Thanks Algonquin Outfitters!

Last week we received an awesome little package in the mail from Algonquin Outfitters, and let me tell you… good things come in small packages! They sent us 4 of Jeffrey’s Maps, all different sections of the park, some stickers to decorate our gear and a gift card to spend at the store! We love camping and we love our maps, especially Jeffrey’s. We got this little package just in time to plan our upcoming 8 day canoe trip in the park.

Last night the TwoCanoe crew spent hours pouring over our new maps, trying to plot our route, but we have one small problem. We want to go everywhere and we want to see everything. We don’t know where to go so if you have any route suggestions we would love to hear them. We want to know your favorite lakes, scenic trails, and where we can finally see some moose! We are going the first week of October so the fall colours will be ablaze and we are eager to witness the transformation of the park.

So drop us a line or give us some tips, and thanks again to Algonquin Outfitters, see you in 5 weeks!!!

P.S. Check out Algonquin Outfitters sweet new website and don’t forget their blog, they are working on merging their two previous blogs with over 700+ posts combined. There is a ton of great reading and useful information.

Camping resources to know and love

When we’re not in the great outdoors, we’re talking about the great outdoors. If we’re not talking about it, then we are guaranteed to be thinking about it. If we’re not thinking about it…..well, let’s just be honest, we’re always thinking about it.

The TwoCanoe crew can’t get enough of the outdoor lifestyle. When we are indoors, we’re often surfing the internet, reading our favorite outdoor blogs or watching our favorite wilderness youtubers. Here we have listed some of our favorite resources so that you can enjoy them as much as we do.

Blogs

  1. Mountain Equipment Co-op

    Not only is Mountain Equipment Co-op our favorite store. They also have one of our favorite blogs.
  2. Backcountry With the Kids

    A family blog with advice on wilderness tripping with your kids. It’s great for those of you who aren’t parents too!
  3. TwoCanoe

    If you didn’t already know, there are four writers for our blog. It’s fun to see a new posts by each of us.

YouTube

  1. Crocket

    Crocket creates videos about backpacking, knives, climbing, canyoneering, guns, and a pinch of martial arts. His videos are entertaining, and he is one of the youtuber’s who have inspired us to create our videos as well.
  2. Maddy the Goose

    While it doesn’t seem that Maddy the Goose has uploaded a new video in quite some time. We’ve watched each of his tripping videos over the past winter while we waited for the spring season to kick into gear so that we could get out there and start tripping too.

Websites

  1. The Happy Camper (includes blog, youtube videos)

    Kevin Callan’s quirky personality is a great example of someone who has fun in the outdoors. His videos, blog, and books have influenced all of us at TwoCanoe.
  2. Grub ‘n Gear

    Grub ‘n Gear is relatively new to us but it’s a great resource to include in your trip planning.
  3. Outside Online

    Outside’s website is a great counterpart to their magazine. Lots of useful articles relating to everything outdoors.
  4. Ontario Parks

    If you live in Ontario and you’ve visited any of our Provincial Parks then you’ve probably been to this website. It’s very useful in not only booking your stay at a park, but planning your trips as well. They provide park updates and plenty of information to help in planning your stay.

This is just a small splattering of resources that we like. Feel free to share in the comments some of your favorite go-to references that help you plan, learn, and enjoy.

High Falls (Eels Creek)

High Falls (Eels Creek)

To compliment Michelle’s recent post titled Blood Sucking Leeches!, in which she mentioned High Falls, I thought I’d share some additional info and a video of the the crew at TwoCanoe when we took a one hour hike to see the falls. This is one of the 14 different falls in Ontario that share the same name and despite what the name may suggest they are not as high as one may think. These Falls are located on Eels Creek north of Peterborough, ON. They are one of the few falls in the area that does not have a dam or lock built on or around it. You can also access the falls by canoe (or kayak) and the area is a popular spot for campers.

Continue reading

Blood Sucking Leeches!

We are camping people, it’s our lifeblood, it keeps our souls young and spirits free. It rejuvenates and refreshes us. Work days are more bearable knowing that each Friday at 5 o’clock we are free, packing up the car and heading out on an adventure. This weekend André and I didn’t go on a camping adventure, instead we took it down a notch, we turned down the dial, we cottaged. Our cottage weekend turned out to be an interesting experience, we learned a lot about ourselves, our country… and leeches.

My aunt rented a cottage on a creek off Stoney lake, if you’re familiar with the area, the cottage is on Northey’s Bay Road, two minutes from the Petroglyph Provincial Park. André and I, with the rest of my family, drove up on Saturday morning for the weekend. We arrived and eagerly put our boats in the water to explore the creek. We traveled up the creek, and came across a beautiful waterfall. All eight of us scrambled out of our canoes and kayaks to get a much needed back massage in the running water. Within minutes everyone was seated in the waterfall, however I was hesitant to get in. A long forgotten memory was trying to surface…. I vaguely remember getting leeches in a larger, more popular, waterfall called High Falls on Eels Creek not far from here. Could this be that same creek? I’d been sitting in the water for a few minutes when the memory finally surfaced. I stood up and started to get out, not wanting to cause pandemonium, when I couldn’t be sure there were leeches or not. As I tiptoed out of the rapids my dad overheard me tell André that I was nervous about leeches and wanted to get out. Both my dad and André laughed at me and said in unison “You won’t find leeches in fast moving water like this.” I looked at André, seeing multiple leeches on his arm, and said “oh ya, what’s that on your arm!” André looked at his arm in horror, several leeches squirming about, and yelled “leeches!!”  Continue reading

Camping Checklist

Whether you’ve been camping for 5 years or 5 months there is something that almost all campers should start out with, and that’s a camping checklist. A good camping checklist is the backbone to every good trip… trust me, you don’t want to find yourself in the woods on the first day of a 5 day trip and realize you forgot TP!!

You may already have a great list, or maybe you free style it and make a new list every time you plan a trip. If you landed on this page in search of the perfect camp checklist then look no further because you’ve come to the right place. The group here at TwoCanoe has been tweaking and fine tuning their camping checklist for years and I think we’ve finally nailed it! Below is the list however I’ve also made a handy dandy PDF version that you can print off and check items off as you pack. For the print version click here: Camping Checklist

Some of this gear can be considered optional or not required at all, however we do feel that most of the items will be necessary at some point on your trip, whether thats backpacking, canoeing or car camping. We also consider this to be the bare bones of equipment, if you’re a car camper you may be inclined to take more items then what we have listed.

Don’t hold me responsible for forgotten gear, you still need to put these items in your pack, plane, or automobile! However, if you see that we’re missing something let us know, I don’t want to end up in the woods without my… umbrella? just kidding!

Now go pack your stuff, check your list, and have a great trip!

Canoe Equipment:
• Canoe
• Paddle (Incl. 1 extra)
• Life Jacket
• Whistle
• Bailer Kit
• Roof Racks / Canoe Pads
• Tie Downs 

Shelter:
• Tent / Poles
• Tarp
• Paracord 25′ x 6 = 150′
• Spare Tent Pegs for Tarp
• Tent Repair Kit

Fire:
• Pocket Saw
• Fire Starter / Matches

Sleeping:
• Sleep Pad
• Sleeping Bag
• Pillow

Clothing:
• Long Shirt
• Long Pants
• Jacket or Sweater
• T-shirt
• Shorts
• Underwear
• Socks
• Hiking Boots
• Hat
• Rain Jacket / Pants
• Bug Jacket
• Bathing Suit
• Towel

 Kitchen:
• Food
• Food Barrel / Bag
• Barrel Harness
• 50′ Rope to Hang Food
• Fuel
• Stove
• Utensils
• Cook Pot
• Plate / Bowl / Mug
• Spices
• Water Bottle
• Water Filter
• Camp Suds
• Sponge
• Dry Towel
• Garbage Bag 

Toiletries:
• First Aid Kit
• Allergy Pills
• Anti Inflammatory (Advil)
• Pain Pills (Aspirin)
• Toilet Paper
• Trowel
• Toothbrush / Paste
• Floss
• Sunscreen
• Deodorant
• Nail Clippers
• Body Wipes
• Hand Sanitizer
• Chap Stick
• Bug Spray
• After-Bite

Navigation:
• PLB
• Compass
• Map / Waterproof Case
• Trip Plan – Left with Contact 

Cold Weather:
• Tuque
• Gloves
• Long Johns
• Sleeping Bag Liner

Other Necessities:
• Sharp Knife
• Headlamp
• Extra Batteries
• Duct Tape
• Watch
• Sunglasses

Nice To Have:
• Paddling Gloves
• Base Camp Footwear
• Bear Repellent Spray
• Fishing Rod
• Tackle
• Camp Chair
• Day Pack
• Book
• Camp Journal and Pencil
• Cards
• Camera / Extra Battery
• Cellphone
• Candle Lantern
• Hammock

And the Oscar goes too…

For those of you who enjoy watching expert howto’s, professional videography and excellent commentary, you’ll want to go to a different outdoor blog.

However, if you want to watch a group of ne’er do wells, listen to their non scripted commentary and live through their outdoor accomplishements and misadventures, then you’ve come to the right place!

We won’t be winning any Oscars with our video logs, but we definately have fun making them and we hope you enjoy watching them.

There are two parts below, covering our 3-day trip in KHSS from May 19th-21st, 2012. Enjoy!

Dragonflies are our Friends

Paddling on Triangle Lake, Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Provincial Park

We read somewhere that 80,000 people entered the city of Toronto for the fireworks display during the Victoria Day long weekend. On top of that, Prince Charles and Camilla were in town for royal festivities during the Diamond Jubilee. With droves of Royals fans and firework junkies entering the city this past weekend, we found this a great opportunity to get out and explore one of our favorite parks in Ontario, the Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Provincial Park. It was a chance to escape the crowds in the city and enjoy the solitude and tranquility of the backcountry.

The Victoria Day long weekend is also known to be the official weekend to start the camping season for the average camper. May 2-4 weekend as it is also called, has always been a time of hightened activity in Ontario’s parks, at least this is what we are used to. This past weekend, however, the TwoCanoe crew spent 3 days and 2 nights in the Kawartha Highlands, with very few people enjoying it with us. Throughout the entirety of the trip we came across only 2 groups of canoe trippers, and quite a few empty camp sites. Perhaps this was because of the increase of mosquitos and black flies at this time of year, or maybe Charles and Camilla were far more appealing than a weekend on the water. Whatever the reason, we enjoyed the solitude, knowing that we were the only ones on the lake.

Michelle looks across Stoplog Lake on our first evening

This trip did not cover a lot of distance. In total we only made it about 30 kms in 3 days. That includes our way in and out of the park, portages and some exploring. The portages were not difficult either, so we got a relaxing trip, perfect for the welcome heat. We focused our time in the south western region of the park entering at the Long Lake access point. From here we paddled through to Loukes Lake, hiked two portages of 85m and 72m in length to Compass Lake, followed by a final portage of 297m down into Stoplog Lake. Here we spent our first night and were the only occupants of the lake.

Ellen and Anthony enjoying a break from paddling in the shade on Long Lake

Day two consisted of very little paddling. A short trip across Stoplog took us to our first portage of the day and longest portage of the trip, 993m. Although a portion of it was straight up a steep slope, it wasn’t a big problem. The biggest issue was not the terrain, but the inhabitants of the woods, the pesky mosquitos and black flies. They were numerous and relentless. If only we could train an army of dragon flies to defend us on our portages through the woods, to keep the mosquitos and black flies at bay. Although the dragonflies might not care too much for me, the fact that they help keep the pesky bugs in check has earned them my respect.

This portage took us into Turtle lake where we stopped in some shade and enjoyed our lunch and relief from the heat and bugs. There were only two portages on day two, the second a short 345m into Cherry lake where we spent our second night. Again we were alone on this lake, but an evening paddle into the adjoining Triangle Lake presented us with our first encounter of fellow campers.

Day three consisted of the most paddling of the trip. With 4 short portages 15m, 166m, 72m and 85m in length. The first portage took us into Crane creek for a brief paddle, the second back into Compass lake. We ended up back in Loukes lake for the final stretch through to Long lake. Arriving on long meant we were at the end of our weekend.

Our weekend route through KHSS

While we do enjoy the solitude and peacefulness of being alone on the lakes, it’s always nice to come across fellow enthusiasts to share a smile and know that others are enjoying the park along with us. Meeting a group on a portage and sharing a quick story about your trip, or where you are staying for the night adds a welcome social aspect to canoe tripping, and often a nice distraction from all the heavy lifting.

André uses a bush as camouflage while fishing on Stoplog Lake

Mosquitos and Black Flies aside, the weekend was a success. The weather was perfect, the water was warm enough for the first swim of the season, we explored some lakes we haven’t seen before, and Anthony caught his first fish ever! Stoplog Lake had a great looking campsite close to where we stayed, and we’d like to come back to it next year.

Don’t forget to tell us where you went for the Victoria Day long weekend. We enjoy hearing your stories!