Summer in Muskoka Part 1 (May-June)

18 Oct

I feel lucky that I was able to call Muskoka and more specifically Huntsville home over this past summer. The area of Muskoka is privileged with its beautiful lakes, rivers, rolling hills, biking trails, nice people, craft breweries and even skateparks! It’s a paradise for anyone who has the constant itch for adventure. It’s clear to see where Kayley’s love for the outdoors and general attitude about everything spawned from. Growing up here can provide a sense of mental and physical freedom that a lot of kids and even adults don’t get the chance to ever experience. I’ve spent a lot of time here over the last couple years, but living here this summer has given me more time than ever to wander the area and enjoy all the goods it has to offer. My job at Algonquin Outfitters has given me the ability to meet and befriend locals who share that sense of adventure, these rad folks have welcomed me on their explorations and partake in their fun having ways. If it ain’t fun, then what’s the point!

It’s hard for me the sit down and write everything I did this summer in fine detail, it was my intention to write something after every escapade, but clearly that didn’t lay out as planned. Hopefully all the photos I took can help display and properly document all the fun that can be had within a 100km radius. Whether it’s paddling down the river, sleeping on a island, fishing for trout or surfing behind a boat, the options are untold. Whoever tells you Ontario is boring is lying, or just has bad taste. Enjoy what is at your disposal.


A fine spring day on the Muskoka River. (Balsam Chute)


A man (Nate) and his adventure companion (Moose).


Nate Muskoka on his home turf.


High Falls (Bracebridge, ON) proving how powerful water can be.


Nate knows what it takes to get the good shot.


Van repairs.


Cloudy paddle on Fairy Lake.


Kayley among the evergreens.


A rare glassy afternoon paddle.


Ain’t she a sight 😉


Forever chillen….


Vernon Narrows.


Early afternoon Paddle on Fairy Lake.


‘Locals Only’ hang out location.



 

Somewhere on the South Muskoka River.


Rapid watchers.


Rad afternoon on the water = Cheesing.


River-side sleep accommodations.


Gems found along the riverbed.


Moose is the boss.


A photogenic portage highway.


Little breather post portage.


Moose enjoying the journey.


No idea on what’s around the corner.



Someday that tree will be a part of the river.


Local fishing hole.


Adventure Mobile.


Another day, another paddle out.


A good day to kick back and relax. (Locals Island)


A cast iron meal is the best way to go.


Paddling into the sunset (Fairy Lake).



 

Lucas and Taylor gettin’ out there and getting the late day goods.


Lucas transporting a piece of the fun.


The AO camp out.


Home is where you pitch it.


Morning Goodness.


Hanging out at home.


Peter wanted me to take him on an adventure.


AO paddle night. Everyone was stoked.


Handling the Party Barge 6 Man SUP by Kahuna.


If Bob’s leading the charge, then we know were fucked.


Sunset nirvana (Vernon Narrows)


Mid-day dip. (Camp Kitchen)


Vandwelling somewhere in Muskoka.


Oxtounge Rapids.


Photo of a photo being taken.




Sunset on Lake of Bays.


Golden skies fading in Huntsville.


Going for a roll.


Muskoka speckle.


Big Doe Lake, ON.


National Geographic c. 1953


National Geographic c. 1953


Beautiful little fighter.


Paddling out to find somewhere to relax for the afternoon.


This looks like a good spot. (Lake Vernon)





Another insane Muskoka sunset (Lake Vernon).


Matty’s version of a bonfire.


Summer hangouts with James and Sam. (Kawagama Lake)


I’ll let this picture speak for itself. (Kawagama Lake)


Getting prepped for a day on the water.


Backcountry roads that lead to goodtimes. (Somewhere north of Huntsville)


Packing up the boats for the long day ahead. (Upper Big East River)


And we’re off.


Clear sign that we are about to portage.


This was right before we got separated for over an hour.


Nate’s unenthused face after getting separated.


Finding some energy to continue after bushwacking for 60+ minutes.



Stoke is high.


Water-ally.


Classic Big East scenery.


 

Livin’ The Grotto Life.

1 Jul

Bruce Peninsula National Park was the one place on my list this summer I wanted to check out. Kayley or myself had never experienced the area previously and when we we’re living in Ottawa, the trip always seemed so damn far to travel for a couple days of camping. But now being only 4 hours away, we didn’t have any excuses this time.

We chose to hike out and camp at the Stormhaven Backcountry sites for a quick 3 day trip, the hike in was about 3.5kms North from the Emmett Lake, on what I would say is a fairly labour intensive trail, we we’re feeling pretty worked half way through the hike, most likely due to the fact that we went from siting still for 4hrs in the car to having to carry 65lbs for the next 2hrs. The lookouts and high-bearing cliffs along the way made for some stellar places to have a sip of water and recharge the batteries.

Off we go.

Off we go.

The first real look at the Bay!

The first real look at the Bay.

She isn't sure what to do with her hands here.

She isn’t sure what to do with her hands here.

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Kay’s idea of a break


The site location was well laid out, featuring upper sites above the beach and lower sites which are located just inside the tree-line, essentially on the beach itself. The Park supplies a well-maintained solar-powered washroom and food hangs. Not having to find trees to hang your barrel along with having a nice place to do your business made this camping excursion feel luxurious haha. Our site was the furtherest north (Site 9), the tent pad was perfect for our 2 man tent, giving you enough space to lay out your stuff, to sit, cook food, and to do whatever really.

I had never seen a beach that purely consisted of white, smooth stone, it wasn’t easy on the feet but we found so many damn good skipping rocks!

The remainder of the day was enjoyed stuffing our faces with camp-style pasta, exploring the area, taking pictures and just relaxing.

Our campsite is hiding in there somewhere

Our campsite is hiding in there somewhere

Bringing that body temp down with a quick dip in Bay!

Bringing that body temp down with a quick dip in the Bay!

Homebase views

Homebase views

Dinner Prep

Dinner Prep

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Post-Dinner Exploration

Designated Food Hang Area, pretty key...

Designated Food Hang Area, pretty key!

Goodnight!


Our morning came early, we fuelled up, filled the pack and made our way over to the natural attraction that brings many people to this park, the Grotto. The weather swung in our favour, giving us the perfect weather to enjoy the day ahead.

The Grotto was located about an hour hike from our spot and when we arrived, at first glance, it was fair to say it lived up to its reputation, a real powerful piece of landscape. As we took sight at everything around us, a local informed us of a secret passage, shimmied between two rocks, where a small opening brought us down to the cave. It’s easily the best swimming hole I’ve come across. The water being as cold as it was prevented the thought of jumping in and swimming down to the underwater passage way, but either way it was well worth it to see it up close. We had a few minutes of peace to enjoy this natural wonder before the masses followed us down and took over the area, a signal for us to continue on our way. For the remainder of the afternoon, we hiked to lookouts further north, chilled out at the beach, munched on your typical hikers lunch and took more than enough photos.

Once arriving back at camp, we took off our sweaty shoes, found a good sitting rock, rested our sore legs, grabbed the flask, enjoyed some swigs, gazed upon the blue abyss and took a quiet moment to relax. By the time we had finished our dinner, and cleaned up camp, the sun was beginning to make it’s way down which meant it time to hit the hay. I was able to make it through 3 pages of my book before I was KO’d.

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View from the Grotto.

Too bad the water was arctic cold or else we'd be swimming in there, livin' the grotto life..haha.

Too bad the water was arctic cold or else we’d be swimming in there, livin’ the grotto life..haha.

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Looking out onto the bay from the secret passage way 😉

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“hey babe go stand over there.”

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Kay playing with the local crustaceans

Playing with the local crustaceans

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Trying not laugh while I take this photo while eating, not an easy task.


The following morning, we we’re yet again lucky to experience another rad day, perfect for the hike out. We threw together a quick breakfast, packed up the goods and off we went. The hike out always goes quicker and smoother than the hike in, we only stopped I think once or twice and they we’re for photo purposes haha.

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A beautiful sight!

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Freaking out on the thought of how high I am.

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Mac N' Cheesin' it for lunch

Mac N’ Cheesin’ it for lunch somewhere in central Ontario.


I feel that most of the places we’ve been I would recommend to anyone to go and explore but I really mean it this time. The Bruce Peninsula is surreal, unlike anywhere I’ve explored before, it was hard to believe this was a region within Ontario’s boundary. There is something about getting yourself out in the middle of nowhere and gazing out into what seems to be an endless water body that allows you to truly relax and forget the busyness of everyday life. Between the white rocky beaches, the tourist attraction that is the Grotto and the available views, we’d go back tomorrow if we could. Not only is the park worth seeing but the Peninsula is a wonder within itself, worth the drive from wherever you’re coming from! You just gotta Get Out There!

-Chris