My Huckleberry Friend, Moon River, & Me

June 11-12, 2016

Moon River Loop via Kapikog and Healey Lakes

It’s that time of year again, folks, when I decide to go camping on a whim and search out a gnarly weekend route with little to no notice or planning. Freaks Andrew out every time. Maybe he was right to worry: The route I chose was roughly 30km long, we both left work at 21:30 the night before, we had to pack everything and pick up our canoe on the Saturday morning, and I had only procured the map from Brad over at Explore the Backcountry a day ahead of time. [It’s a great map, and I would love to share it with you wonderful people, but as it is yet to be published I must refrain from showing you the details of the route we took through Muskoka’s Georgian Bay cottage country region and down the lower third of the Moon River, and trust that my photos and descriptions of the area will be enough for you INSATIABLE trip report readers who have been BADGERING me non-stop to write up this little story for you. Well, this paragraph has taken a strange turn. Where was I?]


kapikog lake, wild muskoka

Ah, yes. The Moon River. I chose this route for several reasons:

1.Reasonable drive from our home on the shores of polluted Lake Ontario in Toronto

ii) Could turn a river trip into a loop and thus avoid annoyance of organizing shuttle

three: Our friends have a cottage on one of the lakes we would be paddling through

and d) We had a map.

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Ice Out!

May 7th-8th, 2016

Backcountry openings for Algonquin Park were delayed twice this spring due to lingering ice. Considering the mild winter this year, we were expecting an early ice-out, but cool temperatures and a late freeze-up meant we were anxiously awaiting the paddling season opener. The original opening date of April 22nd was pushed back to April 29th, and then again to May 4th. Finally, the park’s canoe-in sites were available, and we made plans to meet up with a couple other people to celebrate springtime.


after the portage between canoe and joe lakes

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Snowed In, Late November, Algonquin Park

november 20th-22nd, 2015


saturday morning, rain lake access point, algonquin park

After our trip to the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park in October, I didn’t feel as if we had given our canoe a proper farewell for the season, so after a few weekends of working and staying in the city, we planned on one last canoeing adventure before we became landlocked for the winter. I decided on a relatively easy trip to the Rain Lake access point in Algonquin, where we wouldn’t have to deal with big lake crossings or strenuous portages. Really, we just wanted an easy escape for the weekend where not much could go wrong. Oh, how false my predictions proved to be!
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October in the Kawartha Highlands (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rain)

october 24th-25th, 2015


getting soggy on wolf lake, kawartha highlands provincial park

The title of this report is a bit of a misnomer. It wasn’t so much that I was worried about the rain itself; it was more that I was worried about how Andrew would react to a proposed late-season weekend canoe trip when the weather forecast was calling for rain, and lots of it, the Saturday we intended to set out. Poor conditions tend to make him crotchety, but I had just finished a really lousy week at work and wasn’t about to let a bit of rain stop me from getting my Nature Time. As we drove north from Toronto under a steady downpour, I obsessively hit ‘refresh’ on my weather app, and, with a heaping spoonful of optimism, informed Andrew that it couldn’t rain all day, the showers would be localized, and if we waited for perfect weather we would never get outside. As luck would have it, the rain stopped as we reached the Wolf Lake access point and loaded our gear into the canoe.

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Campfire Baked Apples

a tasty autumn treat. just look at that oozing butter!

a tasty autumn treat. just look at that oozing butter!

Here’s another use for the delicious spiced compound butter detailed in my Hot Buttered Rum recipe. We ate these for breakfast on our most recent outing, but they make an equally good dessert, especially for cold-weather camping. The butter, prepared at home, is the most fiddly step of the process. The apples themselves can be assembled in just a few minutes, and require about 20 minutes of baking over a campfire.

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Hot Buttered Rum

It's rainy, it's cold. Butter will keep you warm.

It’s rainy, it’s cold. Butter will keep you warm.

Is there anything better than booze, apple cider, and butter, all in one mug?

No. No, there isn’t, especially when it’s cold and damp outside. For cold-weather camping, you need a lot of extra calories to sustain you and keep you warm during the night. This libation does just the trick! The recipe is a bit involved, and requires lots of at-home prep work, but once you’ve made your butter you can keep it in the freezer, ready to go for your next adventure.

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Grilled Halloumi Kebabs


cheese that’s ooey-gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside? yes, please

This is one of our signature camping meals. We first made it several years ago and have been including it on trip menus ever since. It’s a good way to get in some fresh vegetables during the first few days of an extended backcountry trip, and an excellent use for that squashed loaf of bread that’s going a bit stale on the third or fourth day. If you leave out the bread, the ingredients will last at least a week without refrigeration. Nothing like grilled vegetables on day seven!

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Haliburton Highlands Water Trails, Part 2

nunikani lake (direct, no loop) november 1st-2nd, 2014


a bit of snow doesn’t scare me away from camping!

A little over a month after we first visited Haliburton Highlands’ Frost Centre, we went back for our final canoe trip of the season. Our brand new Ostrom canoe packs had just arrived in the mail, and we wanted to test them out before the lakes were iced over. Heading out for just one night with giant packs sure had its advantages: we were able to bring along extra blankets, butt-warming hunting cushions, extra dry bags full of warm clothes, and winter parkas. Continue reading

Haliburton Highlands Water Trails, Part 1

the nunikani lake loop, september 27th-28th, 2014


big hawk lake, frost centre

Finding a weekend backcountry trip is usually pretty easy for us. Most of our trip ideas have come from Kevin Callan’s book Top 50 Canoe Routes of Ontario, and this route was no different. After briefly thumbing the pages for the millionth time, we decided to check out the “Nunikani Lake Loop” in Haliburton Highlands’ Frost Centre. Booking a reservation online was very similar to using the Ontario Parks website, except instead of picking up a permit at an access point, we could just print off the booking and go.

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Two Weeks in Temagami


our progress using InReach and MapShare (until the loop abruptly ends when we ran out of power between lower matagamasi lake and karl falls. we have diplomatically decided that we are equally to blame for this, but really, it was Andrew’s fault).

the story of a magical 200+km canoe journey through time and space

(also known as that time tierney & andrew & the happy adventure went on a long, strange trip through the chiniguchi and sturgeon river waterways, temagami region, august 5th – 18th 2015)

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