On July 8th, I moved into a new house and finally saw my belongings after having them in storage for over 2 years. Moving to Muskoka is something I do not, and don’t think I ever will, regret, but it has had it’s challenges for sure. All of them worth it, in my opinion, but that doesn’t make them non existent. It has been a long road.
After moving all of my things on Sunday, I spent every night that week working all day, then going home and busting my butt until late every night to get as much unpacked and get myself as settled as possible. My reward, I was going camping in Algonquin on the weekend and had to avoid feeling guilty for leaving the work behind. The more I got done, the more I felt I was ‘allowed’ to go have some fun.
It’s been a pretty rough year for me, receiving a concussion just days into 2018, kept me from camping for 5 months. A second concussion received just as I was feeling myself again and about to start renovating my house, mortified me, but thankfully, learning so much from the first, I recovered in only a few weeks. Now I was able to go health wise, but had all this ‘house work’ to do. It would have to wait. I had to get out, recharge and connect with nature, even if it was just for a short while.
We had been experiencing a heat wave for weeks now, all through my working on the house, digging holes for a fence, sweating to death, etc etc. I was dying to go swimming and just enjoy the weather, sit by a lake and listen to the loons. I got up at 5:15 and was on the road by 6am so I could arrive early and spend the entire day on the water. I reached the East gate to get my permit just after 8am and was soon at the put in for Galeairy Lake, access #13 in Whitney. It had been a while since I paddled into Galeairy and the dock I’d been to, to put in, was not the same as this one, but according to the signs I was in the right place, so they either moved the access, or maybe there was another one?
I got my kayak off my car, unloaded my gear, reloaded it into the kayak and just after 9am, I was on my way, with a big huge grin on my face.
I knew Galeairy well. Over the years I have stayed on this lake 4 times, this being the fifth and stayed on this lake on my very first backcountry trip ever in 2002. My very first night of backcountry camping was spent on this lake on an island site near the Rock Lake portage and I was going to do my best to get to and possibly stay on that site today. I was excited to see it again as I’d not seen it since that trip.
At first there were motor boats all over. Two left from the dock around the same time I did and then a few more came through as I was paddling towards where the sites are located. Then they began to fade away and the peace and quiet took over. I took my time taking photos and videos and after just over an hour, I reached the area where I wanted to start looking at sites.
When I’d went online the previous night to see how many sites were open, there were 10, so I knew I had a good chance of getting something really nice. It was after all just after 10 am and most people had not arrived yet, so I had a bit of an advantage, being so close to the area. I saw my favorite site which I have stayed on 3/4 times I’ve camped on this lake, but vowed I would find another site to stay on this trip and paddled past it, heading towards to farthest island in hopes it wouldn’t be taken yet.
I arrived eventually and was happy at it’s location. It was a good distance from the other sites and off on it’s own. Super peaceful, sunrise and sunset view, and small and cute, just how I remember it. I parked my Delta and got out, seeing a white paper on one of the trees. With a bad feeling in my chest, I went over to read it.
It said “campsite closed, no camping”. BOOOO!!! I was so sad. I really really wanted to stay here, but I guess I wasn’t allowed. Crappy. I got back into my kayak and paddled back from where I’d come. There was only one other site past this one and it was a bit of a paddle, near two portages. I don’t think I’d ever seen it and I didn’t want to waste the day paddling all the way to it to find out it was either taken with trippers, or not a great site.
I had seen two other options on the way in, aside from my favorite site, that were open, but when I got to them, I noticed the next site was right across from it and someone was camping there with a motor boat and they had lots of tents and were making a good amount of noise. Not only could I hear them, but I could see them from the site as well, so I paddled back to my favorite site on the lake and decided to stay there. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? LOL. It was only 10:45 at this point so I parked my kayak, unloaded it and set up my site so I could enjoy the day.
I noticed there was an abundance of butterflies on this site which I thought was cool. The entire time I was setting up they were fluttering all around me, making me feel welcome and they were really pretty. I got only one photo but in one of my videos, you can see them flying around as I’m filming and I felt really special to be there with them.
After setting up, I sat and had lunch. I had brought something different for me today, a peanut butter and jam wrap. It was quite delicious and I was pretty hungry, having breakfast at 6am. I sat and ate and then changed into my bathing suit so I could sit by, in, on, around the water and enjoy the day.
After lunch, I took some shots of the site from the water, then took off my sunglasses, hat and buff and went for a swim. I didn’t actually swim much, just found a rock in the water that was the perfect height and sat on it with only my head sticking out above the water and enjoyed being immersed. It wasn’t cold, but cool enough to be refreshing and I sat there for some time, so happy I’d come camping and so grateful to be out again.
It was a great day. I swam, I hung out in my hammock, I watched for wildlife, I had a nap and totally enjoyed the peacefulness of the lake. I was a happy happy girl!
I had remembered someone commenting on my dehydrating video, that they put their dehydrated foods in water during the day to rehydrate instead of putting them in hot water as I usually do, and wanted to give that a try to see how good it worked. I got out my red and yellow peppers, mixed with green onions that I was using later for my potatoes and poured a bit of water right into the ziplock they were in, then put them back in the bear vault. I also made myself a cocktail while in there, I mean, why not, It was already open. lol
I went and sat by the shore and listened to an audiobook for a few hours and then decided it was time to make dinner. I was hungry and I had a really good supper. I also wanted to paddle at sunset and do some fishing and wanted to have enough time to do that after dinner without rushing so I thought staring early would be a good idea. I first checked to see how the peppers were doing.
I discovered the were fully hydrated and was pretty impressed. That totally saved a step and didn’t cause me any extra work. Bonus! Thanks to whoever it was that suggested I try that. I will definitely be doing that again. I began prepping for dinner. As my trip was a last minute decision, the food wasn’t too elaborate, but still pretty good. I had frozen a nice steak after seasoning it and it was in a small cooler bag with a block of ice. I also heated up a potato in the microwave that morning just before I left to get it somewhat soft. I sliced it up, cooked it with some seasoning, the peppers and onions, and then cooked the steak. I would prefer to have made the steak on a fire, but due to the fire ban, I had to make it on the stove. It still tasted delicious.
And, as an added bonus, I also had ice for my drink. It may seem insignificant, but on a hot day, a cold drink tastes unbelievably amazing and I was again a happy happy girl!
After I cleaned up from dinner, I was starting to get ready to head out to go for a paddle when two speedboats came racing past. And I mean that literally, they looked like they were racing. Two boats full of younger people who appeared to be partying, music blasting, went past the site at high speeds. In all the times I’d camped on this site, I had never seen a speedboat go past it and I was completely surprised. I had seen one at the site past this one and was surprised at that also, but it was a small fishing boat at least. These boats were big deluxe boats with lots of bells and whistles, and I was very unhappy seeing them and worse, hearing them pass by. It totally ruined my mood and I decided not to go for a paddle. There would be no mirror to find, no peace, no quiet and I felt like my place was now ruined. I know that might sound harsh but I was here to hear the loons and the frogs and the birds, not a boat stereo and engine blaring past me. Sigh. This sucked.
After I had my little pity party for myself, I sucked it up, and decided I would not let anyone ruin my fun. I got my pfd on, grabbed my paddle and my fishing rod and hit the water. The sun had left my site already but it was still glistening across the lake, so I headed that way to catch the last of the days rays and a few pics.
Soon it was gone and twilight took over. It was gorgeous out, still warm and the bugs were surprisingly not bad on the water with a very slight breeze keeping them at bay. I got my Mepps spinner on my line and cast a few into the bay and was delighted, getting nibbles and bites right from the start. It was the perfect time to fish, and I would most likely catch one because at this time, I couldn’t keep it. LOL.
And I was right. I got one fish on the line, a bass and it jumped out of the water and spit my lure right out. Oh well, at least I saw him and knew it was there. The second one I had on my hook, but when I went to grab the line to bring it over and take it off, it also jumped off the line. The third fish, though, he was on really good and I managed to get a picture and a video before struggling to get the hook out of his mouth and put him back into the water.
During this time I was going through mixed feelings. I was happy I caught a fish, but across the lake at the site with the boat, a party was going on and I wasn’t too happy about that. The people had music blaring very loudly and were yelling and screaming and carrying on. They were so loud it really upset me, and once again soured my mood. I understand that everyone is welcome and that people should have fun, but I don’t understand why people have to be disrespectful of others around them and forget their manners. We are all here to enjoy the great outdoors and funnily enough, I heard them talking earlier when I paddled by. A loon had called and I heard the guy yelling to his friends how the loon is the sound of Canada and he was so happy to hear one and share it with his friends who seemed to be either newcomers to the area, or maybe just new to camping. It made me warm to hear him say all this as I felt that way too, and now this same person was being so loud that not only would he miss the loons calls, but so would I, and I was all the way on the other side of the lake! Arggg. I went back to my site, got ready for bed, put in my earplugs, (no loons for me tonight) and went to sleep.
I woke up a few times during the night to take out my earplugs but until 2am, they were still carrying on, so I left them in. When I woke up at 5am to get up and paddle for sunrise pics, I found it overcast and gloomy out so I went back to bed until 7 and then gave it a go
It was still gloomy out, but the sun was starting to make its way through the clouds and the photos came out dark and moody which gave them a nice twist. I paddled for a bit and took some photos and then attempted to catch a fish.
I was pretty sure I wouldn’t catch one because now I could keep it and bring it out with me for dinner later or have a shore lunch. I was right as usual, not even one little itty bitty bite. Oh well. I enjoyed the peace and quiet once again. Doubtful my neighbors would be making any noise until several hours from now as they were up half the night, so at least I had that, although I was tired, I was happy to have the calm back for now.
Eventually, the sun came out in full force. We were expected to have 17 km wind gusts today but the lake was total mirror which was rare for Galeairy. I enjoyed the view while eating my egg sandwich. I then packed up my site, very slowly, not in an rush to head out today at all.
It was another hot day and I was elated. I put on my bathing suit under my clothes, packed my boat, leaving out my lunch, a towel and a dry set of clothes for the car and I headed towards the take out. My plan today was to paddle to Farm Bay, a lovely little area on Galeairy I had never explored. It was about 2/3 of the way towards the take out, but you had to go a different direction to get to the bay, so sadly I had never seen it. Today, I had time to explore and check it out, so i thought it’d be a good time to see what the sites are like there, stop for a swim and have some lunch before finishing my trip.
It was a good time indeed. The winds were pretty much non existent on my paddle towards Farm Bay and when I got there, there wasn’t even a slight breeze. The water was like glass and the scenery reflected in it was outstanding. I was in heaven. There was no one here at all, no sites were taken, no motor boats, no people, no nothing. I continued paddling into the bay looking at each site until I saw the last one. Wow. It was a beach and it was pretty spectacular!
I parked my kayak and got out to take a peek. It was really really pretty here. The water was so calm and still and the beach was sand and lovely. It was total paradise, except for the bugs. As there was no wind, and the bay was so sheltered, the mosquitos and deer flies were in abundance and attacking me from every direction.
I decided to take my photos quickly, go for my swim and then eat my lunch while paddling. The swim felt so good and I went in and out a few times. The first time to cool off, the second and third times to escape the bugs. They followed me into the water of course, but with only my head sticking out, they didn’t have too much to bite. I would splash the water all around and when that didn’t help, I just dunked my head under for a bit and then they would go away for a few seconds. LOL. Paradise was beautiful, but maybe not at this time of year!
Once I got out of the water, I put my clothes back on and literally ran to my kayak to get in and paddle as fast as I could. Once I made my own wind doing so, the bugs eventually got left behind, but it took a bit for that to happen. I was happy when it did. I was really glad I made the side trip to check out the bay, the pictures I got were incredible and I loved my time there, regardless of the bugs, but it might not be a good place to stay for prolonged periods, just sayin. LOL.
I made my way back to the take out and arrived there not long after my stop at Farm Bay. I pulled my boat up onto the shore and unloaded it, packed my gear in my car, put my boat up on top of it and then jumped in the lake one last time to cool down before my drive to Huntsville. It was so hot out and the dunk in the water once again refreshed me. I headed to the washrooms to change into my dry clothes and then made my way back to the Home Depot to pick up supplies for the work that was being done on my house, which I now had to return to. At least I got away for a few days and relaxed a bit, regardless of my noisy neighbors (pests) and I also found a bit of paradise along the way.
I hope you enjoyed my post about my stay on Galeairy Lake and you return to check out more posts coming soon. If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please send a message and I will get back to you as soon as I am able to.