Killarney Provincial Park in November?

Yes, we went to Killarney Provincial Park in November. November 1st to be exact.
This trip was to be the sequel to our canoe trip two years ago. But, this one was a bit different. First of all, Mr. Gossamer Gear could not attend due to illness. We were sad. Second difference was that we were going to home base at a yurt. Then, possibly do an overnight in the back country.
We set out Nov 1 from Ottawa. On the road, on schedule at 7:30 a.m. (Yay us!). Mr. Rogaine was traveling down from Timmins so he got to sleep in. By the time we got to Pembroke, there was snow, but the roads were bare. Drive up was uneventful. I was in my truck with Mr. Clark, while Mr. Syrup was in his Jeep.
This is what it looked like on the road to the Park.

Arriving at Killarney

Arriving at Killarney

We arrived at around 2:30, checked in and unloaded to the yurt. I busily set up my hammock (Warbonnet Ridge Runner) while the other guys went for a hike (intending to get to Acid Lake).

Hammock setup

Hammock setup

Hammock setup

Hammock setup

The first day saw heated debate about the agenda for the next few days. In the end we decided to do two distinct paddle / hike days. This turned out to be a good call.

November 2, 2014: The Crack
The overnight temp on the 1st was -5.7 C (See my gear list below). I was the only one that slept outside.

Frosty Tarp

Frosty Tarp

Frosty Tarp

Frosty Tarp

My frozen iPhone said it needed to cool down.

My frozen iPhone said it needed to cool down.

We got up, had breakfast and got a later than expected start on the day’s adventure. By the time we left, it was above 0 C. It was an easy paddle across George Lake to the portage to Freeland Lake. There was an unpleasant surprise on Freeland Lake. ICE! It was pretty thin at the put in. Mr. Syrup and I were in his Kevlar canoe so we went around the ice while Mr. Rogaine and Mr. Clark plowed through as best they could in Mr. R.’s Royalite canoe.
At the end of Freeland we hoped to be able to paddle Kakakise Creek. But nope. Couldn’t get close to the portage as the ice was about an inch thick. We managed to make a path through the ice to shore, but nowhere near the portage. We set out through the bush from there. Note: I forgot my SPOT, so I don’t have a trace of the route. If you look at Jeff’s Map, we basically did the Freeland Lake to Kakakise Lake Portage and then the hike to The Crack with an extra chunk at the beginning.

We (at least Mr. Syrup and I) had agreed that our turnaround time was 2:00. Just before 2:00 my knees told me to stop climbing so I turned back to the gear drop site. Mr. Syrup was a few minutes behind me. He and I never made “The Crack”. Mr. Clark had my camera and took some pictures. Mr. Syrup and I arrive back at the canoes at ~3:30. We had agreed that the others would be back by 4:00 or we would head out. At around 3:45 we could hear Mr. Clark’s encouraging words through the woods so we loaded into the canoe and set course into the wind back to the George Lake. We completed the 5.5 km paddle with mini portage just before sunset. The other team arrived back at the beach a little later.

Evening Meal was some awesome Chili Mr. Syrup had made. Lovely night in my hammock with a low temp just above freezing.

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George Lake looking like glass

George Lake looking like glass

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Hiking along Kakakise Creek (frozen)

Approaching Sealey Lake

Approaching Sealey Lake

Sealey Lake

Sealey Lake

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Near the top of The Crack

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The Crack

The Crack

The Crack

View from The Crack

View from The Crack

View from The Crack

View from The Crack

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Hiking back from The Crack

Mr. Clarke paddling into the sunset

Mr. Clark paddling into the sunset

Mr. Clarke paddling into the sunset

Mr. Clark paddling into the sunset

Paddling at sunset makes for pretty pictures.

Paddling at sunset makes for pretty pictures.

More sunset

More sunset

The ice was THIS thick

The ice was THIS thick

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This is where we left the boats on Freeland Lake

This is where we left the boats on Freeland Lake

Ice at the east end of Freeland Lake

Ice at the east end of Freeland Lake

George Lake

George Lake

Looking back at George Lake

Looking back at George Lake

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It doesn’t look warm back there

At the end of George Lake

At the east end of George Lake

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Paddling on George Lake

Breaking through the ice

Breaking through the ice

Ice on Freeland Lake

Ice on Freeland Lake. The portage is about mid frame (near the snow).

Beach at George Lake

Beach at George Lake

November 3, 2014: The unsanctioned portage to OSA Lake
Some of the guys at work had told me that OSA Lake is a must see. There was a problem. The traditional route would take us back through frozen Freeland Lake. Because we used Jeff’s Maps and even bought some, we knew of the unsanctioned portage from George Lake to OSA. Our mission became try that portage. It was a traditional tardy start after a big breakfast. The paddle across George Lake was beautiful and uneventful. We mixed up the canoe pairings. I was with Mr. Clark and Mr. Syrup and Mr. Rogaine were in the other boat. We found the portage. Someone had kindly left marking tape for most of the portage. We agreed that we would leave the canoes at George Lake and hike the portage first. If it was easy, and we felt so inclined (pun) we would head back and get the canoes. We never made it to OSA. At the summit of the portage there was a really neat rock fall. Mr. Clark and Mr. Rogaine scampered up the rock fall and beckoned us to join them. Glad they did. The GoPro video (unpublished) confirms that it took me less than 5 minutes to climb up the rock fall. It was an amazing view. We had a lovely picnic while some of us (not me) explored the higher elevations of the outcrop. Mr. Clark had a hammock and he set it up for a brief relax. Dang, I had a newly crafted gear hammock / hammock chair that I should have brought. After about 1.5 hours of R&R we started the return journey to the campsite. We switched canoe partners again and I was re-united with Mr. Syrup. It was a beautiful paddle into the wind followed by complete calm in the George Lake bay. I took this picture.

Because it was supposed to rain significantly and was not going straight home after the trip, I decided to pack up my hammock and move into the yurt. I missed my hammock that night.

Evening meal was incredible again. Pasta with Tomato sauce, onions, garlic and leftover steak. I must say, Mr. Syrup plans and executes an awesome meal plan!

On the first two nights all of the yurts were occupied. On the last night, it was just us. It’s pretty cool to be the only people in a provincial park.

We packed up all of the non-essential gear to make the departure easier the next morning.

Hiking the unsanctioned portage

Hiking the unsanctioned portage

Hiking the unsanctioned portage.  The rockfall is on the right.

Hiking the unsanctioned portage. The rockfall is on the right.

View of OSA from the rockfall

View of OSA from the rockfall

OSA from the rockfall

OSA from the rockfall

Selfie on the rockfall.  Because the world needs more selfies.

Selfie on the rockfall. Because the world needs more selfies.

Relax time on the rockfall

Relax time on the rockfall

Hammock on the rockfall

Hammock on the rockfall

My new hiking boots

My new hiking boots

Beach at George Lake as sunset approaches

Beach at George Lake as sunset approaches

Chikanishing River

Chikanishing River

I must go back to Killarney. Maybe not quite so late in the year 🙂

Partial Gear List:

  • Hammock Related
    • Warbonnet RidgeRunner (no net)
    • Warbonnet SpinDrift hammock sock (always installed on this WBRR)
    • Warbonnet Lynx full length 3 season underquilt  (brand new!)
    • HammockGear Burrow 20 Top Quilt
    • Warbonnet Cloudburst Tarp
      • home made Lash-it self tensioning lines
  • Sleeping Warm on the coldest night
    • IceBreaker 260 weight Merino wool LJ’s
    • Minus 33 Merino wool shirt
    • IceBreaker Merino wool socks (need heavier socks)
    • Chemical hand warmers in the socks
    • MEC 200 weight polar fleece
    • Fleece balaclava from Coscto
    • Home made down beanie
    • Down sleeves from a JC Penny puffer jacket
    • Thermalite Reactor +8
  • Other new / noteworthy gear
    • Solomon Quest 4D GTX hiking boots

Endorsements (not paid):

I use and love all things Warbonnet Outdoors, Dutchware Gear.  I only have one item from Hammock Gear but it is perfect.  Those Soloman Quest boots were totally awesome (note, I bought mine at Bushtakah as MEC did not have my size – and it took 45 minutes to get assistance at MEC).  Not a single blister nor hot spot. Jeff’s Map was wow. Just buy the maps!  They are now carried by MEC now too.