It is said that variety is the spice of life. But sometimes, I just want good ol’ reliable black pepper. If you’ve followed along with us from the beginning, you’ll see that during this summer we’ve spent a lot of our time in the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. Well, this past weekend was no exception. I believe that we’ve come to the point where we can officially label this ‘The summer of the Kawarthas’. Although we continue to adventure here, we change it up by visiting different areas of the park and setting up camp on different lakes each time. So maybe there isn’t a lot of spice, but each trip tastes a little different from the last.
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.
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
Ellen and I were supposed to be on the lake paddling today for a short one-night retreat in our go-to park, KHSS. However, Sunday’s predicted thunderstorms persuaded us to reschedule for next weekend. It was a last minute plan on Thursday, so I guess we can suck it up for one horribly long, eager week. We are venturing into the North-eastern area of the park which neither of us have been to before, so we are quite excited to get out on the water and explore. Luckily, André and Michelle are available that weekend so it’ll be a full crew adventure!
Today, instead, we made a stop at MEC so I could purchase a new lifejacket (woohoo, new gear) and a few maps so that we can plan a couple more trips for the season. With so many options in Ontario, our adventure wishlist keeps growing. Thankfully there are a few more months of good weather ahead to fit as much fun in as possible!
One of the best parts of camping, and spending time in the great outdoors is that it can be relatively low in cost. Affordable gear can be easy to find in big box stores and speciality stores, but a great way to stretch your hard-earned dollars is to make your own gear. One piece of gear that the TwoCanoe gang each own and swear by, is a handmade fleece sleeping bag liner.
We like to start the camping season early, and we love to end it late. Doing so means that we’re usually sleeping in temperatures rated below our current sleeping bag temperature values. To add warmth to our bags we’ve each made microfleece or standard fleece bag liners using fabric purchased at our local textile shop. During the summer when the weather is warmer and we don’t need much to cover up at night, they can also be used as our sole sleeping bag. They are low cost, and can range anywhere from $10-$22 depending on prices at your local stores.
I’ve outlined the steps below to make your own. This version includes a zipper which takes a bit more time and effort, while the zipper-less option is a little easier, but equally as effective.
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!
• Paddle (Incl. 1 extra)
• Life Jacket
• Bailer Kit
• Roof Racks / Canoe Pads
• Tie Downs
• Food Barrel / Bag
• Barrel Harness
• 50′ Rope to Hang Food
• Cook Pot
• Plate / Bowl / Mug
• Water Bottle
• Water Filter
• Camp Suds
• Dry Towel
• Garbage Bag
• Map / Waterproof Case
• Trip Plan – Left with Contact
Nice To Have:
Planning a canoe trip can be just as fun, if not more exciting, than going on the canoe trip. Ontario offers so many interesting, and unique tripping experiences that the anticipation of traveling a new route and exploring a new lake is fun in itself.
One important aspect of our trip preparation is meal planning. Now, if you choose to take the same meals and snacks for every trip, I can see how you wouldn’t find meal preparation that exciting, but the TwoCanoe crew does like to experiment and try new things. We also like to prepare all of our foods ourselves. An easier route in meal planning is to buy pre-dehydrated or freeze dried foods from your local outdoor store, but that takes part of the fun out of planning your next trip, and a chunk out of your wallet.
Choosing the food items for your trip depends on the length of your trip, how much you may be required to carry over portages, and what your general tastes are. We like our foods to be light, to take up little space, and still hold tons of nutritional value while tasting great. When you are in the sun all day, paddling or carrying your gear, it is rewarding to have great food to refuel you along the way.
Below you will find a sample trail menu for a 3-day trip.