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.


 

The Trump Land Snowboard Tour Part 2.

2 Apr

We could of easily spent a week at the National Monument but it was time to move on. The upcoming destination was Yuba State Park, smack in the middle of Utah. The trek in whipped through more of the San Rafael Desert. Finding ourselves taken by all the amazing desert landscape. We arrived at an empty Yuba Lake Campground and found a spot right next to the lake. Another peaceful area to call home for the night. The weather was the warmest we had felt in 5 months, so I pulled out my skateboard and ripped around the campground while Kayley threw her feet up to relax. We sat by the fire, had a beer or two, peered out over the moon lit lake and surrounding snow covered hills.

San Rafael Swell, Central Utah.

Ivy Canyon Rest Area

Ivy Canyon

Yuba Lake State Park, Utah

Relaxing….

Hello Skateboard, I missed you.

Another masterpiece of a dinner by Kayley!

Sunset in Utah

Easy on the eyes.


We awoke to the warming sun, and hopped back onto the I-15N towards Salt Lake City. With the windows down we cruised to Nevada. Once out of the city and towards the Utah/Nevada state boarder, the Bonneville Salt Flats made an appearance. An illusion, these flats look more like a forever stretching white lake. It’s not until you dip your foot in do you realize it’s a field filled with mushy, damp salt. Here is where they have many car events, most famously, where people continually try and break the land speed record.

Adventure Mobile/Home/Office.

Getting caught up on the history.

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

A weird sight.

She isn’t sure if she is getting her shoes wet or salty.


Can you guess what the first thing was we saw as we pulled through the Nevada boarder?….A casino. This isn’t my first time to Nevada but was Kayley’s first, I had been to Las Vegas years before, so my descriptive image of the state was a wasteland with casinos littered everywhere, I wasn’t expecting much.. In a sense I wasn’t wrong but it was clear after driving through it, there was beauty to the land of gambling.

The northern section of the state featured green fields filled with livestock, zero major cities, snowy mountain tops in every direction and a never ending highway. A real peaceful place.

We arrived at South Fork State Park, about 20 miles south of Elko, on a stellar afternoon. We had the grounds to ourselves, so we both enjoyed long, well needed showers, cooked up a cast-iron meal, aired out the van and gazed upon the South Fork Reservoir (They don’t really have natural lakes around here so they have to make them). The night mirrored the previous evening, a starlit lake with the sun setting behind the mountain range. With no one else around, it gave us a quiet night to rest.

South Fork Recreation State Park, Nevada

Nevada, you are a lot cooler than I thought.

A view I wouldn’t get tired of.


With excitement, we continued to move towards Squaw Valley. The remaining drive through Nevada was as great as the prior day, and just like when we entered, we left with the sight of casinos. Never change Nevada.

As we made our way into the Lake Tahoe area, the insanity of their record breaking winter season was evident, snow piles easily stood 2-3 stories high. No wonder they had to shut this area down for days at a time over the last couple months. We were lucky to be arriving mid-week, this gave us the chance to park for free at the Squaw lot! (They don’t allow parking on the weekends). As much as camping out at different spots is rad, it puts a hole in the pocket.

We arrived at the Lot just as the sun was setting.


Like most of the days this month, day one at Squaw was filled with minimal clouds and tons of sun. If it wasn’t for the wind, we would of been cooking. The snow was slushy immediately since the temps didn’t drop below zero that night. It was clear to say we could chalk this down as another rad spring day. Squaw is super fun, lots of steep runs and with all the snow, it was fair game wherever you decided to take your board. The park and mini pipe were fun to play around on with the super soft snow, we didn’t take many breaks. By the time 2:30 rolled around, we were pooched.

🙂

Good Morning Squaw!

Hello Lake Tahoe.

A ride in Starbucks. For all the lazy folks.

Steep slush lines!

Fair to say it was a solid day.

Beer time!


Friday was filled with much of the same, the sun was back out in full force and no wind allowed that snow to be soft quick. Repeating what we had done the day before, knowing the sweet spots gave us the chance to rip what we wanted before packing it up and moving onto our next destination.

Another rad day of slushy turns.


We wanted to stay longer but with the lots only being available on weekdays and all the local campgrounds are buried in snow which wont melt till July, it was necessary to get outta there. The Tahoe area is somewhere we plan on coming back to in the summer months to experience everything else it has to offer. The Sierra Nevada is clearly a rad place to be.

After being at Squaw, that finished all the resorts on our Mountain Collective Pass we planned on hitting during this tour. At this point I think we had ridden 11 of the 16 days that month. It was fair to say we were feeling a little worn. To rest our bodies and mental state, the coast was our new destination. With it being out of reach from Lake Tahoe, we stopped off at a campground just south of Redding, California. The drive in changed drastically, in 4 hours it went from snow, forest and mountains, to palm trees, lush green fields and flowering plants.

Making our way across California.


The campground that night was nothing to write home about. It was busy, no real privacy between each site, at least it was a safe, and a cheap place to sleep.

Spring has arrived!


Our trek towards the California coast, more specifically the Redwoods left us antsy. We were super excited to get there so our patience wasn’t evident, no to mention a giant rockslide delayed us a good 45mins somewhere along the way. A rockslide that happened maybe a couple hours before…. 

It took out the whole road…


In coastal fashion, we arrived to rain. A real change from the last 2 weeks of pretty much straight sun. Our plan was to see as much of the Redwoods as possible, so we started at the south end of their range. Humboldt State Park located an hour and a half south of Eureka, features a solid starting point for seeing these ginormous plants. The rain continued to pour harder but being in the presence of these trees kind of makes you forget how soaked you are. The park is located along the Avenue of the Giants scenic drive, hugged into the deep end of giant Redwoods. It was cool to see the van parked underneath the canopies. As much as we wanted to spend more of the night outside, the rain didn’t allow it.

Humboldt State Park, California

Cooking in the rain.

Anything for food!

Ya, that is one whole tree trunk.

A thousand year old Redwood.

And it’s only March…


Luckily for us, the rain let up the next morning, allowing us to enjoy the entirety of the Avenue of the Giants drive without rain, we even had breaks of sun that morning. The drive, dipping and dodging through these 300 foot trees is an unreal site, mind bending to think how big they truly are.

Hard to take a steady picture in a moving van.

Parked along the Avenue of the Giants.

Giants in the Lady Grove Park.

Misty Coastal Morning.


Our day ended at Jedediah Campground in Redwoods National Park. Located at the northern section of the park, just south of the Oregon border. The park was one of the nicest I’d ever seen. Each spot encompassed by the greenery, and with the giants all around, you could sit down and stare up for hours. With the rain making its delay, we were able to have a big fire, Kayley cooked up an awesome stew and shared a couple cold ones. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Jedediah State Park, California.

Chillen….

Kayley cooking up!

Lentil Stew!

Not many words can describe this.


The rain returned the following morning, but since we were headed to Oregon, it seemed appropriate. Our mission was to complete the drive of the Oregon coast with having done the northern half in January. Along the way up we stopped off at the Natural Bridge Viewpoint, Umpqua Lighthouse Park, Coos Bay before arriving at Jesse M. Honeyman State Park located in the Oregon Sand Dunes. The campground reminded us of being back in the Redwoods with the similar, damp, coastal feel. The rain persisted but we decided to explore anyways. Buy a good rain jacket, it’ll prevent you from saying you can’t have fun in the rain. 

Natural Bridge Viewpoint, Oregon.

The picture doesn’t fully encompass this scene.

Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, Oregon.


A few clicks away from the main campground, rainforest trails lead you out to the land of sand. There were dunes that stood an apartment building tall and yes, we climbed up! Close by featured lots of off-roading tracks, clearly an awesome place to do that, the surrounding area was huge with sights of the ocean in the distance.

Green is in season.

Entrance to the Sand Dunes!

Up we go!

Oregon Sand Dunes.

Coming down was easier.


The wet ground didn’t permit a fire, but the area around us was all we needed to stay outside and enjoy the Oregon beauty. Oregon State Parks are the best, always beautiful sights, clean hot showers and affordable!

Morning Greenery!

Oregon is hard to beat.


The rain continued and we finished off the coastal drive the following morning. Kayley, since our last trip to Oregon, had talked about and hoped to see a whale. Luckily for her, this would be the month to see one since they are currently migrating. We stopped off at a viewpoint just south of Yachats, and just as we step out of the van, a nice woman informs us there are whales moving by. Kayley was astatic. They move quickly, but we were able to see a couple fins, barnacle covered backs and water spouts. An awesome way to wrap up the Oregon tour. Thank you Whales!

Whale Watching somewhere just south of Newport, Oregon.

Kayley scoping for those Whales.


Our pit stop for the night was Portland, and with the previous visit being a little bit more miserable, it was nice to experience the city on a overcast afternoon. We caught some wifi at a local Starbucks, got things in order and relaxed in a familiar area.

A week or so ago I had said to Kayley, if Mt. Hood or Baker is getting snow on the way back to Canada, we are going, no questions asked. As I sit in the Starbucks, I pull open some forecasts and what do I see…Baker is expected to get 30-40cms the following day. I looked up at Kay and said, we are going to Baker tomorrow and without hesitation she said, sounds good! Like I said, no questions asked haha. If someone ever says to you “We are going to Mt. Baker”, don’t ask why, just know it’s for a good reason.

With a quick stop at a Sonic (the best American fast food chain), we arrived at a rainy Glacier, Washington. With rain meant the upper levels had to be getting snow. As we made our way up the 542 Summit Hwy, the rained turned into snow. After checking the van in, the snow grew harder and harder. The stoke for tomorrow was high.

The Yeti in its natural habitat. Mt Baker, Washington.

Sun goes down, the snow picks up.


Us and two other campers awoke to a fully white parking lot, and with a couple inches built up on the side mirrors, it was clear today was going to be a deep day.

If every morning could only be like this.

Our personal pow measuring stick.

Baker Lodge Kitty!

Get it?


As the time grew to 9am, we stood third in line and with barely anyone in the lifeline, the turns were going to be endless! The ride up Chair 8 really proved how much snow they received overnight, we pointed each and every direction figuring out where we wanted to ride first, but once we got to the top, the plan was forgotten and went wherever our boards took us. Kayley and I have had our fair share of pow laps this season and after that ride, we both agreed it was the best of the season. A feeling you cannot describe and a feeling you continually try and chase.

Chair 8 Stoke!

The fresh is evident.

Paddled out to a nice swell.

Yeww!

Snow in every crevasse.

Still so much to be had!

The stoke was the highest it’s ever been.


The remainder of the day kept getting better, we hung around Chair 8 the majority of the day, and with no one around, new, fresh lines were there all morning. By the time noon rolled around, both realizing we had easily lapped 8-10 runs of pure joy. The sun began to show its face and with the warmer temps, the snow started getting heavy. Not wanting to call it a day although everything was tracked and with our legs on fire, it was time to say good-bye to this paradise.

Baker in all its beauty!

Cruising through the Chowda!

Dropping!

See you next winter Mt Baker! You treated us more than well!


Mt. Baker is a special place, it finds itself squeezed between two beautiful mountains, Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker. Having yourself positioned up there, looking down at a fresh powder line with complete silence (other than all the happy shredders screaming Yew!!) festers a feeling that only can be describe as sublime. Not to get all emotional about it, but as a snowboarder, this is home. Also, it’s super cool that it’s family owned, hosts the Legendary Banked Slalom and people who ride Baker are grassroots individuals who care about being on a board or skis. We will be back Baker, and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.

The Legendary Baker Banked Slalom.


After taking off our soaking gear and enjoying some lunch, we made our way back to Canada, making it to Vancouver late afternoon. The last month was rad, we saw so much cool shit, met amazing humans, and rode our snowboards at places we had only ever dreamed about riding at. The US hosts some of the best terrain for snowboarding, hiking, skating, surfing, sight seeing and just relaxing. From the mountains, to the desert and the salty coast, there is endless places to enjoy. North America is an amazing continent, and for us there is still so much to see. Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand why so many North Americans travel across each ocean to escape, I’m sure they have their reasons, but for me, I will spend my entire life trying to witness everything it has to offer.

-Chris