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.


 

The happenings of Winter 2016….O ya, we also bought a Van!!

1 Apr

I swear The Countless Wandering is alive!! I know it’s been a while but I had been contemplating for some time now as to when I was going to write a new post. You hadn’t heard from me since the last fall adventure which was back in October (which seems like yesterday), but long enough ago to where I almost forgot my login info (Shoutout to https://lastpass.com/). Kayley and myself both found jobs at the beginning of November after what seemed like an eternity. Kayley started out as a sales rep at PetValu then moving into an awesome position with the Toronto Zoo, to say she was excited would be an understatement. For myself, I ended up getting a gig at Boardsports Canada in Toronto, as the Snow, Skate and Surf Buyer as well as Manager. Working in the extreme sports industry has always been a passion of mine so it was a solid fit. Now with us working full time jobs, our adventuring had been put on halt, and when Kayley’s old VW finally bit the dust, looking for a van became a full time job within itself.

The Winter here in Southern Ontario was not great, actually it straight up sucked. We knew moving to this area was going to bring a different scene than what we we’re used to in Ottawa, but we weren’t expecting the worst winter on the East Coast in over a decade. That being said, when you’re a complete winter junkie, you deal with what is thrown your way and go with the flow. I was even lucky enough to get a couple Ontario powder days in (Unfortunately minus Kayley since she was at work making the big bucks!).

We kicked off the season by chasing the first real snowfall in Ontario with driving to Hidden Valley Resort in Huntsville for a couple runs of fresh!

Snow makes her jump for joy.

Snow makes her jump for joy.

My snow bunny (Lion's Lookout, Huntsville)

My snow bunny (Lion’s Lookout, Huntsville)

A view of gold

A view of gold

Feels good to be back on the board (Hidden Valley, Huntsville)

Feels good to be back on the board (Hidden Valley, Huntsville)


Local riding was done between Brimacombe where Kayley and myself got a couple night sessions in and Mount St. Louis with the homies.

Corey becoming Euro with this radical carving technique!

Corey becoming Euro with this radical carving technique! (Mount St Louis)

My weapon (2017 Salomon Assassin 155)

My weapon (2017-Salomon-Assassin-155)

Ontario Powder Day #1 (Brimacombe)

Ontario Powder Day #1 (Brimacombe)

Just happy to be snowboarding :)

Just happy to be snowboarding 🙂

A bad day on the slopes is better than a good day at work.

A bad day on the slopes is better than a good day at work. (Mount St. Louis)

Getting Pitted. Photo: Corey Jacobs (Mount St. Louis)

Getting Pitted. Photo: Corey Jacobs (Mount St. Louis)

My new powder spoon! Thanks K2! (The Mean Bean 148)

My new powder spoon! Thanks K2! (K2-The Mean Bean-148)

Demo Day at Devils Glen. Ontario Powder Day #2 (Ride War Pig 148)

Demo Day at Devils Glen. Ontario Powder Day #2 (2017-Ride-War Pig-Small)

His and hers

His and hers

Snowy morning in Greenwood. (Greenwood Conservation Park, Ajax)

Snowy morning in Greenwood. (Greenwood Conservation Park, Ajax)

The best kind of morning.

The best kind of morning.


February rolled around and I was able to take a week off to enjoy the little amount of winter we we’re getting. My brother, Matt came home from school for Reading Week, we packed up the Jeep and headed to Blue Mountain for a couple days to get some laps in and have as much fun as we could handle. The weather went in our favour, had 2 solid days of fresh and mild weather, which mean’t big smiles and sore legs by the end of each day. Always a treat to hand out with Matt! Never a dull moment.

First chair up.

First chair up.

Hanging at the secret stash spot.

Hanging at the secret stash spot.

Matt catching a little mid day rest.

Matt catching a little mid day rest.

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The stoke was high.

The stoke was high.


After an awesome couple days, we headed back home, with me leaving with Kayley the following day for Huntsville. Muskoka’s always getting pounded with snow during this time of the year so we decided to head to Limberlost Forest Reserve just east of town and find some secret hike-in pow runs. The snow was a bit heavy making the hike up hard on the legs but each trip down was worth the leg burn.

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Half way leg break

Half way leg break

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Strapped in and ready to rip!

Strapped in and ready to rip!

Round 2

Round 2

What form!

What form!


I got spoiled a second time around this winter with getting a 3 day trip to Killington, Vermont with the Burton squad! The 9 guy squad packed the Van early March 7th and went Vermont or Bust for 9 hours. Surprisingly, crossing the border went a lot easier than we all expected, a van full of snowboarders can bring a couple connotations to mind, the border patrol guy was even a snowboarder himself and was stoked to hear about our trip! As we arrived at the Burton headquarters in Burlington, everyone seemed to have gained an immense amount of energy and got stoked for the private tour ahead. The tour was lead by TK, a true snowboard historian, knowing every minuscule detail of Burton’s history and snowboarding in general. He showed us around the HQ offices, from marketing to product development, it was cool to see how the largest snowboard company in the world functions. The offices were littered with original artwork of all the Burton models over the years and housed some of the nicest of people. We then headed over the ‘Craig’s Place’, named after the legendary Craig Kelly. This is where all the prototypes are produced (no photos we’re allowed in both sections due to obvious reasons…don’t want their competitors stealing their awesome shit!), Burton is always pushing progression in terms of technology, so it was insane to see how it all goes down and the people that make these changes happen. Also, I should mention that the Burton museum within the factory had me speechless, to see all that history in front of you was surreal. We then packed the van to head another hour south towards Killington, while we all sat in awe of what had just been witnessed. If you ever read this TK, thanks for the tour, you are a radical human-being!

A sweaty, stale van with 9 awesome dudes...does that sound weird.

A sweaty, stale van with 9 awesome dudes…does that sound weird?

Board history wall in the front entrance of the HQ's

Burton board history wall in the front entrance of the HQ.

The Burton Sasquatch

Sasquatch!

Flagship store

Flagship store

Old pro decks in the floor

Old pro decks in the floor

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The Entrance to Craig's Place.

The Entrance to Craig’s Place.

TK mesmerizing the group with this knowledge!

TK mesmerizing the group with this knowledge!


Ready to have a beer or 7, we finally arrived at the condo in Killington, claimed our beds and all cracked a beverage signalling we had made it and we’re ready for a couple days of slashing. The following morning couldn’t come soon enough, even through a long night of alcohol, dice, beer pong and story-telling. I walked downstairs to get some caffeine in me and got hit by one of the nicest of views I’ve personally seen. The front desk lady wasn’t kidding when she said we had the best view of the mountain.  I stepped out on the front deck, felt the warm air and knew it was going to be an awesome day of riding slush.

Good Morning Vermont

Good Morning Vermont


The snow turned to slush immediately making for a super fun first day, everyone was slashing, laughing and having too much fun. Did I mention we also rode the Burton Stash which is an insanely fun park filled with only wooden features, and with the snow being so soft, everyone was throwing down!

Entering the Stash

Entering the Stash

Day ending beers

Day ending beers


The first day was followed by more drinking, losing money playing dice, ping pong tossing, and resting the legs for another day of spring slashing.

The second day we we’re joined by JG, the OG board tester for Burton, he can tell you the profile and every aspect of a snowboard within the first couple turns, a real snowboard junkie. I was lucky enough to catch a couple gondola rides with him where I picked his brain and just listened to the wisdom, it was rad. He even gave us the chance to demo prototypes for 2018.

Sneak peak

Sneak peak

Little stall action

Little stall action (Photo: JG)

The gnarliest T-bar ride.

The gnarliest T-bar ride.

Well deserved beer on the summit

Well deserved beer on the summit

The crew!

The crew!

Buck hunter...a must.

Some buck hunters in their natural habitat.

A professional pack job

A professional pack job

Looks like it time to say goodbye for now.

Looks like it’s time to say goodbye for now.


JG followed us back to the condo where we shared more stories, and he brought along some of Vermont’s finest relaxants, to help us nurse our sore muscles haha. After a couple quick naps, it was time for food and more beer. The last night was spent putting money in arcade games at a local bar and reminiscing about the past 2 days! Thanks again to Cordell, Carmichael, JG, TK, Burton and the whole crew for an radical trip, couldn’t ask for more! Also, shoutout to Blasco for bringing the energy to the crew, I will carry the Seagulling rule in beer pong wherever I travel.

That trip pretty much put a final seal on this winter season with weather back in Ontario not looking too favourable (especially with lift ticket prices still costing an arm and leg), so my attention was spent finding our very needed Van. Over this period, there we’re many KMs driven to see vans, some we’re okay, others horrible. Through the millions of emails sent, photos sorted through, trips to the mechanic, we finally found a promising lead. After much deliberation, and thought we decided to pull the trigger and get the ball rolling on our future Van Adventures. This White Yeti is a 2006 Ford E-150 with 174k! Kayley and I are both super excited for what lies ahead, there will be ups and downs but that is part of the fun. I will be documenting the entire process to the best of my ability, so stay tuned! 

Our new rolling home

Our new rolling home


-Chris