2014 SUP Camping Trip: What to pack

I learned a thing or two last year on my 1st SUP camping trip, or at least I hope I did. What to pack, what to wear, where I could camp, how far I could go in a day, how much food I needed etc.

For a SUP camping trip, or canoe/kayak trip for that matter,  you’re going to need quite a bit of stuff.  I’ll break it down into some categories:

Equipment – the obvious stuff 1st:

  • SUP
  • Paddle
  • PFD/lifejacket
  • throw/tow rope
  • Waterproof bag or Barrel
  • Sleep system (I go with a the Mosquito Hammock) and sleeping bag
  • Topo map (in a waterproof case)
  • Compass

SUP and gear, all ready to go!


  • Pot, as in a pot, not some pot, but I’ll leave that up to you
  • Stove – I use the Bushbuddy wood burning stove (or cook directly over the campfire)  It doesn’t charge your phone or make frozen yogurt, but a few sticks will cook your meal, so you will never run out of fuel, not around here anyways.
  • Steel wool (for scrubbing pots/dishes)
  • Campsuds
  • Utensils (I just bring a spoon, but it will depend on what you’re cooking)
  • Bowl – or eat out of the pot?
  • Coffee mug
  • Water bottle
  • Water purifier/filter/steripen
  • Grill – again, depends what you’re cooking and how you tend to cook

Buy a cook system like the GSI soloist/dualist, or shop wisely, making sure you can nest one item in another to save space and keep organized. This pot was $6 at Honest Ed’s, I drilled a couple of holes and added a pot hanger and made a little bag for it…. Good gear doesn’t have to be expensive

Within my pot I carry a bowl, stainless steel mug, some sugar, campsuds, steel wool, some instant coffee (2/day) and some tea.  In this case I also included 1 Vitamin C drink.

...here's my stove in action.  It ways 6oz and fuel is renewable (and free)!

…here’s my bushbuddy camp stove in action. It weighs 6oz and fuel is renewable (and free)!

Paddling clothes

  • hat
  • Sunglasses
  • long sleeve sun shirt (I went with the Sol Cool Hoody)
  • Board shorts
  • water shoes (you may consider these optional until you slice your foot on a zebra mussel – as I did last summer.  Ouch!)
  • paddling gloves
  • Seal-line waist pack (to keep a few essentials that you want on you at all times)
  • Additional water bag?  Optional
  • Sunscreen

Clothes for Evening / off the board

  • Pants
  • hoodie
  • t-shirt x?
  • rain coat, or rain gear
  • mossy net (optional, but I usually bring this instead of bug spray)
  • socks x?
  • underwear x?

Camping equipment:

  • saw
  • head lamp and flashlight (1 is none as they say, build in some redundancy or risk going without)
  • camera
  • Fire kit (I go with 3 types, all stored separately: matches, lighter, ferrocerium rod)
  • laundry line, rope/cordage
  • towel
  • TP
  • Toothbrush / toothpaste
  • Campsuds
  • sunscreen
  • bug repellent
  • 1st aid kit
  • camp knife and sharpener
  • a bunch of extra zip-lock bags
My toiletry bag takes up a bit of space, but keeps everything organized. I add some extras in there: a garbage bag, emergency blanket, mosquito wipes, firestarter (cotton ball soaked in Vaseline seen next to my razor in a white round container)...

My toiletry bag takes up a bit of space, but keeps everything organized. I add some extras in there: a garbage bag, emergency blanket, mosquito wipes, firestarter (cotton ball soaked in Vaseline – seen below the middle in a white round container)…

…and then there’s food.  OMG that’s a lot of stuff!!  Did I miss anything?  So, this is the gear that I packed for a 6 night SUP camping trip.  I went solo on this trip, so everything had to go my barrel.  If you’re with another paddler, you can obviously split up some common items (pots, tent, fire kits, first aid…).

What not to bring:

  • Anything that you’re not willing to carry back out.  There are a lot of broken lawn chairs littering the woods….
  • Glass bottles or jars.  Do not bring beer, wine or liquor in glass bottles.  You Will break one and you will not clean up after yourself.  You will try to burn them in the fire and they are not combustible.  Seriously, just do NOT bring glass bottles, ever!  There is not a single thing that you might want to bring in a glass jar that couldn’t just as easily go in plastic.  Get a platypus for your wine, or choose from wines available in a tetra pak for camping.  Bring your beer in cans if you must bring beer at all, just don’t bring glass bottles!  Nearly every backwoods site I have visited in recent years is littered with broken glass.  I even see broken glass in the water along the shore in remote areas where one might want to swim.

This is now the average fire pit in a site on crown land:

A beautiful view spoiled.

A beautiful view spoiled.

Okay, with that little rant about glass/garbage out of the way, lets hit the water!

Edible Wild: Purple Flowering Raspberries

The Purple Flowering Raspberry, or Rubus odoratus, is kind of the secret raspberry.  Might as well be called Rubus secretum, as no one seems to know of it.   While many a forager might be out picking Red Raspberries and Blackberries, these brambles tend to go unnoticed, but it’s not for a lack of trying.

Purple Flowering Raspberries

Purple Flowering Raspberries

The large maple-like leaves and purple rose-like flowers make this plant easy to spot, even from some distance.  While most plants in this family (Rosaceae) seem to flower in the spring (including cherries, apples etc), lose their petals and then fruit in July-August (or later), this plant holds onto some of its flowers even as the fruit are available. I was obviously a bit late to this party, as you can see most of the ripe berries had already fallen to the ground by the time I got to them on this rainy day in early August.

The fruit is slightly dry and tart compared to Red Raspberries

The fruit is slightly dry and tart compared to Red Raspberries

Compared to the Red Raspberry, of which you are no doubt familiar, or the Dwarf Raspberry for that matter, the fruit of this plant is a little drier and slightly sour/tart, but still quite edible and still available at the unbeatable price of free.   In Southern Ontario the fruit appears in mid to late July and some can still be found even now in mid-August.  Look for it along the edge of trails and woods.

Here are two great resources to bring on your hikes to help you with plant identification:
•    Forest Plants of Central Ontario; Lone Pine Publishing
•    Peterson Field Guides – Edible Wild Plants, Eastern/Central North America

As with any wild plant:
•    harvest/consume only those that you can identify positively
•    when in doubt ask an expert in the area
•    Learn to distinguish from any similar poisonous plant (if applicable)
•    Sample sparingly at first to gauge individual sensitivities/allergies
•    Understand which parts of which plants may be consumed as many edible plants have toxic parts/structures
•    Harvest only when/where abundant
•    Do not harvest plants that are endangered or in need of protection

Happy Trails!

Toronto Islands SUP’ing

With a SUP camping trip planned again I thought I had better get out on the water and get my hands calloused up and ready to paddle.  I tend to go down to the Toronto Harbourfront and rent a SUP from the Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre.  They are easy to get to by bike or public transit, their staff always friendly, prices reasonable and their boards are decent (recreational, planing boards).

Renting through the HFC&K limits you to paddle within the Inner Harbour (between the Eastern and Western gaps) and among the Islands.  Gets a little dull after a while, but either live with those limitations or buy a board of my own, which I just can’t see doing right now…

So my usual route is straight across to the Hanlan’s Ferry Terminal then, depending on the wind, I either head straight into the Long Pond, or stay on the Harbour side of the islands and head over to Ward Island.  On occasion I’ll follow the shore past the Queen’s Quay Terminal towards Cherry St, before crossing the Harbour, but here’s how the route looked on this rather cloudy day:

10km SUP Route

10km SUP Route

If you want to zoom in then click on the link to the map itself:


I followed the north shore of the islands with the wind at my back.  Around the 4km mark I turned into Ward Island.  There is a very quiet beach, next to the ferry terminal, that has a great view of Toronto’s downtown.  There is also a little cafe nearby if you want some food or refreshments. I stopped to fill my water bottle, snap a picture and was soon on my way.

A water break and a view of the city from Ward Island

A water break and a view of the city from Ward Island

I left the Harbour behind and cut in past the Queen City Yacht club, paddling out of the wind, between Ward Island and Algonquin Island.

Quietly enjoying the view of the city - between Snake Island and Algonquin Island

Quietly enjoying the view of the city – between Snake Island and Algonquin Island

Here’s another view, this time from between Snake and Algonquin Islands.

My favorite spot amongst the Toronto Islands: Algonquin Island

My favorite spot amongst the Toronto Islands: Snake Island

Obviously I wasn’t in a huge hurry to complete my 10km route.  I hopped off again at Snake Island for a quick stroll.  This is my favorite spot on the islands.  You can kind of forget that you’re in the big city at this point.

There were plenty of raspberry bushes on Snake Island as well, and I was in luck, a few berries remained.

There were still some raspberries around for those willing to look.

There were still some raspberries around for those willing to look.

The view from Snake Island.

Seldom seen view of the Toronto skyline

Seldom seen view of the Toronto skyline

So that was it for this day, my 3rd SUP outing of the season.  I made my way west, down the rest of the channel, through the Long Pond, around Mugg Island and back out into the Harbour.  Even with a few stops this loop took just 2h20min.

SUP rentals are popping up all over the place, in every town with a waterfront, making it very easy and accessible.  If you’re new to paddling, most rental locations offer lessons as well.  So get out there already!

Hope to see you on the water.

Why Recycling Day = Flat Tire Day

Cycling to work every day I averaged 1 flat per month through 2012. None of them took place on my long rides outside of the city and almost all of the punctures were from broken glass.  I’ve been riding year round for over a decade and it has never been so bad before.  This past year I have largely given up on my track bike as my daily commuter and started riding my old Kona Humu Humu nuku nuku Apua’a again, it’s 1.5″ Tioga City Slickers being that much more puncture resistant than my 23mm road tires.

What has changed on our city’s roads?  Well, picture this:  Last Wed was recycling day along at least part of my route to work.  The crews were out collecting recycling in the morning when I was riding home, the 1st of 2 commutes that day, and I could see the usual piles of broken glass that they left behind at every stop, usually ranging from a few tablespoons to a 1/2 cup worth of glass shards.  Eventually car tires, much more resistant to puncture, grind the shards into dust, and after a day or two you barely even see it.

Cyclists dreaming of a car-less utopia take note – we would quickly find ourselves waste deep in broken glass!

On my way back to work later in the day I decided to take a few pics.  Here are the leftovers from 4 recycling truck stops in a row (taken around 2pm along Blythwood Rd between Yonge and Mount Pleasant), several hours after collection:

Recycle1 Recycle2

This is what is left behind at every stop!  Please zoom in on that last one if you want to see why cyclists are riding so far from the curb.

Municipalities are struggling to get rid of the mountains of mixed broken glass collected every year, much of it ending up in landfills.  Perhaps this is their way of dumping the excess, kind of like in the old movie ‘The Great Escape’ where the POWs have to come up with a way of hiding all of the dirt from their tunnels.  I think we could save the City of Toronto a pile of money if we would all just smash our own bottles in the middle of the road and save them the trouble.

Or, if you’d like to register complaints until they finally fix their collection process you can call 311 every time you see these piles of broken glass.

Happy riding (be sure to bring a patch kit)!

DIY Leather toe Covers for cycling shoes

Count cycling amongst your list of hobbies long enough and you will eventually accumulate gear for every possible weather condition.  Arm and leg warmers, vests, long sleeve jerseys, full zip, 1/2 zip, bib-shorts, tights, gloves, glasses for every lighting condition, etc.

Your road shoes are very well vented.  Your feet will thank you all summer, but come fall, a heavier pair of socks just isn’t going to cut it.  Bring on the toe covers!

Having a look at AllSeasonCyclist‘s winter gear he writes that he has 12 pair of toe covers!  I was looking for my 1st pair to cover up my very well vented Diadora Speedracer 2 Carbon shoes that I picked up just a few weeks ago at the Toronto Fall Bike Show.  I do have a couple of pairs of shoe covers, or booties as they are known, for more extreme conditions, but was looking for something a little more civilized for those cool, dry fall rides.  After a bit of searching, I decided I would just make my own.

Let’s start with a look at the finished product:

Leather toe covers for Diadora Speedracer 2 Carbon shoes

Leather toe covers for Diadora Speedracer 2 Carbon shoes

My BMC Streetfire is black and red with white decals and bar wrap. My Diadora Speedracer 2 Carbon shoes are white with red and black accents.  I figured I would carry those colours into the toe covers.  I dyed the leather with Fiebings USMC Black leather dye and used a red braided nylon thread to really make the stitches stand out.

The whole process starts by making some paper patterns until you have an idea of how much leather you might need.  I then soaked the leather for about 40min and here’s where things literally start to take shape.  I worked the leather around the edge of the shoes, pulled the leather into position with cord, stretching and compressing it, before letting it dry overnight.  This part isn’t pretty…

Working and stretching the leather into shape

Working and stretching the leather into shape

By the next morning they were dry and starting to look like a toe cover:


I cut off the excess from around the edges, made a piece for the bottom, shaped it slightly and dyed all of the pieces:

Dye Another Day

Dye Another Day

Oops, missed a step or two.  Use the stitch groover so that your stitches will be “counter-sunk”, mark all of your holes for stitching, re-dye that strip, mark and rough-up the sections to be glued, apply the contact cement, line the pieces up, fit them into place and begin stitching:

a Stitch in thyme

a Stitch in thyme

…and then it’s just a matter of cleaning up all of the edges, fitting some snaps to secure the cover around your shoe and applying some finishing products to protect the leather.  Here they are with my Time Espresso 6 cleats fitted into place:


…and then it’s time to enjoy the finished product:




Time to get out and enjoy them.  See you on the road!

Flax buns (that happen to be Low carb and gluten-free)

Intrigued by the writings of Peter Attia on well-formulated ketogenic diets for cycling performance, not to mention the collective works of Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek, I decided it was time at last to give low carb a try.

A few days into a low carb experiment I was browsing the cavemanketo website for some dinner ideas and came across this incredible flax bun recipe.  I want to emphasize that you do NOT need to be on a gluten-free or ketogenic diet to thoroughly enjoy these flax buns!  Here’s how they looked as a breakfast sandwich:

Low carb flax bun breakfast sandwich

Low carb flax bun breakfast sandwich

They turned out great, but I wanted to modify the recipe a bit.  After several attempts, here’s my final recipe:


  • ¾ cup Flax Meal
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ½ Cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp melted Coconut Oil or Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs


  1. Combine dry ingredients, then add eggs/oil/water and mix
  2. Portion onto pan, using 4” baking ring to form perfect circles
  3. Bake for 18 minutes at 350 degrees
  4. Let cool on wire rack

Makes 8, or enough for 4 sandwiches/burgers.

Portion onto your pan and press into 4" cooking ring

Portion onto your pan and press into 4″ cooking ring for a consistent shape

Some added coconut flour holds some more moisture into the buns and allows them to hold their form better given that I don’t have those muffin top pans that cavemanketo uses.

Prep time is minimal.  With a bit of practice you should have everything ready by the time your oven has preheated.  I baked mine for about 18min, but you can throw the broiler on towards the end if you want yours to brown a bit more than those shown above.

Need to get rid of some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving?  Flax bun turkey burgers of course!

Turkey burgers

Turkey burgers

Here’s the 3rd batch as a burger, slightly more toasted this time:

Flax bun burgers!

Flax bun burgers!

They are gluten-free of course, and if you’re looking for a low carb recipe these will fit that bill as well.  Here are the approximate numbers for 1 serving (2 halves), if you’re into that:

Fat    19.3g
Protein      9g
Net Carbs     1.7g


Wild Edibles: Chokecherry

The Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, also called Wild Black Cherry, is one of the many edible wild fruits from the Rosaceae family.  I have already featured some other wild edibles from this family such as the Serviceberry, dwarf raspberry, wild strawberry and the blueberry.

Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana

Chokecherry – Prunus virginiana

This deciduous shrub generally grows from 2-3m.  The ovate leaves are finely toothed and slightly wider above the middle.  The ripe fruit are nearly black, 8-10mm in diameter and contain a single stone, or pit, that is considered toxic (just like a cultivated cherry pit).  If yours have several tiny seeds then you may have found yourself some Chokeberries, also of the Roseceae family, but another topic….

a rice bold filled with chokecherries

a small rice bowl filled with chokecherries

I came across a stand of Chokecherries as I was biking along a trail.  I didn’t have any ziplock bags with me so I used my empty water bottle to collect the cherries.  In just a few minutes I had half filled the bottle and was on my way.

The name Chokecherry comes from the rather astringent flavour of the fruit, making one’s mouth pucker.  Rarely are these fruit eaten out of hand.  It is more common to make jams and jellies with Chokecherries.  I turned mine into a big tray of Jello!  🙂

These plants have a wide range across North America.  In my area they tend to ripen around mid-August.  I meant to write this post a few weeks ago but some SUP Camping got happily in the way.

Here are two great resources to bring on your hikes to help you with plant identification:
•    Forest Plants of Central Ontario; Lone Pine Publishing
•    Peterson Field Guides – Edible Wild Plants, Eastern/Central North America

As with any wild plant:
•    harvest/consume only those that you can identify positively
•    when in doubt ask an expert in the area
•    Learn to distinguish from any similar poisonous plant (if applicable)
•    Sample sparingly at first to gauge individual sensitivities/allergies
•    Understand which parts of which plants may be consumed as many edible plants have toxic parts/structures
•    Harvest only when/where abundant
•    Do not harvest plants that are endangered or in need of protection

•    If you want to know even more about the difference between chokecherries and chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) check out Aronia in America!

Happy Trails!

SUP Camping: Day 6/6

Day 6 of my SUP camping trip began in Lakefield Ontario at Lock 26.  I’d already gone for a swim, had breakfast, enjoyed a coffee and packed up, and it was only 8am.  The lock operators wouldn’t arrive for at least another hour and my plan for today was to purchase a lock pass for an easy trip back to my put in, just 18km downstream.  To pass the next hour I went for a stroll through town. Walking past a couple of restaurants serving breakfast I decided that next time, and there will definitely be a next time, I’m going to take advantage of my urban route and eat at least one meal in Lakefield and one in Youngs Point on my trip, allowing me to pack even less food and experience a bit more of each town that I pass.

Paddling the Trent-Severn Waterway, Lakefield to Peterborough

Paddling the Trent-Severn Waterway, Lakefield to Peterborough

Parks Canada charges by the foot for lock passes.  My 12ft SUP day pass came to just $19.20.  It was $10.80 for a two-way ticket through Burleigh Falls a few days earlier so this day pass was a heck of a deal given that I’d be skipping 7 portages for that price!

It was 938am as I was lowered down through Lock 26, I was not alone.  There was a couple from Hastings in a boat heading downstream as well.  The next 4 locks were quite close together and I knew they’d make this couple wait for me each time, so I felt the need to hustle to the next lock.  When I arrived at Lock 25 panting it was just 9:58.  I had a nice break while the lock closed behind me and lowered us to the next level.  I would hurry again to the next lock, and the next…   A couple of these locks are so close together that 2 operators will run both of them.  They let us through one lock, hopped in a pick-up, drove to the next lock and let us through that one as well.  They would go back and forth all day as boat traffic dictated.

A brief but torrential rain finally cooled me off as I sat waiting in Lock 23.  Lock 22 was just 800m away.  Once through Lock 22 there was an 8km stretch before Lock 21, so that was the last I was to see of the Hastings couple as they powered away.  8km would take me nearly 2hrs to cover, so I could relax into a steady and comfortable pace at last.

Just after you’ve passed Trent University, the Otonabee River is divided into two branches, one forming a canal.  The canal takes you away from Peterborough’s downtown, through a beautifully undeveloped area, and finally to Little Lake where the two systems are joined again, but not until you’ve passed through the Peterborough Lift Lock and Lock 20.

The beautifully undeveloped shores of the Trent Canal

The beautifully undeveloped shores of the Trent Canal

I arrived alone at the Lift Lock.  It was a very quiet day on the waterway and it would be a few minutes before the Lock Master would realize that I’d even arrived.  He knew I was coming as the upstream Lock Master had radioed for him to expect me, but I arrived much earlier than he’d expected.  The cloud cover and rain thwarted most of my sightseeing efforts and I simply paddled steadily downstream.  It was only 1:55pm and I was on the homestretch. He noted that I would have the honour of being the 1st SUP paddler to go through the Peterborough Lift Lock!  Being lowered down 6 or so stories as you stand in the middle of the caisson (big bathtub) on your SUP makes for quite a grandiose entrance to the area below.  On this cloudy and rainy day there were only a handful of tourists around the base of the lift lock to ignore this historic occasion.

I cruised back into Millenium Park by around 230 and my trip came to an anti-climactic end as I portaged the 300 or so meters back to Wildrock Outfitters to drop off my SUP and paddle.

In his 1944 essay ‘Exhaustion and Fulfillment: The Ascetic in a Canoe‘ Pierre Trudeau, Canada’s 15th Prime Minister, wrote:

What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature.”

I doubt Trudeau would have included SUP paddlers in his vision of paddling and fulfillment but I have rarely, in my adult life, felt more at peace than I did during this 100+km journey.  The next time I need to be “rapidly and inescapably purified”, I will set off SUP camping again, by then perhaps, SUP campers will be a regular sight on our waters.

Happy Paddling!

SUP Camping Trip: Day 5

Day 5 of my SUP camping trip would be my longest day of paddling yet.  I would eventually cover over 30km, with the last 20km into a strong headwind, but there was no reason to hurry, at least not at first.

30km SUP route for day 5, taking me from Lovesick Lake to Lakefield

30km SUP route for day 5, taking me from Lovesick Lake to Lakefield.  – Click to zoom in

I was on my way by 830am and began by exploring the northern area of Lovesick Lake, before returning to the main channel and passing through the Burleigh Falls Lock (#28).

Another incredibly vocal Osprey drew my eyes up to the sky.

Osprey nests dot the area

Osprey nests dot the area

There was still much to explore on Stoney Lake.  Getting away from the main channel, I made my way through a narrow passage formed between some islands.  10min in, and the water full of lily pads, I was beginning to wonder if this was even a navigable channel.  It was like paddling over a wet carpet.  Making my way out at last, I rounded a corner into the open water and some cottagers came down to their dock to say ‘hello’.  If I recall correctly their last name was Finley.  They asked if I’d found the lost lagoon guestbook while I was in the channel.  I hadn’t.  Someone maintains a logbook of the “lost lagoon”, and it is wedged between the rocks to be signed by anyone who happens upon it.  Was it a geocache?  I had no idea.  They offered to take me to it and quickly hopped in their canoe to lead the way back through the thick lily pads.

The guestbook for the Lost Lagoon

A sliver of red is all you’ll see of the guestbook for the Lost Lagoon

I hope some of this cottage country hospitality makes its way to Toronto.  It’s not that people aren’t helpful in the big city, but these folks are really willing to go out of their way to help someone out!  I wrote of my SUP journey to the lost lagoon in the guestbook and was on my way after another chat with Greg Finley as he shared his stories of paddling in the area and the 1000kms he once completed for a voyageur re-enactment.  Amazing!

My next stop was St. Peter’s-on-the-Rock, an Anglican Church on Stoney Lake, only accessible by boat.  I wasn’t on my way to a service, I just felt compelled to check it out while I was in the area.  Interestingly it is to be found between the areas known as “Devil’s Elbow” and “Hell’s Gate”.  Hmmmmm….

St. Peter's on-the-rock Anglican church on Stoney Lake

St. Peter’s on-the-rock Anglican church on Stoney Lake

I liked my campsite on Stoney Lake from Day 3 so much that I made my way back there on Day 5 for my lunch break.  My journey home was officially underway and I had been saving a celebratory snack for this vary occasion.  I had portioned and separated all of the ingredients that I would need to make my favorite gluten-free cookies.  Making them in the field would be a first!  My only substitution was some OvaEasy powdered egg mix in place of a fresh egg.

Gluten-free cookies, baked while camping!

Gluten-free cookies, baked while camping!

They turned out great!

Fresh baked gluten-free cookies

Fresh baked gluten-free cookies

While I was indulging, the wind was picking up.  I got underway at last, and as I entered Clear Lake a strong head wind turned the waves into white caps.  Standing on a board in a strong headwind is brutal!  I knelt down for the next couple of kilometers until I was across to the west side of Clear Lake and past the worst of the waves.  It was 430 when I reached Youngs Point.  I went for a quick swim, gathered some water and relaxed for a few minutes when it hit me – I didn’t really want to camp at Youngs Point again.  It was 5pm as I set off again, the sun still high enough in the sky that I figured I could make the 10km to Lakefield, even with a strong headwind, before the sun would set.

A strange thing happens after a few days of repetitive activity.  A switch is flicked in one’s body and suddenly you feel indefatigable (or maybe it was cookie power at this point)!  I made it to Lakefield by 715, kneeling part of the way to battle the headwind, but arriving full of energy.

Arriving in Lakefield well ahead of the sunset

Arriving in Lakefield well ahead of the sunset

30km were covered today and it felt great.  A week ago I was wondering if this trip would be possible, or if my board would sink under the weight of me and my gear.  5 days in and not only am I starting to think about a ‘next time’, but  I’m starting to see the potential for a much longer journey.  Anyone care to join me?

Stay tuned for the last day of this adventure, Day 6 of my SUP camping trip, an easy 18km journey into Peterborough.

Happy Paddling.

SUP Camping Trip: Day 4

Day 4 of my SUP camping trip began a little later than usual.  I was only planning another 14km route so I enjoyed a slower than usual breakfast, a 2nd cup of coffee and sat by the water for a while before packing up and setting off from my island campsite around 11am.

Day 4 SUP route: Stoney Lake to Lower Buckhorn through Burleigh Falls and Lovesick Lake

Day 4 SUP route: Stoney Lake to Lower Buckhorn via Burleigh Falls and Lovesick Lake

I would eventually be heading west through Burleigh Falls, into Lovesick Lake and finally to Lower Buckhorn by the end of the day, but Stoney is such a beautiful lake that you’re going to want to take the scenic route.  I paddled along the east side of Juniper Island and made my way towards the north shore of Stoney, generally avoiding the main channel, and then traveled west.  Rounding Horseshoe Island I found a quiet and deserted section of the lake.  There is at least a kilometer of undeveloped shore and a number of cottage-free islands.  The sign I found on one of the islands suggest that it is camping friendly:

A camping friendly island towards the north west end of Stoney Lake

A camping friendly island towards the north west end of Stoney Lake

Burleigh Falls, just around the corner at this point, is another popular stop along Highway 28.  I stopped for a swim at the base of the rapids, before heading through Lock 28.


Lock 28 in Burleigh Falls is a big one.  I was not feeling like a portage, so I paid $10.80 for a lock pass and sat in comfort on my board as the lock lazily lifted me up 7 or more meters to Lovesick Lake.  According to the lock operators I was the first one to ever pass this lock on a SUP.  They took my picture as I passed, hoping to put in on the Parks Canada website.

Lock 28 - Burleigh Falls, definitely worth the lock pass fee to avoid the portage

Lock 28 – Burleigh Falls, definitely worth the lock pass fee to avoid the portage

I made my way to Lock #30 at the western end of Lovesick Lake, the smallest lock in the system, rising just over a meter, and I wasn’t planning on going any further but the portaging efforts of my first day were now well behind me and I was feeling like I really should go a little further each day.  I left my gear at the lock and set off into a powerful headwind to explore Lower Buckhorn Lake.

Lower Buckhorn Lake

Lower Buckhorn Lake

Lower Buckhorn is definitely worth exploring!  It is a beautiful lake, dotted with islands and, at least the eastern end, isn’t as developed as most lakes in the area.  The non-operational Wolf Island Provincial Park separates Lovesick and Lower Buckhorn to the north and camp sites are available on a first-come-first-served basis.  I had planned to camp in the Park but the allure of running water and a picnic table won me over on that day and I set up camp next to the lock.

Also of interest here by the lock is a canoe/kayak ramp built by the local cottagers association to make for the easiest portage ever!

An ingenious canoe and kayak roller/ramp between Lovesick Lake and Lower Buckhorn

An ingenious canoe and kayak roller/ramp between Lovesick Lake and Lower Buckhorn

…and with the tale of any camping trip you might want to ask “So how were the mosquitoes?”.  Well, I’m glad I asked.  They weren’t bad except somehow this happened to the back of my left arm:


Had I slept with my arm against or outside of the mosquito netting?  I have no idea!  The rest of me was fine…

Tomorrow would be by far my longest day yet.  I would travel at least 30km on day 5 of my SUP camping trip, most of it into a headwind…

Happy paddling!