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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Backcountry Burrito Bonanza

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It’s a backcountry burrito bonanza. We are serving up an eggs-quisite meal for the great outdoors.

Preparing food in the wilderness where kitchen conveniences are not available should be easy, fun and delicious.

To help you with your camp meal preperation, we have provided an easy-to-make and delicious-to-eat breakfast recipe.

Sunrise Breakfast Burritos ( 4 servings )

What you’ll need:

  • 4 large tortillas
  • 1/2 cup of powdered eggs (makes approx. 6 eggs)
  • 3/4 cups of water
  • 1 package shelf stable bacon
  • 1 large potato
  • Tbsp cooking oil
  • Your favorite toppings

Directions

1. Prepare your egg mixture. Combine water and powdered eggs and set aside. If you purchased a retail package of powdere eggs, follow the directions on the package.
2. Chop your potato into bite-sized cubes. Add oil to pot or pan. Fry until tender for approx. 10-15 mins. on medium-high heat. If your stove only has one setting – high, like the whisperlite – keep an eye on the potatoes and stir to keep from burning. Set aside. We season with roasted red pepper and garlic seasoning for some extra flavor and also place inside a container and rest it inside a pot cozy to maintain its heat.
3. Cook your egg mixture by simmering on medium-low heat. If your stove does not simmer, stir constantly to avoid burning the eggs. After approx. 2 mins the eggs will start to solidify. Continue cooking until all the eggs are solid but still moist. Set aside.
4. In the same pot, heat your shelf stable bacon. This is fully cooked so it only requires 30-60 secs to heat up.
5. Add potatoes, eggs, bacon and your favorite toppings to a tortilla, wrap and enjoy. We like to top with Ketchup or rehydrated salsa, shredded cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

With a breakfast like this you’ll wish every morning started with a little sun and salsa!

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.

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!

Canoe Trip Gear

Hi everyone! We spent the long weekend in the Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Provincial Park! We are going to have lots of photos and videos in the upcoming posts but in the meantime here is a video of the gear that André and I take on our canoe trips. If you have any questions, comments, tips or tricks let us know, we’d love to here from you!

Happy Paddling!