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.


Classic Big East scenery.


Installing the Floor

4 Jul

Since sealing the floor, a fair amount of time has passed since then. It’s hard to imagine how much planning actually needs to be put in place before you continue moving forward. Not to mention work and other activities getting in the way of construction time. It’s important for us to make sure that we mix in play along with hard work, allows for idea to follow in and out before we settle on something.

This past weekend we decided it was time to install the floor. We trekked to Huntsville and picked Kayley’s step-dad, Dennis’ brain since he’s has well-round knowledge when it comes to building anything (He runs a successful Handyman business), along with lending us his plethora of tools.

After grabbing all the necessary supplies at Home Depot, the afternoon was spent cutting wood, ensuring all our measurements we’re correct and fastening the ribbing to the van floor.

For the ribbing, we decided to use 2 1x12x18 Rough Pine which was ripped into 8 pieces, running widthwise about 16 inches apart from each other, figuring our floor wouldn’t have any room to sag within that spacing. By the side doors where most of our walking traffic will be, we added 3 smaller pieces lengthwise to ensure that area would have no room to give or sag. Pine was our wood of choice due to it’s low cost, strength to weight ratio and doesn’t feature harmful preservatives other treated woods feature.

When it came to securing the ribbing, both 8x Construction Adhesive and 1′ 1/4 metal screws we’re used. I’ve read previously that using metal screws in the floor was sketchy but Dennis advised otherwise and said there is no issue with doing so, they will ensure everything would stay in place and wouldn’t rattle around.

Working on measurements

Working on measurements







Ribbing is in!

Peter wanted to help out.

Peter wanted to help out.

Insulating the floor was super important for us since a lot of our travels will be in winter, moving from mountain to mountain and most heat loss is through the floor and roof. Through our research, Durofoam EPS Rigid Insulation 96x48x1 came to be the best option. It’s cost effective, very durable, easy to manipulate, holds a great R-Value (3.75) and it’s Eco-Certified. We cut the foam with an exacto-knife a bit bigger than our measurements to ensure it fit in tight and precise, leaving little to no space between the wood and foam.


Trying not to get foam pieces everywhere.



The floor top is 2 3/4inchx4ftx8ft Untreated Spruce Ply cut into four pieces to allow them to fit in easier and precise. It’s important to get untreated woods since they don’t contain dangerous chemicals and using spruce is a must since it’s strong, durable and light.

Floor is in!

Floor is in!

Our next step will be to insulate and panel the siding and roof!