Summer in Muskoka Part 2

6 Nov

The second half of summer was as good as the first. While the majority of the revolving tourists were complaining it was one of the worst summers they had experienced, I had the complete opposite point of view’. Maybe it was luck, but it seemed that all my days off were filled with sun and warm air, allowing Kayley and myself to paddle and adventure till our hearts content.

The Big East River was a favourite route for us this summer, it was special having my brother up and being able to show him the beauties of that river, seeing his face light up around every corner brought me a sense of joy. My buddy, Matty was nice enough to take us out for a rip on his boat, cruising around the picturesque Lake Vernon, giving Matt the true local summer afternoon. Thanks again Matty for taking us out behind the boat and teaching Matt how to surf, he was stoked!

With weather making a turn for the better in late August and September, it allowed the locals to enjoy home turf to the fullest. A prime example of that was watching Matty and Keele surf, these dudes rip, it’s insane. They’re pioneers, been ripping since the beginning, pushing the limits, it’s rad to see that first hand. Sharing their stoke for it gives you the drive to progress further and just enjoy yourself! When a mellow, left shore break is 1000kms away, you have to improvise.If you had told me when I was 16 that I could surf on a lake, I’d say you were crazy. Looking forward to getting pitted more next season!

Nate, Kayley and myself were able to take more river trips in the later half of summer, taking these trips with Nate is energetic to say the least. Nate’s enthusiasm for exploring every stretch of water within a 100km drive from home is inspiring, this area of Ontario is vast and every river bend is different, nothing is ever the same. His love for paddling is infectious and it’s easy to see why he wants to paddle any given free minute. There is nothing more sublime than a still, sunny, lukewarm day, floating down a pristine liquid backroad, watching the day pass by without a single care. Your only thoughts consist of when to paddle next or open another beer, nothing else seems to matter. The ultimate stress reliever. If Nate’s not working then you probably wont find him, he’ll be intentionally lost somewhere with his canoe and his dog, getting away from it all.

Another big highlight for me this summer was taking our good friends, Jesse and Gen backcountry camping in Algonquin Park. They are outdoor enjoyers and had never experienced a trip into the park, so I felt it was necessary to introduce them to the beauty of this natural playground. Our destination was Doe Lake, and the weather was perfect. Introducing other campers to this place is a cool feeling, it’s a feeling I remember well. The never ending highway of rivers and lakes, the rolling hills, and rocky shorelines is a sight to behold. We scored a gem of a site and enjoyed every minute of it. Getting outside with likeminded people always elevates the good times that are had. The weekend sped by and we all shared smiles cheek to cheek wide. I was happy to know they had fun and couldn’t wait to return. Thanks for the awesome time out there guys! Let’s make a ritual out of it!

Lastly, to all the AO kids (you know who you are!), much thanks for all the good times! Your stoke is contagious, whether it’s a quick paddle after work, or a night on the island, it’s always the best of times. It’s rad to see the younger generations feeling the connection to nature and using it as the ultimate playground, it’s encouraging. Like I said before, Muskoka is a special place, there aren’t many other places like it. It breeds a specific kind of person, the kind of person that doesn’t need much to smile and enjoy what’s at their immediate disposal, where getting lost is part of the fun, being bored is never an option and consistently saying I can’t wait to do that again!

Post work relaxation.


Enjoying the last breath of sun post work with Jackson and Mason.


Quick post run dip.


Matty ripping behind his water whip.


Keele going full skate mode.


Paddling out with Mason for a night with the crew on ‘Locals Island’.


Early Morning Commute.


A day down the Big East River with the little bro.


Showing Matt the hidden gems of Muskoka.


What the Big East is known for.


Taking a little break to cool off.



Matty training Matt on how to wakesurf.


Keele with the classic slash.


Solitaire Trail in Limberlost Forest.



The main lookout overlooking Solitaire Lake.


The more colourful the mushroom, the more poisonous.


So this one must be deadly.




Good bouldering rock.



Hutchinson Beach.


SUP Night w/ Algonquin Outfitters (Fairy Lake, ON).


The Adventure Mobile carrying the goods to the starting destination.


Nate and Adam leading the way down the Big East.


No wind, minimal clouds and warm weather, the perfect day.




This view never gets old.



Nate cooling off in Stubb’s Falls.


Satisfied after an awesome day, waiting for a pick up.


The best way to end the day.


Summer night somewhere in Muskoka.


Dinner prep.


Cast Iron goods.


Life’s good on nights like these.



Impatiently waiting for the coffee to brew.


A day paddling on Lake of Bays trying to find new spots to enjoy.


Abandoned Boathouse.


Roof Racks are also good for drying your boxers.


Sitting in a boat from the 1940s, watching the summer rain (Crane Lake, ON).


Sunset on Lake Peninsula.


Taking Sedona for a walk with my parents at Heber Downs Conservation Area (Whitby, ON).


A Nuclear Evening. (Downtown Huntsville, ON)


Muskoka River cruise.



<3


An afternoon at Wilson Falls.



The man behind the lens.



What summer is all about!


A new secret spot for day hangs. (Lake of Bays, ON)


Early start (Muskoka River, ON)


The portage can be as beautiful as the paddle.


Balsam Chutes (Muskoka River, ON)





Flying Dutchman Vegan Food Truck (Huntsville, ON)


Chili Fries and Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich.


Peter sits where he likes.


Home 🙂


Killarney Provincial Park, ON.


Blown out pines along Lake Superior.


Paddling out on a cool summer evening on ‘Locals Island’.


We woke up in a cloud.



The island beyond the mist.


Moving through the mystic.


Ripping down backcountry roads to the put-in. (Somewhere in Algoma County, ON)


Found the put-in (Sand Lake, ON)


Moose is always the first one in the canoe.


An odd cabin found along the river.



River friend.


(Parry Lake, ON)


Patiently waiting for a pick up! It helped that the LCBO was across the street. (Kearney, ON)


Farmers Market veggies.


Watching the storm roll in (Ilfercombe, ON).




The beginnings of fall have arrived.


Fall making an appearance in town. (Huntsville, ON)


Lake of Two River, Algonquin Park, ON


Quick trip to the Capital!


Paddling to our site w/ Jesse, Gen and Sid. (Algonquin Park, ON)


Fall Camping with good friends. (Doe Lake, Algonquin Park, ON)


The nicest place to do your business.


Beautiful sunset in Loon Country.


Algonquin’s resident bird, the Loon.


A gem of a site. (Doe Lake, Algonquin Park, ON)


Paddling home.


Had a rad weekend with these three.


The fish weren’t biting, but the views made up for it.



Sunny hike with Mike, Katie and Kayley. (Centennial Ridges, Algonquin Park, ON)


Overlooking Whitefish Lake.


 

Hitting the links with Pops. (Grandview Links, Huntsville, ON)


My best friend and I 🙂


The Fam (Missing Matt)


The gift of fall.


 

Headed South of the Boarder

30 Jan

Before I get into my next post, I just wanted to say it’s a couple weeks late, while travelling throughout the PNW we were on the move a lot and didn’t have much time to find wifi. I’ll be posting another one within the next week that wraps up our trip down south. Enjoy!

It was finally time to head state side. With the weather in Vancouver being a bit of a bummer, we were hoping for something positive as we travelled across the border. Our first stop in the US of A was Bellingham, WA!

Bellingham was a rad little city, lots of nice locals, tons of organic food markets and cool outdoor vibes. Backcountry Essentials, located right downtown has all the necessary gear for getting out on the mountain, also the top floor holds a bunch of used, vintage quality gear for decent prices, and the shop sells beers, can’t ask for much more in a shop! After cruising around town, we found a good place to park for the night across from Bloedel Donovan Park on the eastern section of town.

Vintage Vans (c.1996)

Bloedel Donovan Park


There wasn’t any snow in the forecast for the next couple days, to fill in the time between storms we headed down towards Seattle, but decided to take the more adventurous route on Hwy 20. The highway takes you through part of the San Juan Islands, providing views that are pretty unreal. Deception Pass State Park gives the best views of them all. A giant suspension bridge connects the mainland to Whidbey Island, a place you could easily spend the day staring out towards Olympic National Park.

Deception Pass Bridge

Olympic National Park in the distance.

Hwy 20 eventually brings you to the bottom of the Island at Clinton, where we took a connecting fairy to Mukilteo, a short ride but worth it! On the ship, we met this rad local, Jason, who we chatted with briefly about our trip and snowboarding in general. He gave us his info and has been feeding us with great info/tips ever since. Thanks Jason, you’re the man, let’s hopefully ride sometime!

Traded the van in for a boat.


Once arriving back on the mainland, we drove into Seattle, parked up and checked out the REI downtown. REI’s are the mecca of outdoor gear, I could live in that store, and this store in particular is the original, a little overwhelming but filled with so much sweet gear. Later we headed to the north end of the city to find wifi and a safe place to park. The following day was dedicated to exploring the city. Cold for Seattle standards but a sunny day gave us the perfect atmosphere to walk around. It was a must to caffeinate the day with a Starbucks Coffee (since it’s originally from Seattle), and made our way into the heart of town. The main attraction of the day was checking out Pike’s Place Market. The market is as old as the city itself, a multi-level seafood market that features everything from Crab to locally made soaps. A real cool place, my favourite part of Seattle for sure.

Seattle, WA

Mystery Coke Machine…

Space Needle.

Original Starbucks (1912 Pike Place, Seattle)

Pike Place Market

One of the many levels in the market.

Seafood booths for days.


For lunch we hit up Shorty’s, a hole-in-the-wall bar that plays punk music, has pinball machines and serves up insanely good hot dogs! Later, we met this awesome guy at the Army Surplus store who gave us some tips on places we should check out on our way up to Mt Baker! He was stoked to meet ‘real’ Canadians haha. Overall, Seattle is an alright place, driving isn’t the best since all the streets are on massive slopes, tons of pot holes and it’s always in gridlock. Apparently it has a severe problem with car break ins which isn’t the best thing for people like us who live in their vehicle. The city is pretty spread out, hard to see in a short period of time but it has tons of cool little bars and shops to check out!

Dawgs, Punk and Pinball, perfect combo.

Coastal Views


The forecast was showing a heavy storm moving towards Mt Baker and we had a couple buddies from Revelstoke who were shredding there for the week, so back north we trekked.

Through the advice from the dude at the Army Surplus store, we drove on Hwy 11 (Chuckanut Drive), it takes you through Larabee State Park, and went to the hidden gem known as Taylor Shellfish Farm. You can buy Oysters that come from the harbour and surrounding ocean right next to the farm. Kayley tried them for the first time, and yes, she liked them, especially with a little lemon and hot sauce. These weren’t no shitty chained restaurant oysters, they were the real deal and we had to shuck them ourselves. Getting the real Sea to Table experience. Support local!!

Cheers!

Shucking

A Bargin!

Larabee State Park

On our way to Mt. Baker, we stopped in Glacier, the last town before the mountain. It was a must for me to check out Mt Baker Snowboard Shop, this shop is living history. Mt Baker and the shop were one of the original places to recognize snowboarding and fully support it. They have signatures inside from every legend and the outside wall has a mural done by the awesome Jamie Lynn.

Many legends have come through here.


We arrived at the mountain mid-afternoon, parked in the back lot with a variety of other campers and waited for the storm to arrive. The wind and snow really started to pick up as the sun was falling and it roared all night, at some points during the night it felt like the wind was going push the van on its side. With the combination of that and the excitement for the following day, not much sleep was had.

The Yeti in its element.


Regardless of the lack of shut-eyed we got up as the sun was rising, using the snow plow clearing the lot as our alarm clock. The snow covered the van, a piece of evidence that today was going to be a good day. We shoved breakfast down our throats, threw on our gear and got in the line with the other storm troopers. We were somewhere between the 10th-15th chairs up and it was off to the races. The fresh was easily 20-30cms deep and light! We mainly stuck ourselves at Chair 5 all day, so many cool little drops and fun places to slash. A plus to riding on a Monday is zero lift lines and you rarely see anyone all day and with the snow coming down throughout the day, the gaps kept getting filled on, no shortage of untouched fresh. Later on, we headed over to Chair 6 and took advantage of the stepper runs but with most of the area tracked out, we didn’t last long over there. It turned out to be another one of those days where you get for it not to end. I even had Kayley hitting mellow chutes! Super cool!

Rise and Shine!

Storm Troopers!

Lady Ripper!

Dropping into the good stuff

 

 

Snow filled faces

Attempt 1: Tomahawked

Attempt 2: Yew!!

Gettin’ some!

Thanks for a radical day Baker!


It was a dream to shred at Baker on a pow day, this mountain has been supporting standing sideways since day one and so much history has been recorded at this place. Nothing short of special!

Originally, we were supposed to meet up with Jay and Julien but when there is no cell service, it’s hard to find one another. Luckily we found them as were having a beer in the lodge. We all chatted about the day and decided to follow them back down to the converted bus they were staying at in Maple Falls. The bus was your stereotypical hippy bus, wood stove, trip blankets, propane oven, and Christmas lights. Julien cooked us up an awesome meal, shared some beers and stories. Worked from the day of riding, we all went off to bed stoked and sore.

Livin’ the van life.

Hippy Bus hangs.


The next morning, they went riding and we headed south as cooler weather was moving in later that day. That afternoon, we arrived in Snoqualmie, WA, a little town east of Seattle for the night. Portland was our next stop and we couldn’t of picked a worse day to do so. We took the scenic route with the hopes of getting a glimpse of Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens but overcasting snow didn’t allow for that. As we pulled closer to Portland on i5, there were hundreds of transport trucks lined up on the shoulder putting on tire chains and the highway had a couple inches of ice packed on, it was gnarly. Still being miles out of Portland, we decided to pull off and find a town to wait this mess out in, eventually ending up in Battle Ground, WA. Due to Portland’s lack of snow clearing equipment, we had to hang in this town for two days, although it wasn’t all a waste. It gave use a chance to get some well overdue errands done. A small highlight would be having extremely good coffee in a cafe made out of an old church! Old Town Battle Ground

Snoqualmie Falls.


As we pull into Portland, the ice on the side roads was horrible. The street we found to park at was not too far from the highway and in reasonably good shape ice wise. It was quite and beside a large city park along with giving us the chance to walk to downtown and see what the city was all about. Everyone we chatted with said how abnormal the weather was, I was starting to believe we were bringing snow everywhere we went, even in the places that rarely see it. The next two days we wandered around town, hit up a couple snowboard shops, Polar Flagship Store, and hung out in coffee shops utilizing the wifi. Also, we consumed possibly the best pizza ever at Sizzle Pie in the East end of the city.

Portland shirt finds.

Evo, Portland knows what’s up!

Old Portland

This pizza was fuckin’ insane.

Damnnnnn

I had a laugh and a beer.


Portland is a place to come back to when it’s not covered by an ice storm. With a massive rainstorm on it’s way, we made our way to Mt Hood, Oregon to ride at Mt. Hood Meadows and adventure around the National Forest. I’m crossing my fingers for good weather.

-Chris