Ken Whiting of Paddle Tales takes us along with him and his buddy on a 5-day canoe trip deep into Canada’s gorgeous Killarney Provincial Park.
Without a doubt one of the world’s best canoe tripping destinations, Killarney Provincial Park has it all: stunning wilderness scenery with forests, eastern mountains and crystal-clear lakes.
Here’s Part 1 of 5-Day Canoe Trip in Killarney: Brutal Portage…
Getting Over the 1,320-Meter Portage
Ken and his friend, James, outfitted their trip through Killarney Outfitters, including their food that’s already organized for the five days. The outfitting included a 30-mile boat ride where the two get dropped off so they could begin their trip in a more remote area than they would without the shuttle.
They began their trip with a beast of a portage infamously known as The Pig. This 1,320-meter uphill portage (about 262 rods in Boundary Waters language) was a tough way to start their five days, not only due to the distance, but their food barrel was at its heaviest.
They could’ve done two trips on The Pig, but decided to pack it all at once. Ken admits if he does it again he’ll take two trips for less weight so he doesn’t have to double pack!
They followed this first portage with an 11-kilometer paddle down the first lake to their campsite in time to grill their steak dinner.
The Backcountry Maze of Marshes, Creeks & Lakes
In Part 2 of Ken and James’ Killarney canoe adventure they tackle a backcountry maze that makes it even tougher than the long portage of Day 1. Navigating through the maze was quite a trick.
Marshland paddling has its own challenges, including narrows, shallows, forks and beaver dams that aren’t necessarily on the map. Keeping a close eye on the map is essential, and even then it’s easy to make mistakes.
The several portages it gave them practice deciding how to best get their gear over them with the least amount backtracking. Thankfully being a fall trip, bugs didn’t appear to be an issue.
Hike to Silver Peak and a 2-Mile Portage
This third video covers the two canoeists’ hike to the top of Silver Peak, the highest point in Killarney. To get there, though, they had to conquer the longest portage of their trip.
They double-packed their gear for this 2-miler (over 3,000 meters) so they could do it in one trip, making it heavy, but it would save them 4 miles of hiking. As with the rest of the portages, plenty of ups and downs were involved. They ended up being able to paddle their way along part of the portage to save themselves an hour’s worth of hiking.
Day 4 started early and cold for their paddle that would take them to the trailhead to Silver Peak. After a 3-mile hike they reached the summit for a spectacular view of the surrounding region. They were especially glad to do the hike without their canoe and gear!
“As I get older I find myself more appreciative of every trip that I get to share with friends and family, and more saddened when they come to an end,” Ken muses.
All in all, another successful canoe trip!
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