Earlier in August, I had the opportunity to take an extended backpacking trip to Killarney Provincial Park. Our plan was to hike the approximately 80km La Cloche Silhouette Trail over a moderate 8 days. This was the longest backpacking trip I had been on and I was really looking forward to it.
5 of us drove up the Saturday of the long weekend, getting an early start to the day. After a quick breakfast stop just outside of Toronto, and a fuel up in Parry Sound, we arrived shortly after noon to get our permits, and eat some lunch just at the trailhead.
Preparation was the key for this trip including reading up on trail reports, dehydrating our food, and getting all of our equipment together. In terms of shared gear, we took two tents (a two man North Face tent, and another 3 man tent), two burners, two pots, plenty of fuel canisters (there was a fire ban up until the day we arrived at the park), matches, and rope.
Food prep took the longest time as we knew we would have to carry everything in. Since we like to eat well (really well actually) while in the backcountry, but also didn’t want to have 60+ pounds per person, we turned to my trusty dehydrator and the book Backpack Gourmet for our meal guide. We selected the recipes that appealed to us the most, cooked them several weeks in advance, and then dehydrated them for the trail. Some of the highlights from our meals included Breakfast Grits, Bacon and Eggs for breakfast, Crab Gumbo Chowder for lunch, Fettuccini with Parsley Mint Sauce for dinner, and Karen’s Oatmeal Breakfast Cake for snacks among many other meals.
The hike through the backcountry was by far the most rewarding part of the trip. We were treated to stunning views of Northern Ontario, a very diverse and rugged terrain, beautiful weather (for the most part), and excellent company. We hardly ran into any other hikers and pretty much enjoyed the fresh water lakes, clean air, and serene countryside to ourselves. Some of the highlights of the hike included cliff jumping into crystal clear azure blue water, seeing a mother moose and her two baby moose crossing the road on the drive in, losing the car keys in the back country, cooling off in the waterfall, and of course the satisfaction of completing the trail.
I don’t think any of us trained explicitly for this trip, though we had been keeping our fitness up throughout the summer. The terrain was tricky in many areas, with slippery rocks, steep inclines and declines, and the physical nature of hiking that took its toll on our bodies. Thankfully, no one got injured more than a sprained ankle and some sore knee joints that should heal with time and rest.
One of the things I love most about camping in Ontario is the abundance of fresh water lakes, and the ability to swim in some beautiful lakes. Whether it is a quick dip in the morning before breakfast, a relaxing swim after a hard day’s hike, or a mid day interlude, the lakes here provide some of the best ways to relax and refresh during a getaway from the city.
For additional pictures, see my Killarney Photo Gallery.