Canoe Trip in Killarney Provincial Park
I've heard many stories from my sons about the beauty of Killarney Provincial Park, located 4.5 hours north of Toronto. They both went there on canoe trips for several days with their camp, Camp Ramah in Canada.
I decided last year, after my youngest son passed away, that I wanted to experience the beauty and spirituality of this park the way he did. I set this as my goal for the summer and asked my oldest son and two close cousins, who are experienced campers, if they would join me on this journey. Luckily they happily agreed.
I have to admit that as the trip approached I was quite nervous. I've never been on a canoe trip before and this seemed way out of my comfort zone. I was worried about bears, getting soaked in the rain, getting blisters from paddling the canoe, having no cell phone reception and sleeping in a tent. But after purchasing a new tent and borrowing lots of equipment (thanks to several generous friends), we were on our way.
Killarney is known for its lush forests, pink granite, the La Cloche Mountains’ white quartzite ridges and over 50 exceptionally crystal clear, sapphire lakes set among woody hills. It is quiet, peaceful and the views are breathtaking.
We canoed over to our campsite and spent 3 nights in a lovely point on Carlyle Lake. We did day-trips which included a short portage and a swim in Ruth-Roy Lake, one of the clear lakes where you can see right down to the bottom.
We had beautiful views of Silver Peak Mountain, canoed through lily pads and paddled by families of loons. We bumped into a group of campers from Camp Ramah, which was very emotional and we felt was a sign from my son. The weather was glorious and the sun was shining everyday without a drop of rain.
Being in nature and completely disconnected from city life brought a certain tranquility to my soul. I was relaxed and none of the worries I had prior to the trip came to mind.
My sons always told me that the food on canoe trips is delicious and I think I would agree. Everything tastes better after a long day of canoeing. We lit bonfires every night, had a little gas stove-top and my cousin even had an espresso maker especially for camping! We ate eggs and sausages for breakfast, chilli, beans and potatoes baked in the fire for dinner, and of course had s'mores every night for dessert (roasted marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate).
Everything went smoothly and I felt proud for embarking on this adventure and going outside of my comfort zone. I'm so glad I got to experience this magical park the way my son did - we all felt his presence with us. I am grateful to my oldest son and cousins who helped make this happen.
Tips for camping trips
1. Protect yourself from mosquitos:
Bring bug spray with at least 30% Deet
Wear bug shirts with head coverings
Wear light-weight, loose, long sleeved pants and shirt (preferably quick-drying)
2. For safe drinking water:
Freeze bottles of water to keep your perishable foods cold and then you can drink the water when it melts
Buy purifying pills or drops to add to lake water
Buy a filtered pump
3. Plan your meals:
Purchase freeze-dried food packages to save space and weight
Pack lots of nuts
Pack mini cans of tuna for lunch - they're easy to carry and a good protein for day trips
Apples and clementines keep well
Potatoes keep well and taste delicious when wrapped in foil and cooked in the hot coals of a fire
Bring pancake mix that only requires water