Happy Birthday, Ellen!!

It was our second trip of the year and it was a great one.

It was Ellen’s Birthday weekend and we chose to stay at the all inclusive Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park on Bottle lake. Why is it all inclusive you ask? Well, unlike our interior trips, this single-lake paddle allowed us to bring a full sized dining tent, a cooler of fresh (not dehydrated) food and some celebratory beverages to honour the birthday girl. We had it all.

It was a great way to repair from the disappointment of our first trip this year, and we consider this to be our true kick-off to the camping season.

A video of this b-day adventure is below. Enjoy!

~TwoCanoe Crew

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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.

Variety is the spice of life?

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.

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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.

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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

Choose your own adventure!!

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!

DIY – Sleeping bag liners.

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.

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