Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Camping in Killarney

Tara and I spent the first half of last week at Killarney Provincial Park.It was the first time either one of us had been to the park. The park is just south of Sudbury and just north of French River Provincial Park; about 5 and a half hours from the KW region. It's a fairly new park, only 45 years old. The Group of Seven petitioned the provincial government to set the park aside and protect it from logging and development. It truly is breathtakingly beautiful.

I've been car camping at a number of provincial parks and this is one of the best. The campsites and trails were clean, the underbrush not trampled down and the park staff very friendly and helpful. I give it two thumbs up.

The weather was great while we were there. Highs of 28-30 and sunny all week. The nights were a little warm, but nothing we couldn't deal with.

There was a fair amount of wildlife in the park. We saw a few foxes (one with a chipmunk in her mouth) and a couple of bears (one a little too close for comfort - 15 feet and startled, but I think he was more afraid of us than visversa). Lots of chipmunks, squirrels, and woodpeckers. Oh ya, and raccoons.

Embarrassing story: I stayed up late one night to try to get some star photos. Only the sun doesn't really set and get completely dark at the end of June in the park until well after 11:00. So I'm sitting on a rock face with my camera by myself, the day we saw a bear up close, and I start hearing rustling in the the bush behind me. I flip on the flashlight and it's just racoons with their tiny reflective eyes, watching me. I turn the flashlight off. Two minutes later I hear more rustling. I turn on the flashlight again and all I saw are the eyes. The smart part of my brain knew I was safe, but the stupid part of my brain didn't think so. I got one 14 minute exposure and I high-tailed it back to the safety of my tent. That was the last clear night of the trip.

Our only problem was the bugs. There were a lot of bugs. Blackflies, mosquitoes, deerflies, and horseflies were out and hungry like I haven't seen in a while. They forced us to wear our bug jackets all the time, except for in the noon sun, at the top of a hill or in the middle of the lake. Both Tara and I had countless bites all over; Tara suffering more than I. When we go back to Killarney, it will be in the fall or very early spring, when the bugs are happily sleeping.

We rented a canoe and had a easy paddle around George Lake. The lakes in the park suffered from the acid rain in the late 80's (the park is downwind of Sudbury and it's smelters). They are just coming back to life now, but are still pretty clear. We tried fishing on George Lake, but only caught a couple of large-mouth bass (out-of-season unfortunately). They are trying very hard to rehabilitate the lakes - maybe in another 10 years the fishing will be better.

We went on a couple of really nice hikes. Both the Chikanishing Trail and the Granite Ridge Trail are not to be missed. The trails themselves aren't too difficult (if you take your time) and the scenery at the end of these trails is simply breathtaking.

If you do end up going to the park, you must make the trip into the town of Killarney for the fish and chips. At the end of the hwy 637 there is a fish stand with the most incredible pickerel I've tasted. Trust me and make the trip - you won't forget it.

Like I said, I think we will head back to the park in the fall (not this year -maybe next). I hope this review encourages you to as well.

-- Click on the photos for more detail. --
-- Watch this space or my flickr page. I'll be posting more photos soon - I tool a roll and a half with my trusty FM10. Hopefully at least one of them turned out. --


Carolyn said...

I have also been spooked out of taking night shots. Not because there was noise, but be cause it was too quiet.

I like the picture of the raccoon.

Bonnie said...

I went to Killarney for field camp, where part of what we were studying was the recovery of the lakes, something I studied a lot at Laurentian. I didn't have a good camera yet when I was there, and I keep meaning to go back but it hasn't happened yet.

Our class went to the bar in Killarney one night but one of my friends didn't bring her ID (although it probably wouldn't have mattered) so we stayed back. Went down to the beach and got to see the northern lights, which was pretty awesome.

Did you hike up to the crack? That was really nice, but I may want to check out some of the other trails when I finally make it back there again.

Richard Siemens said...

We didn't hike up to the crack. Maybe next time we are there we'll do that; I hear it a nice hike in the fall.