June 11-12, 2016
Moon River Loop via Kapikog and Healey Lakes
It’s that time of year again, folks, when I decide to go camping on a whim and search out a gnarly weekend route with little to no notice or planning. Freaks Andrew out every time. Maybe he was right to worry: The route I chose was roughly 30km long, we both left work at 21:30 the night before, we had to pack everything and pick up our canoe on the Saturday morning, and I had only procured the map from Brad over at Explore the Backcountry a day ahead of time. [It’s a great map, and I would love to share it with you wonderful people, but as it is yet to be published I must refrain from showing you the details of the route we took through Muskoka’s Georgian Bay cottage country region and down the lower third of the Moon River, and trust that my photos and descriptions of the area will be enough for you INSATIABLE trip report readers who have been BADGERING me non-stop to write up this little story for you. Well, this paragraph has taken a strange turn. Where was I?]
kapikog lake, wild muskoka
Ah, yes. The Moon River. I chose this route for several reasons:
1.Reasonable drive from our home on the shores of polluted Lake Ontario in Toronto
ii) Could turn a river trip into a loop and thus avoid annoyance of organizing shuttle
three: Our friends have a cottage on one of the lakes we would be paddling through
and d) We had a map.
May 7th-8th, 2016
Backcountry openings for Algonquin Park were delayed twice this spring due to lingering ice. Considering the mild winter this year, we were expecting an early ice-out, but cool temperatures and a late freeze-up meant we were anxiously awaiting the paddling season opener. The original opening date of April 22nd was pushed back to April 29th, and then again to May 4th. Finally, the park’s canoe-in sites were available, and we made plans to meet up with a couple other people to celebrate springtime.
after the portage between canoe and joe lakes
March 12th-13th, 2016
Backcountry Hot-Tenting Near Arrowhead Provincial Park
It’s been a rather lousy excuse for a winter here in southern Ontario this year, which makes perfect sense considering we just spent all of our money on a canvas winter tent, trail stove, and materials for building our own freight toboggans. We did get out on the Family Day long weekend, which was really fucking cold, but that was pretty much the most extreme weather we saw all season. Refusing to let our new equipment gather dust for eight months, we acted on a tip from some fellow adventurers (Canadian Pathfinders) and set off for a nice and easy crown land trek just north of Huntsville and Arrowhead Provincial Park for the weekend.
loaded up and ready to glide at the access point
november 20th-22nd, 2015
saturday morning, rain lake access point, algonquin park
After our trip to the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park in October, I didn’t feel as if we had given our canoe a proper farewell for the season, so after a few weekends of working and staying in the city, we planned on one last canoeing adventure before we became landlocked for the winter. I decided on a relatively easy trip to the Rain Lake access point in Algonquin, where we wouldn’t have to deal with big lake crossings or strenuous portages. Really, we just wanted an easy escape for the weekend where not much could go wrong. Oh, how false my predictions proved to be!
october 24th-25th, 2015
getting soggy on wolf lake, kawartha highlands provincial park
The title of this report is a bit of a misnomer. It wasn’t so much that I was worried about the rain itself; it was more that I was worried about how Andrew would react to a proposed late-season weekend canoe trip when the weather forecast was calling for rain, and lots of it, the Saturday we intended to set out. Poor conditions tend to make him crotchety, but I had just finished a really lousy week at work and wasn’t about to let a bit of rain stop me from getting my Nature Time. As we drove north from Toronto under a steady downpour, I obsessively hit ‘refresh’ on my weather app, and, with a heaping spoonful of optimism, informed Andrew that it couldn’t rain all day, the showers would be localized, and if we waited for perfect weather we would never get outside. As luck would have it, the rain stopped as we reached the Wolf Lake access point and loaded our gear into the canoe.
a tasty autumn treat. just look at that oozing butter!
Here’s another use for the delicious spiced compound butter detailed in my Hot Buttered Rum recipe. We ate these for breakfast on our most recent outing, but they make an equally good dessert, especially for cold-weather camping. The butter, prepared at home, is the most fiddly step of the process. The apples themselves can be assembled in just a few minutes, and require about 20 minutes of baking over a campfire.
It’s rainy, it’s cold. Butter will keep you warm.
Is there anything better than booze, apple cider, and butter, all in one mug?
No. No, there isn’t, especially when it’s cold and damp outside. For cold-weather camping, you need a lot of extra calories to sustain you and keep you warm during the night. This libation does just the trick! The recipe is a bit involved, and requires lots of at-home prep work, but once you’ve made your butter you can keep it in the freezer, ready to go for your next adventure.
cheese that’s ooey-gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside? yes, please
This is one of our signature camping meals. We first made it several years ago and have been including it on trip menus ever since. It’s a good way to get in some fresh vegetables during the first few days of an extended backcountry trip, and an excellent use for that squashed loaf of bread that’s going a bit stale on the third or fourth day. If you leave out the bread, the ingredients will last at least a week without refrigeration. Nothing like grilled vegetables on day seven!
nunikani lake (direct, no loop) november 1st-2nd, 2014
a bit of snow doesn’t scare me away from camping!
A little over a month after we first visited Haliburton Highlands’ Frost Centre, we went back for our final canoe trip of the season. Our brand new Ostrom canoe packs had just arrived in the mail, and we wanted to test them out before the lakes were iced over. Heading out for just one night with giant packs sure had its advantages: we were able to bring along extra blankets, butt-warming hunting cushions, extra dry bags full of warm clothes, and winter parkas. Continue reading
the nunikani lake loop, september 27th-28th, 2014
big hawk lake, frost centre
Finding a weekend backcountry trip is usually pretty easy for us. Most of our trip ideas have come from Kevin Callan’s book Top 50 Canoe Routes of Ontario, and this route was no different. After briefly thumbing the pages for the millionth time, we decided to check out the “Nunikani Lake Loop” in Haliburton Highlands’ Frost Centre. Booking a reservation online was very similar to using the Ontario Parks website, except instead of picking up a permit at an access point, we could just print off the booking and go.