The May long weekend was on the way and I had no plans. I decided it was finally time to get out and do a trip. My concussion was still lingering slightly but I had improved greatly and figured a quiet, easy, relaxing trip shouldn’t be too difficult.  I booked a site in the Haliburton Highlands Water Trails on Bentshoe Lake. I had actually done my first kayak camp of last year there and knew the lake fairly well. I booked the same site, surprised it was still open a week before the long weekend and just booked Saturday and Sunday nights.

As the weekend approached, the forecast did not look good for Saturday, but Friday was nice. I decided if I was going to go for Saturday and Sunday, it would be best to arrive during the nice weather Friday and get set up for the rain so on Saturday, instead of paddling and setting up in the pouring rain, I would already be all set up with my tarp and tents up and have lots of dry areas to relax in.

When I went to book the site for the Friday though, it was taken, so I switched to another site, I’d never been on for the entire 3 nights.  Friday was a gorgeous day and as soon as I hit the road I was both elated and scrared. I’m not sure why I felt so anxious, maybe as it’s been so long since I’d been out, first trip of the year? No clue but that would soon fade. On the way to the put in along highway 118 I actually saw a bull moose. It was massive and so beautiful. I pulled over to get a photo but by the time I walked back to the area where I could see it from the road, it had vanished. I was completely amazed as I’ve never seen moose in this area and truly wish I’d had a photo, but the one in my mind serves me well.

After a short 1 hour drive I was at the put in. At Bentshoe Lake, there is a small parking lot where you can unload your gear and boat, but then have to go park across the street at the Big East Lake Acess Point. Not a big deal. The portage to the water from the parking lot at Bentshoe is fairly small and easy and in no time I was at the shore packing up my boat, which took way longer than it should have. LOL. I guess I have to get back into practice.

I headed onto the lake and in less than 15 minutes, including taking videos and photos, I was at the site. The very first thing I noticed was a table someone had made and left there. My first thought was to hid it in the woods but I decided it was here, I might as well make use of it.

Once I pulled my kayak up onto shore I unloaded it and that’s when I first noticed the bugs. They were out and about in full force all of a sudden when I got to the site. They didn’t seem to be biting me but they were pesky, flying into my ears, mouth and eyeballs and making me crazy. I hadn’t dealt with bugs in quite a while, so they were annoying me more than they usually would but I put on my bug shirt and eventually my bug net for my head and I got to work setting up camp.

This trip I had 2 new tents and was super excited about both of them. They are both from Eureka. The fist tent I set up was the No Bug Zone VCS13. This is the no bug zone for the backcountry and is a bit smaller than the other model and perfect for the backcountry. It has no poles and is set up using nearby trees and in my case this weekend, a very large stick for one side where the trees were not. There is a tarp that is separate from the netting so you can use that on it’s own if the bugs aren’t bad. I had watched a video from Toby Clipperton, Total Camper before heading out so I could get some tips on how to set it up quickly. Toby also had a great tip about packing the No Bug Zone. He used compression sacks from Canadian Tire to put them in. I had also picked up one medium sized one on my way up and both pieces of the No Bug Zone fit into it perfectly. Great tip Toby! Thank you!

I had brought one of my famous homemade hamburgers for dinner so I would be cooking on the fire today.  As it was getting late, I figured I’d start the fire without issue and use one of my new Extreme Start Firestarters from Pine Mountain.  They had sent me a box to test out and I love to use fire starters to get a fire going, especially when it’s late and I am busy doing other things and don’t have time to mess around.  I put some kindling into the fire pit, lit the fire stick, put a few pieces of wood on top, and went to set up my tent hoping to have some nice hot coals to cook on by the time I was done.

The Suma 2 is my other new Eureka tent. You may have have seen this tent at the Outdoor Adventure Show this year. I did an interview about it with David Lee and just loved it so now I have one of my own. It’s even green to match my logo. I will be posting some more details and info on this tent once I have used it a few more times.

Almost done setting up. The main reason I came a night early is to get this all done and get my tarp up over the fire pit before the rain came. I would do that though, after dinner.  It was almost 8pm and I was very hungry.

Once the tent was set up I want back to check on my fire and it was blazing. I was so happy at the ease of that. I put a few more pieces of wood on and got ready to make dinner. I got out the bear vault and all the things I’d need, put the grill over the fire and plopped my burger on it.

While the burger cooked I got to work making homemade guacamole for my bun.  As it was really warm out, I didn’t want to risk mayo, so I brought an avocado and all the ingredients to make guacamole. I will be doing a Camper Christina Cooks video on how I made the burger at home and then finished it off at my site with the toppings shown above, and of course, some bacon.

I was going to bring a side but opted against it and I’m glad I did because this burger was massive!  It took me a very long time to eat it but I had wonderful scenery to stare at while I did so.

I was so lucky to have this view. I had never stayed on this site. I could hear the cars in the distance as I wasn’t very far into the lake, but this view definitely made up for it.

I cleaned up my dinner dishes, which were next to nothing and sat by the waters edge enjoying the show mother nature put on. The peepers peeped so loudly I thought there was a fire alarm going off next to me, but otherwise, it was totally serene.

I cut up some firewood and put it under the table that was on the site when I arrived and then covered it with a split open garbage bag to keep it dry when the rain arrived tomorrow. I was almost all set.  I watched as daylight disappeared and the darkness took over.

Once the colours faded, I got back to work and set up my tarp, mostly in the dark.  The forecast showed the  rain would start around 8am tomorrow morning and continue until 6am Sunday so I needed to be ready.  Camping in the rain is not very fun if you can’t stay warm and dry.  I stayed up quite late listening to the sounds of the forest before heading to bed and going to sleep somewhere around 1am.

Around 5 hours after I fell asleep, I woke up to a gloomy morning. I had hoped to catch the sunrise as the sun was forecast to be out until around 8am, but no such luck.  I got ready for the day and started breakfast after getting the fire going. I generally didn’t have morning fires, but as the day was to be rainy and blue, I figured a fire would be nice to dry off to.

I went for a short paddle to see if I could find the sun and I did briefly.  I got a few pics and headed back to the site.

I started breakfast after getting the fire going. I generally didn’t have morning fires, but as the day was to be rainy and blue, I figured a fire would be nice to dry off to.  I made a bacon and cheese omelette with an english muffin covered in strawberry jam. it was delicious!

I collected some firewood after breakfast and waited for my friend Sean from Paddling Adventures Radio to arrive.  Sean had just bought a kayak recently and he was going to come up for the day, do some paddling and some fishing and hang out.

As the rain began to fall, I saw my friend Sean in the distance heading towards the site.

 Check back next week for part 2, my visit with Sean,  and another friend who comes by to spend a night camping with me.

Thanks for checking out Part 1 of 2 of my first kayak camping trip of the season.   I hope you enjoyed it and come back to check out part 2 next week.

If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please leave a message.

Happy Camping!!!!  (so good to finally say that again!!)

Camper Christina