Successful Canoe Adventure in Killarney

Family in canoe at Killarney Park

The Clements family had a successful 4-day, 3-night wilderness canoe adventure in Killarney Park! This was Kristin and Jakob's second time in Killarney, having visited four years earlier on their first-ever canoe trip. The first time in, Jakob was only 6 when faced with his first portage: a 2.1 km bruiser with no lunch in his tummy. This time around, the longest portage was just under half-a-kilometer, but the kids were asked to drag a kayak through it.

Like last time, the starting point was actually from Sudbury, to avoid a 4 hour drive to the park. And the day was hot hot hot! It was just under a 10 km journey to the campsite on gorgeous Killarney Lake. Once there, everybody appreciated the perfect swimming rock, with its natural stone steps to climb back out. The water was 8-10 m deep, and crystal clear, with a few scattered rocks on the bottom that were perfectly visible.

The first night saw wicked thunderstorms roll through the area. At first, the sound of rumbling thunder, echoing around the La Cloche range and the cliffs directly south of the site was quite beautiful. But when the lightning started striking close by, things got a little jumpy. (Except for Kristin, who slept through the whole thing.)

The next morning was a rainy day. However, the rain stopped long enough to allow cooking at breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Jennifer and the kids had fun playing cards in the tent during the morning rain, while I donned rain gear and went for a long paddle in the kayak.

Day three was bright and sunny, and not too hot. The highlight was a trip to the famous "Crack" in the Killarney Ridge. The Crack was actually located only 780 m due south of our campsite. But to get to it, we would have to paddle the canoe 2.6 km to the Killarney-Kakakise portage, walk the 1.4 km portage, then make our way the final 800 m up to The Crack. That distance turned out to be more like 3 km by the time all the winding and up and down was factored in.

Kristin and I made the complete trip to the top, and learned why the spot is so popular. The views (both near and far) were so spectacular that I completely forgot to look for the geocache that is hidden up there! We even managed to make our way to the top of the western pillar, which is definitely the road less travelled, since it involves jumping some crevasses and a little bit of rock clinging.

The final day was another beauty, as we made the trip back to the launching point on George Lake. Being the Friday of a long weekend, there were armadas of canoes heading in. In their infinite wisdom, the park staff saw it fit to have the dock between George and Freeland Lakes ripped out and were putting a new deck down. Perhaps after the long weekend would have been a better choice? We also marvelled at the people taking coolers and lawn chairs into the interior.

After loading up the land-barge (aka mini-van) and a swim in George Lake, it was off to Barrie. First problem was no gas, and the recognition that there are no gas stations for a loooong way. So we headed into the town of Killarney where we finally found the only gas pump behind the general store on the boat dock.

The next stop was at the French River Trading Post for ice cream. Here we learned that an accident had closed down the highway at Nobel, 90 km south of us. It seemed the only way home would be to take a 110 km detour across 522 to 'Trout Creek' on Highway 11. Somehow, this turned out to be more fun than it should have been. It also raised some questions, like why is there a place called 'Loring', and another called 'Port Loring' only 2 km down the road?

Once in the bustling metropolis of Trout Creek, we headed 88 km south to Huntsville where we rustled up some burgers and root beer at A&W before finishing the trip and arriving home at 10:30 pm. Just in time to enjoy a nice 3-day weekend!

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J. Daniel Clements | Photographs

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The CLEMENTS Family | Barrie, Ontario CANADA