Killarney Provincial Park Backcountry Paddle Trip – August 15-19, 2015

After leaving the Mount St. Mary’s Hospital parking lot in Lewiston, NY, we had clear sailing until going north on Rt. 400 from Toronto.  It seems that everyone else was trying to go north for the weekend.  It took an hour more than expected to get to Barrie, but the traffic diminished greatly for the rest of the drive on the 400 and then ON 69 to the road to Killarney.  At the Park Office, it took a half hour to sign in and pay our backcountry camping fees, but then with our boats fully loaded, we started to paddle through the beautiful landscape that is Killarney Park.  The first night, both groups camped on George Lake.  We started the second day with an assisted and unassisted canoe and kayak rescue workshop.  At that time, Roy, Ineke, Mike and Ruth moved on to Killarney Lake to find the perfect campsite for the next three nights.  While they were gone, John Yates led an KillarneyGraniteCliffexcursion to a part of the La Cloche Silhouette Hiking Trail.  We did some bushwhacking and were treated with some excellent views of various quartzite deposits and a very impressive beaver dam.  We also got to check out John’s Sawyer water filter for a refreshing drink.  Back at the campsite, John’s group moved to the larger and more convenient campsite, which offered better tent sites, fewer mosquitoes and better access to the pit latrine.  Meals were an adventure with many different selections, but Bob’s strip steak, grilled expertly over the wood campfire, was especially nice, particularly for Moxie who, to that point had not been eating very well.  Ellen had a mix-up with her liquid bottles between the one of salad dressing and the one with Bonners’ liquid Castile Soap.  Her dessert of dried fruit and nut cakes was a hit.  The next day we crossed the portage to Killarney Lake and found the huge campsite our advance party had found for us.  Tom had collected enough firewood for the rest of the summer.

On this trip, we had two separate itineraries, which we used creatively for the twelve participants.  One group was supposed to camp the last night on O.S.A. Lake, but instead, a few people just checked it out with day-trips and we all stayed together on the large Killarney Lake campsite #20.  We were getting used to quick breakfasts and closing camp, so the last day, we had an early departure for the trip out.  The portage was easier with the lighter food packs and the cooperation of all of us to get packs across.  The paddle out was uneventful except for a couple of spots where the winds came up and the water was rougher.

The much-anticipated stop at “Herbert’s Fish Market” brought a surprise.  The converted bus that was the place that had served up “Herbert’s World Famous Fish Fries” was gone.  In its place is a brand new building that houses the market, the kitchen, a large indoor dining room and modern restrooms.  It had lost some of the memorable “ambiance”, but the fish and chips were hot and delicious.  The ride home was much faster with only a little delay caused by a fire truck and a burned out van on the QEW.

On their way from the village of Killarney on ON-637, Bob, Jim and Ellen got to see a black bear that had jumped out in front of Ellen’s car.  Sort of a special bonus at the end of the trip for them.

Submitted by: Richard Schraven

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