On saturday July 18th at 4am my friend Steph and I headed up the Trans Canada highway to Killarney Provincial park for a highly anticipated backcountry trip on Carlyle Lake.  En route we saw two deers along the highway and then two moose! So totally exciting and I hoped a sign of things to come! Not by any means the best picture, but I love it anyways!

IMG_69371 moose2 kill sign

Upon arrival we were greeted by enthusiastic park staff! It’s Bio Blitz day and of course we want to participate!  We got our permit, had a nice chat, got our bio blitz bags and we were off!  After a quick stop at Killarney Outfitters, who were anxious to get us going on our adventure, we headed to the put in at Carlyle Lake.

So friendly and excited to see us! :) Thank you!

So friendly and excited to see us! 🙂 Thank you!4 kill outfit

So exciting!  We packed up the canoe, so everything was balanced and covered it with the tarps in case it rained, although it wasn’t expected, the sky was a bit dark. You never know.  Not that much would happen as I pack pretty much everything in ziploc bags, but I believe it’s always better to be more prepared than not, right?

6 sign carlyle5 canoe setup

photo credit: Stephanie Mercier

photo credit: Stephanie Mercier

I have been wanting to visit Killarney for many years and was so excited to be here, finally!  It was absolutely gorgeous and I was a happy camper

By ten am we were on the water and paddlng across the lake. I had seen a beautiful site online, site 55 on my Killarney map and I was aiming for that site. It was up on large rocks and behind the site was Terry Lake which you would have all to yourself when occupying that site. From what I’ve seen online, it looked like a beautiful place to stay.

7 beauty carylyle

After about 45 minutes of paddling we reached the area I was looking for and site 55 was occupied. Boo. 🙁   I had read about another site opposite to 55, site 56,  that was nice also, some said better than 55.  It was open so we parked our canoe at the curb (lol) and walked up the steep rock to explore the site! It was gorgeous and Steph was very happy with it so instead of risking loosing it by paddling out on the lake to explore the other sites, maybe twenty minutes away, we decided to make camp and stay here. Killarney is unbelievable! Every turn has an amazing view of pink rocks, bright green trees and all types of flora and fauna! I am so in love!!!

13 canoe parking8 before tent10 campfire view

Now just for the record, I am not a hard core #survivorman type of outdoors person!  I love the backcountry for it’s solace, the wildlife, the clear lakes, the loons calling, and the lack of people. This does not mean I am going to eat food out of a foil bag for the entire trip or restrict myself of things that make me comfortable, not that there’s anything wrong with that at all! I have done that, and I can do that, and I totally respect that, I’d just prefer to do this.

This trip we were paddling into a site, no portage, staying on the same site for 2 nights (thanks to a cancellation a week before!) so why not have a few luxuries, like fold up chairs,  floaties, a hammock….  or two, and a very heavy bear barrel full of food? What’s the harm? 🙂

9 after tent woods opt 2 IMG_6996IMG_7109

yes, it was heaven, just as it looks! :)

yes, it was heaven, just as it looks! 🙂

After setup we had a nice lunch, turkey on kaisers with havarti, mayo and dijon mustard! YUM.  Then we played for the rest of the day, exploring the site, the area, swimming in the beautiful clear lake and lounging around on the rocks.


25 red rocks

we called this the texas tree

we called this the texas tree

A delicious dinner was planned, beef tenderloin, dill roasted potatoes and garden salad. Again… YUM! FYI- Full details on how to make everything I made this weekend can be found here! I’ve had some requests from people who want to see what I eat when I camp and how I get it there successfully, so I shall post it!

17 dinner14 salad

The flames in this pic were not added or edited, they were just naturally cool like that!

The flames in this pic were not added or edited, they were just naturally cool like that!

After dinner we got a nice fire going with some wood that was left on the site for us by our sites previous tenants! THANKS to you! Some pieces were too big so we had to cut them up, which was a good time to test out my Woods Hatchet and Sven Saw.  After that we made a delicious s’more and then we just relaxed, enjoyed the warm weather, the fresh air and listened to the many loons calling out.

IMG_698115 sunny trees16 sunset

It was an early night as we were both pretty tired so we headed to our nice cozy beds, haha! That consisted of a #thermarest mat and my new #marmot sleeping bag. I was excited to be warm for a change and I was! The lowest temperature I saw was 17 degrees overnight but I was comfortable in my -9 bag in my shorts and t shirt! I also learned a trick!!  I have a hard time staying on my thermarest in my slippery sleeping bags, especially on on level ground, which I always seem to end up on.  The Marmot bag I got, (see blogpost for full description) had a hood at the top. I laid the bag down on the thermarest, flipped the hood inside out over the top end of the thermarest, like a corner on a fitted sheet. It worked amazingly well! I figured I couldn’t be the only person to have that slip slide problem so I thought I’d share it in hopes of helping others! HAHA!

I slept well and woke up at 5am to explore the privy.  lol. I was happy to see the bear barrel still hanging from the tree and not in the lake as the only decent spot we could find was over it.   I took some photos of the sunrise that wasn’t and the site in the morning light and this video:

There were a few clouds leftover from the night. It was supposed to rain between 1am and 6am but it hadn’t so that was good.  The bugs were pretty bad as there was no breeze,  so after I got my fill of playing photographer,  I took the fly off my tent and crawled into my sleeping bag, enjoying the morning light without being bugged.  The clouds cleared eventually for a few nice photos and then the sun was out in full force by about 8-830.

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We made a lovely breakfast, sunny side up eggs, toast golden brown. thanks to Steph. and bacon I pre cooked at home and heated up.  Accompanied by some baileys and hot chocolate for me, coffee for Steph. Delicious! We enjoyed the morning sun and I noticed a hole in what I call ‘my camping purse” which is basically just a small cinch bag I keep all my important things in like a mini first aid kit, binoculars, sunglasses, my phone, camera, etc, etc. The front of the bag has a mesh-type pouch and it would run, so I used a twist tie to sew it shut and keep my stuff from falling out! 🙂


photo credit: Stephanie Mercier

photo credit: Stephanie Mercier


We got ready for the day, packed up a few bags and got in the canoe to explore the lake. Carylye is beautiful. We stayed near the shore and checked out everything including other sites, none were as good as ours, but still awesome sites just the same. I don’t know if there is a bad site here, but if there is, I haven’t seen one.  We stopped at the end of the lake on a site and had lunch, tuna wraps, and then spent some time swimming. Eventually we headed back to camp to swim there. What an awesome day! thirty three degrees, sunny, amazing!

IMG_747229 red rockIMG_7124

34 swimming rock

We stayed by the lake enjoying the water until around 7 and then finally headed up for dinner. On the menu tonight, shrimp and crab alfredo with fresh romano cheese, fresh dill and green onions from my garden. SOO delicious!

it may not look delicious, but it was!

it may not look delicious, but it was!

We ate, got a nice fire going and had some s’mores. They were so amazingly good I wish I had another one right now! Right after the sun went down, the bugs came out in full force. They have been here all along with us but at this point was the worst they had been the whole time.  They were so bad, Steph decided to go into her tent and call it at night around 9:30.  I tried to be a hardass and stayed out and after about a half hour, they calmed down and were bearable again. I sat by the fire, did a small amount of packing as we were heading out to hike the Crack tomorrow morning, and enjoyed the loons on the lake. Loons are one of my favourite parts of being up north and without their calls, I would feel like something was missing.  Here is a video I took at 9:15 of the lovely loons singing on the lake while Steph is making us s’mores!

At 11pm I was nodding off at the fire. I had stayed up late enough to walk out to the edge of the lake, turn off my headlamp and get a great view of the night sky. It was brilliant as it always is away from the city, millions of stars, the milky way and a pretty crescent moon!  Can I just stay here forever please? 🙂 Into my dreams we go!

I awoke to daylight around 5am again. I checked the bear barrel and it was where we left it. Good stuff!   The sun was on it’s way out and I was up and ready to get some good photos.  I walked the site taking pictures from every direction and angle that I could think of trying to get some interesting different photos and I think I got a few good ones but it’s never as many as I think it will be.

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Steph was up soon and we carried on with our ritual of baileys and hot bevvys and sat in the warm sun sipping on our drinks and listening to the sounds of the forest waking up.  It was so peaceful and serene!

We packed up all our stuff except the kitchen and then made some wraps, scrambled eggs, salsa, cheese and green onions. They were great! By 930, we were packed up and left our beautiful site and headed for the car, excited and scared to face our next adventure, hiking the crack!


As site 55 had been vacated earlier in the morning, we paddled over to it and explored it. This was a super site and I was a bit sad we didn’t get it, although still grateful and happy for the site we had.  Here are a few pictures of this spectacular site in case you are interested in trying to grab it for your next adventure here.


waterfall across from our site at site 55

waterfall across from our site at site 55

cool log furniture around the fire pit at site 55, looking out to our site across the lake

cool log furniture around the fire pit at site 55, looking out to our site across the lake

Pretty bay on Terry Lake behind site 55.

Pretty bay on Terry Lake behind site 55.

The closer we got to the access point, the slower we seemed to paddle. It was another gorgeous day, sunny, hot and light wind and neither of us seemed to want this part of the weekend to end. Thankfully, the Crack was waiting for us.  (see my post on hiking the crack from July 22, 2015) http://wp.me/p6r4RK-5f


By 1030 we were back at the put in. We unpacked the canoe and left it for Killarney Outfitters who drop off and pick up the canoes for you for a small extra charge. For the price,  a great service. You can find all their rental info here http://www.killarneyoutfitters.com/canoe-rental.php

I hope you enjoyed my post. If you have any questions, comments, etc, please do not hesitate to send me a message. I’d love to hear from you! My very first kayak backcountry trip was with a girl I met commenting on her blog on Algonquin many many years ago. You never know what can happen right?

Thanks for reading!

Camper Christina