Killarney

The Crack - Killarney - Winter Camp

The Crack - Killarney

The Crack - Killarney

SNAPSHOT:

  • Total Distance: 6 km (3 each way)
  • Trip Difficulty: Easy-Difficult (depending where you want to camp)
  • Number of Days: 2-3

It was a last minute trip that we decided to do in Killarney. Our initial weekend plans fell through, and we were eager to get out for another winter camping trip.

Noah, Andrew and I were going to be towing our blue sleds once again, and our friend Gary was going to be pulling a sled that he had built, that seemed to have a better construction.

We drove up Friday night after work pulling into the parking lot at George Lake at 11:00pm. Gary had driven up separately and was there when we arrived.  We shared a few drinks by the car while looking at the stars and planning our excursion. We had very rough plans that involved camping somewhere on route to “The Crack.”

We woke up at 8am and there was moisture on the insides of all of the windows. I guess squeezing 3 guys into a vehicle would do that. Needless to say none of us got the best sleep that night. Noah sleeping on the sleds, Andrew sleeping in a sitting position, and I had my feet wedged between the front two seats so I could stretch out while sitting in the back.

The office opened at 8:30am and I picked up the permits while the rest of the group boiled water for oatmeal and coffee. Noah and I had both recently bought new “Stick Stoves” that we were pretty keen to try out. These stoves basically give you a container to build a fire in using sticks so you don’t need to bring fuel with you.

Since the planning for the trip was fairly rushed, we managed to make a mistake on the meal prep, bringing only 8 packs of oatmeal for the 4 of us. This had to last two breakfasts! I think Gary was starting to question his decision to leave the meals up to us…luckily between all of the granola bars and jerky, we managed to get a bit of food in us that would hopefully get us to the top.

After we finished breakfast we drove the 7km down the road to the parking lot for “The Crack,” which is really not marked well at all.  There was only one other car in the parking lot, which is a lot different then when you come in the prime months and people are parked all the way out to the highway.

We loaded our sleds and set underway at 10am. We didn’t yet know exactly where we could camp but we knew we would figure it out as we went.

Starting the trek to The Crack

Starting the trek to The Crack

The first section of the trail is nothing too crazy. It is relatively flat for the first kilometer or so before it starts to climb up the mountain. Shortly after we passed over Kakakise Lake is where the real incline starts. This is where we decided to leave our sleds thinking that it might be too difficult to get the sleds up the hill.

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We packed a few beers and some lunch and began our hike. Noah, Andrew and I used our snowshoes for the first section of the climb and it seemed to help in some areas. Gary was doing well trekking on with just his pair of boots leaving his snowshoes behind with his sled.

The climb to the top of The Crack really does not take too long. It seemed to go by very quickly but I find I am easily distracted on these hikes that have such beautiful views.

The view from the top is absolutely stunning. Being in the same spot in the fall, it was nice to be able to see it in a different season. We had lunch and a beer and continued hiking past the top section of The Crack. Gary was familiar with 3 other smaller lakes that he was interested in checking out.

The top of The Crack with frozen lakes

The top of The Crack with frozen lakes

The hike continued for another kilometer or so before we arrived at the first of the small lakes, Little Superior Lake. The hike along the ridge offers many scenic views over the lakes that are below. It is worth the hike back if you have the time to do so.

At this point it was around 3pm, and knowing that Noah, Andrew and I had to set up a tarp to sleep under, as well as gather wood for the night, we opted to make this our turn around point. Gary continued on to check out the other lakes, which he assured us we missed out on.

For those who are familiar with the trail, the very first of the incline sections is one of the most difficult sections of the hike. It is steep, you need to watch your footing, and there are not many flat sections to give you a break. This section takes you up and into the forest that is on the same level as Kidney Lake.

We had made Gary a deal that if we were to carry his sled up for him, he would accept the new location to set up camp at the top of the first steep section. The spot at the bottom where we had left our sleds did not offer much privacy from the trail or much protection from the wind. Also we were really keen to set up in the forest by Kidney Lake.

Dragging 4 sleds up a steep incline is no easy matter. Breaks were taken frequently but it still didn’t save the sleds any damage. Once we got our first 3 up, Noah and I climbed back down to grab Gary’s sled, which we chose to carry on our shoulders to keep it in one piece.

Feeling pretty warm in our cold tent

Feeling pretty warm in our cold tent

The next few hours were spent doing what we like best, setting up our tarps and sleeping bags, as well as processing all the wood we would need for the night. Dinner that night consisted of Chilli and Sausages. It was nice to have a solid meal after a hard days work.

We watched the sun set over Kidney Lake with The Crack in the background. We had seen another gentleman who was climbing to the top of The Crack to camp for the night to get some photos. We could see his headlamp as he walked around the rocks up top that night.

Sharing some drinks and good stories around the fire before we settled in for the night. Gary had brought some southern comfort with him to share and we think it will be a staple on our trips going forward. This was Andrew’s first experience sleeping under a tarp and he was pretty excited to give it a go. Once again we made a fire close to our heads as a nice way to fall asleep.

The morning had arrived quickly for me. I think as soon as my head hit the pillow I passed out instantly. Andrew didn’t get as good of a sleep since he had injured his knee the day before and it kept him up that night.

The sun was shining and it was warm out! We loaded up our typical breakfast routine with coffee and oatmeal before tearing down our camp.

The hike back to the car could have been done in a t-shirt it was so warm out. We made great time leaving our site at 11:30am and getting to the parking lot at 1:00pm. We were camped at Kidney Lake so we didn’t have the full hike to do.

From the left - Gary Storr, Alex Traynor (front), Andrew Ansell, and Noah Booth

From the left - Gary Storr, Alex Traynor (front), Andrew Ansell, and Noah Booth

I think in the future we will need to backpack it, so that we can make it to the top to camp. It would be a cool experience to camp at the top of the mountain but maybe we will save that for Silver Peak next winter. That is one of the benefits of camping in the winter. Being able to camp anywhere really opens up some great options. Another successful camping trip all around, and I think Gary might even consider joining us again!

Nellie Lake Loop - Killarney Provincial Park

SNAPSHOT

Total Distance: 28km

Portages: 4

Longest Portage: 2100m

Total Portage Distance: 5500m (Approx.)

Portage Difficulty: Moderate (clear trails but lots of elevation)

Paddling Difficulty: Easy

Overall Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 2-3 days

It was time. I knew from the beginning of the summer that this was the year I was going to set out to do my first solo trip. Its funny that I had never done one before but I think I have just been lucky to have lots of good friends who also love camping! I have been on many trips and was confident I had the skills required to complete a solo trip, but it was the daunting thought of what it would be like to be alone in the woods that had held me back.

Most of the summer had passed and it was nearing September, which happened to also be the month that I would be turning 25. Friends asking what I wanted to do for my birthday this year might have been a little taken back when I expressed my interest in spending my 25th birthday alone in the woods, however, I think many campers will understand how exciting this was for me.

The week before I was stressing out trying to find the perfect route for me to do this trip on. Kawartha Highlands was one of my ideas however the number of cottages and short distances of most of the routes was really not selling me for this weekend. Even though I do still want to do a trip there.

I happened to flip through my copy of Kevin Callan’s Top 50 Canoe Routes of Ontario and stumbled upon the Nellie Lake Loop. Total distance of 28km, 4 portages (3 being over 1.5km in length), a recommended time of 2-3 days, and located in the heart of the La Cloche mountain range…I was sold. It was the perfect route for this occasion. It was challenging yet I was confident that I could accomplish it.

I drove up late on Thursday night after having a birthday beer with a friend who has a birthday 3 days before mine. Hitting the road at 8pm with a 5 hour drive ahead of me, I had mixed feelings of nerves and excitement. This was one of the first times that I really had the feeling of being alone, while having no one to talk to on the drive up.

I arrived at the Widgawa Lodge around 1am. I had packed a beer to have once I arrived and I sat on the hood my car looking at the insane number of stars that you could see in the sky that night. As I had all my gear on one seat in my car and an empty trunk, I opted to fold down the other two back seats of my car and sleep in my trunk. Surprisingly more comfortable that you would think!

Day 1: Widgawa Lodge to Grace Lake

I was up at 7:30am so that I could drive down to the launch and be ready for 8am when the lodge opened. I apparently got lucky with booking the week before as normally Grace Lake is booked months in advance but someone had canceled last minute. I picked up my permit and launched my canoe on the river leading to Charlton Lake. The river was actually an awesome start to the trip. This would have been the second time I got the feeling of being alone. Each paddle stroke of mine being the only thing propelling the canoe forward. I was alone.

My paddle up Charlton Lake started with a mild headwind giving me a small taste of what was yet to come later in the trip. I was trolling a spoon as I usually do to see if I can catch any fish while on route to the first portage. There were a few cottages on Charlton Lake but as I got into Frood Lake there were less and less until I got to the portage where there were no cottages.

I arrived at the first portage at the end of Cranberry Bay for 1:10pm as I had taken my time on my way there. Mountains surround the final stretch of Cranberry Bay and you could start to see what the terrain was going to be like up ahead.  It was a little daunting as the first portage was 1.7km and it looked like it was going to be uphill. I started the portage at 1:20pm carrying everything on my back with my canoe on my shoulders. This portage marks a point about halfway where you officially enter into Killarney Provincial Park.

I was told that there was a dead moose on this portage but there was no sight of him when I walked the portage.  Likely removed by other animals at this point. I was able to do the portage all in 1 run, but had to take about 5 breaks on the way as all the weight was on my shoulders. I still managed to get to the other side by 2pm completing the 1.7km uphill portage in around 40 minutes.

The view on the other side of this portage was an instant reward for the long climb up. Grace Lake is completely surrounded by mountains and it was breath taking. I started paddling along the left shore weaving through the numerous small islands that also exist on this lake. I ended up taking the second campsite that is on the left side of the lake (#179 on the Killarney Map).

I was on my campsite by 2:30pm and due to the cloudy skies, spent the first hour setting up my camp so that it was rain proof.  Once the tent and tarps were set I got a fire going, had an early dinner, and made myself a whisky chai tea (a new staple on my trips). Dinner tonight was a dehydrated meal I had purchased from Sail as I did not have time to dehydrate the meals myself. The winds were consistently strong but the clouds didn’t seem to be changing very much. There were odd drops of rain here and there but nothing heavy and by this time I had my camp locked and loaded preparing for the storm.

I decided to take my chances at climbing one of the nearby mountains that was a short paddle west from my site along the same shore as the campsites. I started at the bottom of the rocky path up. It seemed as though anything that looked like rock was actually quartzite and almost resembled soapstone. The quartz is slippery to walk on when it is wet but it is absolutely stunning to look at and climb.

I slowly made my way up the mountain and it really only took me about 5-10 minutes to get to the top where the viewing point was incredible. Looking back you could see the mountain range lining Cranberry Bay where I had paddled earlier that day. This also included a view of the portage that I had done into Grace Lake, which really just looked like thick forest (below).

View of the mountains lining Cranberry Bay

Looking the opposite way was your view over Grace Lake. It was perfect even though it was cloudy. The entire lake was surrounded by mountains and had a system of islands that scattered the lake. I could have spent the entire day at the top so it was good that I had brought red wine with me!

View of Grace Lake

View of Grace Lake

With winds picking up even more, I opted to climb down the mountain and get ready for the storm to hit. As I paddled back to my site the rain started falling down and there was a beautiful fog over the forest. Once I got to the site the rain had stopped and it actually for a moment looked like the skies might be clearing up. There was a unusual yellow colour to the clouds as they looked like they were going to clear. This was not the case. Before I knew it the winds picked up stronger than ever. That night was difficult to sleep due to the high winds whipping my tarp causing loud cracks every few minutes.

Day 2: Grace Lake to Murray Lake

I was up a little later than I wanted to be getting out of my tent around 8am. It was a little chilly still with a light breeze. I made some oatmeal and coffee, which I had while packing up my site. I left around 10am to paddle the last bit of Grace Lake to arrive at the portage to NellieLake. This was another long uphill portage. At a little over 2km in length, I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy one. I took all my gear in one shot again taking breaks along my way. This one seemed to me more uphill than the last. I managed to finish this portage in an hour and I met a nice couple on the other side and chatted with them for a short while before going our separate ways.

Nellie Lake was beautiful. It was the brightest blue I had ever seen in a lake and it is apparently the clearest lake in Killarney being able to see the bottom in up to approximately 70ft of water. I only had a short paddle to get to the next portage. The sun had come out and I opted to use this as a chance to go for a quick swim before doing my last long portage of the trip into Murray Lake. This was supposed to be a portage that was primarily downhill which I was looking forward to, although apparently a steep downhill.

Within a couple hundred meters of starting the portage, you could see the trees open up on the left of the trail and it looked like another spot to hike up a mountain. I used this as a resting point and left my gear at the side of the trail while I went for a quick hike. Again only taking about 5 minutes to get to a great viewing spot where you had a vantage point of Nellie Lake in one direction, and the other had a view of the portage that I was on which was lined with mountains.

View of Nellie Lake

I continued the portage and eventually came across a waterfall on the right side of the portage. I once again used this as an opportunity to take a break. It looked like it might have more water passing through it earlier in the year, but as it was September the water levels were low.

I continued along the portage until arriving at Murray Lake. I was very thankful to be going the direction I was, as the portage was a steep downhill climb and having to do it the other way would not have been fun. I took a look at the site that was closest to the portage but opted to go to the other side of the lake to save myself the paddle in the morning.

I camped on site number (#212) and there was a nice large rock that went down the front of the site making it a great spot to swim. There were only 3 sites on the lake and they were all still available when I booked earlier that week. It was very clear once I was on the site that I was the only person on the lake. The silence was a little eerie at times but it was a cool feeling knowing I was completely alone. I set up camp and made some dinner. Again dinner was another dehydrated meal I had purchased but this was from a different brand than the last as I wanted to compare. They were both good meals considering they were dehydrated.

After dinner I decided to go fishing quickly as it was getting darker. This was the first lake I was allowed to fish on since being on Charlton Lake. Once the canoe had all my gear in it, I realized I was missing my paddle. As it was calm out I decided to leave the canoe untied while I ran to get the paddle. This was a bit of a mistake. Upon my return after only a few seconds away, my canoe had floated about 20ft away from the shoreline. Without much hesitation I jumped into the water to swim after it, even though I had opted not to swim earlier as it was a little cooler out that night. After the swim I really only had a few minutes to get a couple of casts in.

One of my first casts ended up bringing in a good size pike, which was lucky as I was not using a leader. After letting the fish go I called it on the fishing and packed it in for the night. I had a nice roaring fire going and sat around having some of the remaining wine while waiting for the stars to come out. Yet again the stars were out in full force and they lit the entire sky. I enjoyed them for a while before heading into the tent for the night. The winds were not blowing like the first night which made it completely silent on the lake. Once again a bit of a cool eerie feeling.

Day 3: Murray Lake to Widgawa Lodge - My Birthday

I set my alarm to wake up early to not only catch sunrise but also because I wanted to make it home in good time today. I was out of bed for 6am and it was just as dark as when I went to bed. I used my headlamp to start packing up my tent and gear. By about 7am I was having breakfast watching the sunrise. My mom had given me a birthday cake (really just a protein brownie bar) and a candle so that I could celebrate my birthday still. It was a cool feeling knowing this was my first solo trip and I got to do it on my 25th birthday. Talk about a memorable birthday!

I was on the water by about 8am. As I didn’t get much fishing in the day before, I wanted to ensure I got a few casts in on my way back to the launch. Turning the corner to go towards the river I started getting lots of hits. I pulled out 4 or 5 nice bass before continuing on my way. It was all catch and release at this point. I continued until reaching the 200m portage which was to be my very last portage of the trip. This was going to be a breeze after all the long portages I had already completed.

The river was a beautiful paddle and there was not another person in sight. Shortly after the last portage I came across a log cabin that said “The Powers Cabin” but there was no one there. I continued my paddle until arriving at a beaver dam which had a very short portage going around it. Although I wouldn’t usually expect a beaver dam to be marked I was surprised this one wasn’t as it actually had potage signs to go around it.

After the dam there was a long section of paddling through a windy river. After about 2km I reached the part where the river opened up into a swampy lake. At this point I could really feel the winds starting to pick up. It was difficult to get across the lake, which was only about 1km in length. Once arriving at the other side of the lake I found a spot along the left shore where I could pull over to have some lunch.

Departing from my lunch break I had a solid 8km left to paddle to get to the Widgawa Lodge where my car was parked. Little did I know what I was about to go through on Charlton Lake. I had heard that the winds could get pretty strong on this lake but I figured that either way I could handle whatever came my way. The main lake had a consistent headwind that was slowing down my canoe significantly. On top of this consistent wind was the occasional gust that would pickup and take my canoe whichever way it wanted. If I didn’t have my canoe perfectly straight it would take me on a complete ride and spin me in the opposite direction. The only way I could successfully keep the canoe straight was to kneel in the center of the canoe. After being spun around a few times I had to pull to shore to take a rest. Being along in this wind was a bit of a frustrating experience.

It took me a lot longer to get back to the launch than I had expected.  At 1:30pm I finally arrived back at Widgawa Lodge. Ending a trip is never fun but this time I needed it. The final paddle that I had across Charlton Lake exhausted me and I had nothing left. It was also a great feeling knowing that I had finally completed my first solo trip, and it could not have been in a cooler place.

Hiking The Crack and Silver Peak in Killarney

Silver Peak

Silver Peak

Trail Specs: Silver Peak

  • Access - Bell Lake, Johnny Lake (via Clearsilver lake), David Lake, and Boundary Lake (via portage to David Lake)

  • Length - 4km each way (8km round trip)

  • Time - Factor in 4-5 hours for the hike alone

  • Difficulty - Moderate-Difficult - The first portion of the hike from Bell Lake is very flat and covers about two thirds of the total hike. The final stretch is all uphill with many slippery rocks and tricky sections to navigate. Proper footwear is highly recommended 

  • Highlights - Highest point in Killarney with a full 360 degree view from the peak. Views of David Lake, Boundary Lake, Lake Panache, Georgian Bay, and you can even see Sudbury in the distance 

The Crack 

The Crack 

Trail Specs: The Crack

  • Access - The Crack parking lot (7km east of George Lake), 1.5km from Carlyle Lake. Also accessed by canoe from Carlyle Lake via portage to Kakakise Lake, and Killarney Lake (via what seems to be a difficult portage when it meets up with the trail to The Crack)
  • Length - 3km each way (6km round trip)
  • Time - Factor a minimum of 4 hours to complete the loop (can finish it faster if you are in good physical shape and don't get too lost in the view from the top...)
  • Difficulty - Difficult - The first section of the hike is flat for a good 1.5-2kms but the final 1-1.5kms is a steep climb up to the peak. Towards the very end there are large boulders that require good physical condition in order to get to the top. Proper footwear is required.
  • Highlights - The view from the top is stunning, looking out over the blue waters of Killarney Lake and O.S.A Lake. The top also features a great bird's-eye view of "The Crack" which is the final section of the trail where you are in a deep rock crevasse just before arriving at the peak 

 

I needed to do a post specifically on hiking the two famous trails in Killarney, Silver Peak and The Crack. I have wanted to do these hikes while on previous trips in Killarney, but unfortunately have not been able to find the time. Usually this was because we were on a tight schedule to make it to our next campsite. This time I was heading to Killarney to spend Thanksgiving weekend in a yurt on George Lake (luxury for what I am used to) and I had no excuses. It was the perfect time to get these two hikes in and I am definitely glad we did..

Saturday we set out early in the morning to do The Crack. We drove our car 7kms to the parking lot where we would start the hike. The beginning of this trail is very deceiving as it is very flat for the first 2kms, aside from the odd section with a small hill. But then the fun really starts! The final km of this hike is straight up the mountain, and there are parts that even the more experienced hiker would struggle with. You start by climbing the beautiful rock that Killarney is known so well for until you make it to the final section before hiking through the crack. This final section is littered with large boulders that require strategic path selection to minimize the effort required to pull yourself up to the next level. This continues for a solid 200m. We saw groups who had brought larger dogs out and they were really struggling to make the climb. Then you get to the Crack which features a large crevasse where the trail continues between two very tall rock walls (such a cool spot to hike through!). Shortly after the crack is where you come up to the spot you had been waiting for. This is the part worth every step you took on the way to the top, and will not disappoint. As seen in the photo above (and others below), you look out over Killarney and O.S.A Lake which is lined by the beautiful La Cloche mountain range. The top also has a spectacular bird's-eye view of The Crack which you walk through just before reaching the peak. Walking to the other side of the viewing area you have a great view over a vast forest which with the fall colours made it that much better. This is a bit of a difficult hike but one well worth doing.

Sunday morning was a cold one, and this morning we were going to be paddling Bell Lake to get to the start of the Silver Peak trail. The paddle is about 3km and takes about 45 minutes to get to the start. Bell Lake was really choppy Sunday morning which added a bit of time to our paddle but we made it without getting too wet or cold. The Silver Peak trail starts off very easy and flat, and was a really nice trail to hike in the fall with all the leaves. It continues this way for a little over 2kms. At this point there is a sharp left turn that instantly starts to climb up the side of the mountain. With little to no flat sections beyond this point you quickly gain elevation with every step you take. Within 30 minutes of starting the climb, we were already being teased with beautiful views through the trees of what was down below. The trail actually runs near a creek for a while and as a result creates numerous slippery sections you must be careful walking on. As you continue up the mountain there is a waterfall on the right side of the path which was a nice spot to take a break. Just when you think you are getting close to the peak, the trail takes a turn away from the edge and deeper into the forest to climb the mountain even higher. Finally you see a lot of large rock sections that you are required to navigate until you reach the very top. 

Arriving at the top you are instantly rewarded with a full 360 degree view of everything around you. Silver Peak is truly the highest point in Killarney and an excellent vantage point. One direction overlooks Boundary Lake, David Lake and Lake Panache with a very faint sight of the smoke stacks in Sudbury just visible in the distance. This will not ruin your view by any means as you can barely see the city. The other direction has a spectacular view that ends with Georgian Bay in the horizon. There are endless mountains in every direction you look. It is the perfect point to see lakes you may have done canoe trips on (we could see Harry Lake which we had done a trip on in the past), as well as the famous La Cloche mountain range.

Although The Crack was a spectacular view, Silver Peak blew us away (not just because it was windy up top). Both of these hikes are worth adding to your list if you have not done them yet. I was amazed by the view at the top of both. While in some ways I feel that The Crack had a nicer view of the lakes with the La Cloche mountain range, Silver Peak just seemed to have so much more to look at. We could have spent the entire day up there! Silver Peak requires more of a time commitment because not only is the trail longer but you also need to paddle to get there, and I would think that the average person might spend more time at the top of Silver Peak because each direction has something different to look at. 

Bell Lake - Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney is one of my new personal favourite places to camp of the Ontario Parks group. It features very unique scenery with large rounded white quartzite hills that dominate the landscape and straddle the La Cloche mountain rage. We did a 6 day, 5 night canoe trip launching from Bell Lake. Our nights were  spent, in order, on Bell Lake, Deacon Lake, Balsam Lake, Harry Lake, and again on Balsam Lake on our way back. Highlights from the trip can be found in the video below!

We arrived late on a Tuesday night and the park office stayed open an additional 20 minutes to wait for our arrival which was very nice of them. We had called to see how long they thought it would take us from Toronto as we had left late. Great group of guys who stay at a cabin across the lake and ran the park office at the Bell Lake launch (a job I wish I had). We had just enough time to get to a site that they happened to know was still available before dark.

Bell lake was a pretty open lake that had some boat traffic on it, however it did have a nice view of the La Cloche mountain range.  At the most north end of Three Mile Lake there is a 30m lift over into Balsam Lake that used to be used as a logging tramway. As you go through Three Mile Lake to get into Balsam Lake it begins to get more remote. Once you get into Balsam, there were many areas with heavy lily pad coverage and a few spots that proved to be very good for fishing!

There is a small lift over going from Balsam into Deacon Lake (seen at 1:45 in video). Deacon was not the greatest for swimming, it is a little bit swampy although we still forced ourselves to go for a quick dip. The fishing on this lake wasn't spectacular but we did have some luck with a few small mouth bass. I did catch a really small bass using a top water lure and you can watch him hit it at 1:32.  Balsam Lake however, had great swimming and fishing on it, and we were able to jump into the water from shore. From here we were able to do a day trip to David Lake which was absolutely beautiful. The portage from Balsam Lake into David Lake was only about 665m and made for a great day trip spot. Swimming was great and you should note that this is a lake that you cannot fish on. The clear blue water was amazing. You can see the cliff jumping in the video at 1:50.

Getting from Balsam Lake to Harry Lake can prove to be a bit difficult but is well worth it for the fishing and swimming. Along the northeastern shore of Balsam Lake is a heavy lily pad/marsh area that you must paddle along the left shore quite a ways before seeing the very hidden portage sign. At this point there is a 400m portage that will take you into Pike Lake. This lake proved fairly difficult to get through as it was very swampy. It seamed there were large floating piles of mud that we would frequently get caught on and would force us to have a very windy path to the end of the lake. Here there was another portage about 705m in length taking you into Harry Lake. If you are doing a trip to Harry Lake and back out to Balsam again, I would recommend trying to stay 2 nights. It was a lot of effort to get into this spot and we all wished we could have stayed longer as the fishing and swimming were amazing. While swimming off our island site we happened to have a massive snapping turtle join the party but he wasn't looking to come after us. The last section of my video shows the fishing on Harry Lake (2:06 - 2:25).

I would highly recommend a trip to Killarney. One thing that we were unable to do, but plan to do on our next trip would be to hike the La Cloche Mountains. There is a hike to a section called "Silver Peak" and another hike to "The Crack" that are both great hikes from what we have been told. This mountain range is over 3.5 billion years old and used to be higher than today's Rocky Mountains. Not quite as high anymore but it still offers a stunning view of Killarney Provincial Park.