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 First Week of Living on Four Wheels

21 Nov

It’s officially been one week of being on the road! We’ve covered a lot of ground and seen a lot of amazing sights so far.

The first leg of our week brought us from Huntsville down to Orilla (had some added Leaf Springs to help with the additional weight) then off to Sault Ste Marie. The drive along Highway 17 towards Marathon was unreal, the views of Northern Ontario are beautiful, providing tons of opportunities to see the powerful Lake Superior and surrounding landscapes.

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First Dinner in Blind River, Ont

Lake Superior Provincial Park

Lake Superior Provincial Park

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Nokomis Trail – Old Woman Bay

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Neys Provincial Park – Early Morning


After stopping in small town Marathon for the night, we trekked our way over to Thunder Bay, experiencing more radical views, especially at Ouimet Canyon, just north of the city. It features a short trail which brings you to a massive canyon that features the only Arctic Plants south of the Arctic Circle. Another piece of proof of how insane nature can be.

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Ouimet Canyon

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Ouimet Canyon

Views From Thunder Bay

Views of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park From Thunder Bay

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Kakabeka Falls (North of Thunder Bay)

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Sunrise Vibes


You never really realize how big Ontario is, I mean on a map you can see the size difference between it and all the other provinces but it’s not till you drive through the province until you fully grasp its magnitude.

We arrived in Winnipeg late afternoon, found a Walmart, posted up, grabbed some free Wifi, hit up a local pub for dinner and a beer and called it a night. The next morning, we decided to take a tour around the city, stopped by the local community centre for a shower, gave the van a very needed oil change and drove towards Brandon, MB.

The Prairies were not as flat as expected, it seemed before we left for the trip that everyone kept saying the classic “You are going to be soooo bored driving through the prairies, there is nothing too see, it’s so flat.” Well they couldn’t have been more wrong. Before arriving in Regina, we took a detour towards the Qu’appelle Valley (located North East of Regina), which paints a different picture of Saskatchewan, a valley of vast hills and unique terrain.

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Qu’Appelle Valley

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Lunch Break…

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Found a Skatepark in Regina to get my legs working.

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On the way towards Medicine Hat, we decided to have lunch at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, another section of the Qu’Appelle Valley.

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Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park

img_0191Medicine Hat was a sweet town, we found a nice park (Strathcona Park) located in the city centre along the South Saskatchewan River to park up, stretch our legs, make dinner and breakfast the following morning.

Qu'Appelle Valley

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Strathcona Park

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Drumheller, Alberta (Hour north up Highway 56 from the Trans Canada Highway) was our next destination, our old roommate from Ottawa, Cisco now lives there and it was a must to pay him a visit! Cisco and his partner Caitlin provided us with awesome hospitality; home cooked meals, a place to shower, and relax. Cisco gave us the pro tour the following morning around the area which is filled with tons of natural history.

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Horse Thief Canyon

HooDoos

HooDoos

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Wayne Saloon c. 1913

Wayne Saloon c. 1913


From the HooDoos to the multiple canyon views to the historical Wayne Saloon Pub, Drumheller is a hidden gem, worth checking out if you’re ever in the Calgary area. Thanks again to Cisco and Caitlin for the amazing hospitality!

The first week on the road has been an awesome experience. It still doesn’t necessarily feel that we are living town to town on four wheels. Since this week has been more travel based, we haven’t had much time to settle in and get our routines in order but that will come eventually. But we’re stoked for all the adventures ahead! As I write this we are sitting in a coffee shop, downtown Banff! A place Kayley has never witnessed before. Being here and travelling across the country really makes you appreciate being Canadian and having the freedom to witness what the country has to offer.

A couple things we have learned in Week 1:

  • Walmarts are an excellent place to park: safe, free wifi if you park close enough, lots of available spots, clean washrooms, usually in a plaza with tons of amenities and almost every city has one.
  • Don’t expect to cook all the time, when it’s cold and dark it’s hard to find spots to lay out all the necessities and cook a full meal.
  • Eat lots of snacks and meals that don’t involve cooking/heat: Nuts, Energy Bars, Wraps, Vegetables, Fruits, Hummus, Canned Tuna, Cold Cuts, Salads, Dips, Cheese, etc…
  • You have to get used to kneeling and squatting real quick: since we don’t have a popup top or raised roof you spend a lot of time not being able to stand.
  • Community Centres offer cheap showers.
  • Having a portable toilet comes in handy when you have to pee at 2am.
  • Podcasts!!! Don’t get me wrong I like music, but engaging podcasts can really kill time on a long drive.
  • Being organized is key: knowing where everything is makes life a lot easier, even more true for things like toiletry items, cooking items, and clothing.
  • AllStays Camp and RV App has been very useful: helps locate Walmarts (with reviews of past experiences of other users), gas stations, rest stops, mechanics, truck stops! Well worth the $10 so far!
  • Go to bed early and get up early.
  • Enjoy the ride!!

This coming week we are in Banff for a couple days checking out this legendary area, getting on our Snowboards which I’m very amped out and driving towards British Columbia to see more friends!

-Chris