. They should all have some sort of outhouse.

The idea of a yurt is to escape the hustle and bustle of daily living. So no electricity either. Many yurt rentals provide candlelight and gas lanterns, but we also brought extra flashlights.

How do you keep warm, you ask? All yurts are heated by wood-burning stoves and usually cut wood is provided. Our yurt stayed toasty, despite the fact it was frigid outside.

The Frost Mtn. Yurt was well-equipped, so we just packed in our food, drink, clothes and bed linens -- carried in on sleds. We brought a cooler because we were there for four days and we actually ate better than we do at home: cheese fondue, French toast, bacon, chocolate fondue. The yurt was supplied with a fondue pot, three-burner gas stove and a grill.

The yurt had lots of games and you can also borrow cross-country skis or snowshoes for free. There are miles of trails to explore or you can just spend the whole time staying cozy in the yurt and enjoying the serenity. The yurt we stayed in slept eight people, but there were only two of us. I think the cost was $85 per night.

So there you have it: the basics of our first yurt camping experience. If yurt camping is in your future, be sure to check out the Web site of the company you're planning to rent from; generally, there's lots of helpful information there. Next on our agenda is a weekend overnight yurt trip at Green Alpaca Farm in New Hampshire. I'll be sure to update you if there's new information to add.

In the meantime, I encourage everyone to set a goal in 2010: Stay in a yurt. I promise you, there is truly something magical about it!


Eric said...

I haven't tried a yurt yet, but my wife is just now getting into camping if you call a cabin camping.

Paula said...

We have a yurt on Cardigan Mountain that is also available for rent. It's set between to parts of Cardigan State Forest. See Cardiganhideaway.com

Even better, we got a critter cam for our property. I keep my critter pics on Facebook.


I love my yurt!