I had been wanting to adventure in Killarney all summer but every time I had a free weekend, the park was booked up. When I checked a few weeks ago, I finally saw a few openings. They were all with portages but after carrying my lil kayak over 3km’s in Algonquin each way a few weeks ago I figured a kilometer was totally doable and something I wouldn’t have an issue with.
Since booking my site on Kakakise Lake, I had a friend come work in Muskoka with me. This friend, Jason, made his own handmade canoe and so instead of taking my kayak and going on my trip solo, as I’d originally planned, I invited him to come and suggested we take his canoe. Lucky for me, he said yes.
The canoe is an absolutely gorgeous cedar strip canoe and I have been dying to paddle it for over a year now. This would be it’s first big adventure and I was thrilled to be a part of it. If you would like to see the creation of this canoe, you can check out Jason’s video here.
Upon arrival to Killarney at 8:40 am, we pulled up to a line outside the office. I was pretty surprised as the office opened at 8am and we had timed our arrival to get there just after the morning rush so we could grab our permit and get on our way. Rain was expected around 4 or 5pm and I wanted to get to our site and set up and enjoy the day, before it fell. We were told by the others that no one from the parks was here and they were hoping someone would arrive soon, which they did. I wasn’t too happy, but things happen, so we waited in line, got our permit and took off for the put in at Carlyle Lake.
The weather was pretty decent thus far. The sun was in and out and it was wasn’t cold. I had stayed on Carlyle last year and knew exactly where the portage was. We paddled there pretty quickly and started taking the canoe and our gear across to Kakakise Lake.
We’d brought quite a bit as there was only the one portage less than 1 km, so we took our time and made 2 trips.
I remembered this portage from last year. Although I stayed on Carlyle, we went for a walk down the portage, just to check it out, and I vividly recalled that the end was pretty steep. I was happy to discover the water was low and there was shore, where last year there wasn’t.
When we got onto Kakakise, I was pretty happy. It was a beautiful lake and you could see the white rocks going way up high on the far side of the lake.
We paddled fairly effortlessly to the first site, checked it out and decided to continue on and check the 2nd site.
When I’d booked a few weeks ago, there was someone else on the lake booked with us, but this morning when I checked before heading out, we were the only ones. Maybe the rainy weekend forecast had scared them away, regardless, we had the lake to ourselves so we took our time deciding and eventually picked the 2nd site, which was closer to the Crack trail which we’d decided hike after set up. It was supposed to rain all day tomorrow and hiking slippery wet rocks was something I’d decided to avoid after the tough time I had at Grundy a few weeks back.
I took a video of the site when we left so it’s raining in it and I also took it very quickly to keep my phone from getting too wet. Just a quick peek for those of you who might be looking at booking one of the sites on Kakakise.
We set up camp and it went fairly quickly. I guess the more you do something, the faster and more efficient you get at it, and I had been camping so much this year, setting up tents and tarps came naturally to me, and took little time and effort.
Within an hour of arriving at the site, we were ready to go exploring and hike up the crack, so off we went.
I hiked the Crack last year and absolutely loved it. I had been wanting to come back and was so happy I was here. We put the canoe up on the shore, got my little backpack with snacks and supplies out, and headed up the trail taking lots of photos on the way.
Due to the fall color changes, the Crack was pretty busy. As we’d arrived late afternoon, I think we missed the biggest part of the crowd, as we saw and heard many people passing us on the way down while we were putting the boat away and changing our shoes, etc, but still had quite a few visitors on the way, including this lil guy who took a moment to shake my hand !! Too cute!
We took our time enjoying all the cool views en route, taking pictures of the mushrooms and just enjoying being out in nature. We found this rock that was for Danny, and thought it was really special.
Eventually, we got to the top and the view was as amazing as I’d remembered it, but even more so, as there was some color change in the leaves adding a lot more depth to everything. We sat at the top and had a snack and took a few pictures before heading back down.
After a rest, we descended back to the bottom of the hiking trail.
At the base of the trail, where we’d left the canoe was Kakakise creek and I loved paddling small creeks. We decided to check it out and see if it was somewhere we could go tomorrow with more time, if the weather was good.
We stopped at the bridge to take some photos. Jason did a bit of fishing and then we decided to start heading back to the site.
As we paddled back, the rain started to come down, first lightly, then heavier.
Once we arrived at our site, all was good. We had put my awesome tarp up over the firepit and had plenty of dry space to hang out and enjoy being outside while staying nice and dry.
The site was also fairly forested and covered, so it helped quite a bit in keeping us from getting wet. The rain stopped just before the sun went down. I got a few photos and, the sun went away, and the rain continued. LOL, I’ll take it Mother Nature, thanks!
For dinner, we’d brought a few nice steaks, some fresh asparagus and some basmati rice on the side with asian sesame sauce, dehydrated mushrooms and asparagus.
We got a good fire going and cooked everything on the grill I’d brought, and it was very delicious indeed!
After dinner we had a few s’mores and enjoyed the weather. It was very peaceful and quiet here and I was really liking my time in Killarney once again.
We headed to bed around 11 and got a good sleep. The temperature was perfect, around 10 degrees and super comfortable for sleeping outside.
I was woken up around 5 am to the sound of some very loud owls hooting back and forth to each other. One sounded like it was right on our site, it was so loud. I recorded the audio. If you turn up the sound, you can hear them.
I woke up again just after 7:00 and set up my hammock. I was elated to see it had stopped raining as it had rained throughout most of the night. It was supposed to rain straight through the rest of the weekend so any non rain time would be cherished. I chilled out in my hammock for a bit and read and Jason got up shortly after and went out in the canoe to catch a fish.
I hadn’t had enough time to locate my fishing rod or renew my license for this trip, so I stayed back, and took down the tents before the rain came back. It was always good to do so when it’s dry out whenever possible. Packing/unpacking wet gear, never fun.
Jason appeared in front of the site and hollered across the lake that he’d caught 5 fish. I thought he was joking but then he held one up. It was pretty big and I was elated!!!!
He’d actually only able to keep two, but they were nice looking fish and I was super happy. I had never backcountry camped and eaten fish caught while camping. Although I didn’t actually catch it, to me, wasn’t super relevant. I could not wait for lunch, but first, we had to have breakfast! LOL
Breakfast was simple this trip. Scrambled eggs with chopped bacon, ham and cheese on wraps. Delicious and fast and little mess.
After we ate, we cleaned up and then took a spin on the lake in the canoe. I took pictures and Jason did a little fishing and he caught another one! Woohoo, yum yum yum!!!
I had heard what sounded like waterfalls from the campsite and wanted to see where the sound came from. We found them on the other side of the island that was next to us. You can’t see the water falling in the photos, but you can sort of see it if you look closely at the video.
After visiting the falls, Jason cleaned the fish and then we headed back to the site to have lunch! I got a good fire going while he put the seasoning on them. I was practically drooling!
The fish was absolutely delicious and I couldn’t have had a better lunch anywhere! The rain had started to fall again and we sat under the tarp nice and dry enjoying our meal. After we finished, we cleaned up and finished all the packing under the tarp, loaded the boat, and then took the tarp down. Everything stayed nice and dry.
The rain fell as we left our campsite and said goodbye to Kakakise Lake. The portage was muddy and slippery, but we were dressed properly and it didn’t affect us much as all.
When we got to Carlyle the rain slowed a bit and Jason did some fishing before we headed all the way out. No more fish were caught sadly, but I was happy to prolong our exit of Killarney so I didn’t mind the delay in our return to the car.
Eventually, we arrived at the parking lot and loaded up all the gear. I put on some dry clothes as I always keep a set in the car just in case. Driving over 2 hours in wet clothes wasn’t something I enjoyed, and being warm and dry made me a happy camper! Time to plan the next adventure!
I hope you enjoyed paddling in Killarney with me in this beautiful canoe! Thanks to Jason for accompanying me to this fabulous destination and for building and letting me adventure in such a gorgeous vessel. Also, some of the photos were taken by Jason, so photo credit to him on those (mostly pics of me that aren’t selfies, lol). Thanks to you all for checking out my post and I hope you come back again soon to share another outing with me! If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please do so!