I find it absolutely amazing how much adventure I can pack into a short trip, this one, being only 18 hours from put in to take out. As some of you may know, I recently purchased a house in Muskoka, after over 2 years of looking, and have been doing renovations on it for a few weeks now. There is a lot left to do, but summer is also here, I’ve missed 5 months of camping due to concussions and I NEED to go camping. What is the solution, split my time up so I get a bit of both worlds.
As I do now live in Muskoka, getting away is much easier for me than others as I do not have to drive through Toronto traffic, Barrie traffic, pretty much, really, no traffic. I am able to camp on the fly and can decide, as in this trip, on a Thursday night, to leave straight from work on Friday and make it happen.
The Tim River is well known for spotting moose and I did a day trip there the first fall I was living in Muskoka. I did not see any moose that day, but enjoyed the area and vowed to return. With Tim Lake being just a 2 hour drive from my work, and having one site still available for Friday night, it was an easy choice to do a quick trip there. As I did not have my canoe yet, I could kayak in without any portages, and explore a good sized area, an area where I may also be lucky enough to see some wildlife.
I arrived at the Kearney office to get my permit a bit anxious that the site would be gone, but it was still available. What was better yet, was that only 1 of the campsites booked had checked in so far, so hopefully, I had my choice of sites and would get a good one. I had done some research online and heard that the middle site on the east side of the lake is the best, but the one in the southeast corner is also really good. The first option was my goal, but just because someone else regards a site as their favorite, does not mean it will be your favorite. Everyone has different reasons for liking a site and mine may not be the same as theirs, so we would see. I followed the dirt road in the last half hour of the drive, not a lot of km’s but due to the road conditions, you couldn’t go very fast. I was reminded of the road into Brent, but it is not nearly as bad, thankfully.
I arrived at the put in and unloaded my kayak, unpacked my gear, repacked my gear and set off to find a site. I raced to do this so that I could get my pick of sites before someone else arrived. Three people showed up to the park office just as I was leaving and not knowing where they were going, didn’t change my path at all, in my mind, they could all be coming here as well, so I hurried and was paddling away from the dock by 5:15pm, just a little over 2 hours after walking out of work.
I love paddling on the Tim. It is mostly shallow, calm water with mirror and that is my favorite type of water to paddle. It was a gorgeous day, still hot and sunny and the views were incredible.
I scanned the shores for moose but so far, not a one was out. I talked to a couple who had just paddled out from Rosebury and they said they saw a moose earlier right in their path out. This got me even more excited and I just kept saying, here moosey moosey, over and over again under my breath.
Only 15 minutes into the paddle and I had already seen two loons and heard several calls. I would come to find out that this should be called Loon Lake as the loons continued to call several times pretty much every hour for the duration of my stay.
I passed the island and saw a bunch of people there fishing. I continued on with my focus on that middle site on the East side of the lake and when I arrived, I saw it was still available. All 3 sites on the east side were, so I checked them all out, first the one in the southeast corner, then the middle site and finally the farthest one up by the river entrance. I honestly couldn’t see what all the hype was about for the middle site or the southeast corner, and I personally liked the site closest to the river entrance, which eventually led to the portage.
It was high up, like the middle site, but there was a good breeze going through which helped keep the bugs down. The landing was a bit difficult but as long as you don’t mind getting your feet wet, which I didn’t, there was no problem. It was also farthest from the island site that was occupied with quite a few people and they were a bit noisy so I could barely hear them from here. I decided this would be where I would stay for the night.
I brought all my gear up to the top level in one shot, as I didn’t have much staying for such a short time. I set up my tent, my chair and began to get my food out to start dinner. It took me an hour to land at the site after my exploration of the others, so by the time I was all set up I was pretty hungry. I also wanted to eat and clean up as quickly as possible as I had every intention of paddling up the river for sunset and looking for moose before dark.
I was making a somewhat new pasta tonight for dinner and I was pretty excited for it. The pasta would involve cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh green onions, rehydrated mushrooms, prosciutto and angle hair pasta, tossed in olive oil and mushroom juice (from rehydrating). I will be posting a video on my Camper Christina Cooks channel on youtube with the full process.
Dinner turned out amazing and was so delicious. I was equally impressed that it was just the right amount, not too much, not too little and I was sufficiently satisfied with it. I cleaned up quickly as the sun was starting to drop behind the trees already where I was. I put everything away, locked my bear vault and put it in the forest and jumped in the kayak to head down the Tim River.
I enjoyed the paddle on the river. It was peaceful and calm and mirror. One part of it was ridiculously full of bugs and I put my head net on (i already had my shirt and pants on from earlier) but the rest had a very light wind and with me paddling as well to create a bit more, it was sufficient to keep them from pestering me too much.
Eventually the sky started to darken and I headed back towards my site.
I got back to my site as it started to get dark and almost stepped on this little guy on the way up the path to camp.
I was getting ready for bed, when i started seeing lights on the lake, being shone all over the place, on the shore, out in the water. In combination with the lights were people talking and arguing in another language and loud paddling sounds. They eventually passed my site and continued into the small bay to my right, which I knew was a dead end. At this point, I was fairly certain they were lost so I walked down to the waters edge with my light and asked them if they needed help. They did, indeed. They had gotten out too late and couldn’t find the campsites because it was so dark. I told them were the other 2 sites were that I had checked out earlier and flashed my light along the shore to direct them. They didn’t quite seem to understand at first but I kept at it and eventually they turned around and went where I showed them.
I went back up to camp and continued changing my clothing and putting items away for the night. Every so often I would take a peek down the lake and see their lights shining, getting closer and closer to the sites. Finally I heard a loud YAY! and they all cheered. I went down to the shore and flashed my light and cheered back and said way to go, they yelled thank you and I headed back up to camp and headed to bed, glad they were safe and off the water for the night.
Five am came quickly and I was so tired when I got up. I went to the privy, changed my clothes, packed a few things and got in my kayak, which by then was lit up with the beautiful colors of the morning sky.
I paddled towards the rising sun, which was also the direction of the river and hopefully a moose for me to see. It was so early and the Tim was known for moose so I felt like I should be rewarded. This was now my 3rd time paddling the river, once in the fall in 2016, once last night, and now this morning. Still no moose and I was getting frustrated, but I was still hopeful.
The sky was incredible and every time I turned a corner and received a new backdrop, I would take another photo and video, certain the new view was better than the last. I paddled quietly with my eyes scanning everywhere, the trees, the water, the shore, the sky, repeating once again, ‘here moosey moosey’ over and over under my breath.
I paddled through the narrow opening ahead and just as I came through into another open area, there it was. A MOOSE! I BIG HUGE BEAUTIFUL BULL MOOSE!! Was it really there? I imagined these moments over and over every time I’m out paddling, I see stumps, rocks, branches, etc all looking like animals at first, but then I realize it’s just something else, but this time….
It really, honestly and truly, was…. a MOOSE! I was elated and couldn’t decide what to do. It was still quite dark out and I was so far away from it. It was massive and honestly, I was a bit intimidated by the size of the creature. I definitely didn’t want to get close to it but I also wanted a few pictures, a video, something to document my sighting. I fumbled with my zoon lens attachment for my phone and put it on, taking the photo below. I took a few videos which will be in my youtube video about the trip, but I thought the zoom lens wasn’t on right and was shaking with excitement so I removed it.
The moose clearly saw me and knew I was there so I paddled in the other direction away from it and turned my head. He didn’t buy it and decided it was time for it to go. REALLY? Noo, don’t go. but he slowly walked towards the shore and in seconds it was gone into the forest. I heard him tromping through, but he was out of sight.
I sat staring ahead of me at the beautiful sunrise with a stupid grin on my face stretching from ear to ear. I saw a moose, I saw a moose, I saw a moose! Then I was mad, I didn’t get a good picture, shit! Oh well, I still saw it. LOL. The conversation continued as I paddled along enjoying the gorgeous colors of the sky, celebrating my achievement, elated I had gotten up when I did and came out, not caring that I was tired… I …. saw…. a … moose! 🙂
I paddled to the portage by the dam. It was short, just over a hundred metres and I considered carrying the delta to the other side to paddle further. My brain said, there is probably a moose there for sure, you should go.
My body said, you saw one, don’t be greedy, you’re exhausted and you don’t need to carry that kayak over the portage and back before breakfast. Don’t be silly. I walked to portage to check it out as it had been almost 2 years since I’d been on it. When I got to the end, I remembered how steep and challenging it had been to bring my small kayak over it.
NOPE, wasn’t doing it. Not today. I would wait for the canoe. Next time. I turned around and walked back to the other side where my kayak was.
To my surprise, a beaver was there also, swimming along right in front of me, then towards me, then in another direction. If I knew beavers drank, I would’ve thought it was smashed the way it was swimming. Then it dunked itself under the water with a big splash of it’s tail and disappeared. Wildlife sighting two, check!
My stomach was growling and it was past seven. I usually ate breakfast every day at 6:30 so it was time to head back and get some food in my belly. I took my time paddling back as the sky was still showing off for me and I was loving it with the mirror water. Animal sighting #3 above, does it count, I think so!
I took as many photos and videos as I could as my eyes were drunk with the beauty. When I got back to where my site was, I heard the loons calling again. This lake really should be renamed Loon Lake. I heard loons at least once every hour that I had been here, during the day, the night, the morning, loons loons loons. It was fabulous and I was loving it.
I paddled around the corner towards the bay and found a cute little loon family, a mom, a dad and two wee baby loons. They were adorable and I sat in my kayak watching them for a bit, taking some videos of their calls and almost playing with them. One loon kept disappearing under the water and popping up right next to my boat and scaring me. I was laughing and it was calling and then it would disappear, pop up somewhere else, then come back again. Those crazy loons!
Eventually, I tore myself away and went back to my site and got my gear out to make breakfast.
Today I was having hot chocolate with a splash of baileys and oatmeal with rehydrated strawberries and apples in it. I had a tonne of the fruit too so it was extra yummy.
After breakfast I slowly started to get myself ready for the day and pack up my site, but it still only took a short amount of time to complete. By 9:20 I was all ready to go. That’s what happens when you get up at 5am I guess?
My plan was to go to the other side of the island and do some fishing as the map said there were fish there (lol). Then I would very very slowly paddle down the creek to the take out, hoping to see another moose.
I did some fishing but didn’t even get the slightest nibble. I am not a super patient person so after about 15 casts, that was it for me. It was also very windy and the wind at the moment was pushing me sideways so I had to paddle to keep moving in the right direction. Meh, I couldn’t be bothered, so I put my rod away and paddled towards the creek to the take out.
Once I made it to the creek, I was a happy paddler. The wind was at my back! It was a rare thing that didn’t happen often for me so I took full advantage. I used a stern rudder and just directed my boat in the right direction and let the wind do the work, barely paddling at all the entire way back.
I looked and looked but no moose were out and about. The weather wasn’t looking so nice either and I was partially glad I was on my way out. The winds continued to increase and the sky was gloomy. It looked like a storm was on the way, which was fine by me, because I was heading to the Parry Sound Home Depot to get supplies for home reno’s and heading home after that to work on my house.
Before I knew it, it was 11am and I was back at the put in, where I had just been 18 hours before. I still felt like I had been gone for days, I saw so much, experienced so much and it all happened in only 18 hours. Just goes to show you, you don’t have to be away for a long period of time to make it count.
When I first decided to go on the trip, I thought it would be too short and a waste of time to bother with it, but I was so very wrong and I was incredibly happy that I went through with it. The reason I moved to Muskoka was to be close to these types of areas so that I am able to do whatever I can, whenever I can, and if that means driving 2 hours each way to go on an 18 hour adventure, so be it. I mean, if I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have seen that moose right, or the beaver, or the loons, or the frog, or that sunrise, or, or, or…. LOL
I hope you enjoyed my adventure on the Tim and it inspires you to get outside, however, whenever, where ever you can. If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, leave a message Due to my house renovations, I may do a few more short trips like this in the near future, but I also have some bigger trips coming up as well, so I hope you come back and check them out. If you are a video watcher, please tune in to my youtube channel, click the link on the right side of the page and check out the videos that go with the posts. Thanks so much for stopping by.
I saw a moose!!! LOL