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  KILLARNEY PROVINCIAL PARK - George, Freeland, Killarney, Three Narrows, Artist, Muriel, O.S.A. Lakes

This is another trip that I did with the CASS Canoe Club, May 6 to 10 1999. Scroll down to the bottom to read a journal of the trip.

A park map is available. All site numbers below refer to this park map.

May 6
Left school in Woodstock Ontario at 1:05 pm
Arrived at Killarney Provincial Park at 7:00 pm
Camped on George Lake Group Campground

Todays portage distance = 0 m
Total portage distance = 0 m
Todays paddle distance = 0 Km
Total paddle distance = 0 Km

May 7
N then NE through George Lake
P 80 (carryover) into Freeland Lake
P 455 into Killarney Lake
N then W to P 455 to O.S.A. Lake to cache food.
P 3160 into small Un-Named Lake
Lunch at end of portage
P 395 into Three Narrows Lake
Camped on site #51

Todays portage distance = 4090 m
Total portage distance = 4090 m
Todays paddle distance = 14 Km
Total paddle distance = 14 Km

May 8
SW through Three Narrows Lake
P 540 into Three Narrows Lake
P 1550 (The "Staircase") to Baie Fine
Lunch at end of portage
P 370 into Artist Lake
P 900 into Muriel Lake
P 595 to O.S.A. Lake
Camped on island site #32
Paddled to P 455 to retrieve cached food pack

Todays portage distance = 3955 m
Total portage distance = 8045 m
Todays paddle distance = 14 Km
Total paddle distance = 28 Km

May 9
Paddle E through O.S.A. Lake
P 130 into Killarney Lake
E then S through Killarney Lake
P 455 into Freeland Lake
P 80 (carryover) into George Lake
Camp on site #5
Climbed the mountain behind our site (great view)

Todays portage distance = 665 m
Total portage distance = 8710 m
Todays paddle distance = 11 Km
Total paddle distance = 39 Km

May 10
SW to George Lake Campground
Todays portage distance = 0 m
Total portage distance = 8710 m
Todays paddle distance = 3 Km
Total paddle distance = 42 Km


Mr. Don Downing
Mr. Glen Shenton
Darren Cope
Phil Biloski
Mike Proper
Jim Mackesy
Holly Nadalin
Valerie Wilkins
Dave Shenton
Shannon Waterfield


I'm too lazy (or to busy??) to write my own journal, so this is a journal that my friend Jim wrote on this trip. I tried not to change much from Jim's original format, so this is pretty much exactly how he wrote it each night in the tent. Anything you see typed in italics are comments that I have added to Jim's journal.

May 6, 1999

At 1:30 we left CASS, taking Mr. Downing's brand new van and his truck. We had a short stop in Barrie for some McDonalds. At 3:00 we were back on the road. When we were almost to camp and while Holly and Val were telling a story about what they saw at the Bush concert last summer, it began to rain. Quickly we set up camp. We all got in one tent and played cards for a bit, then all went to bed because it was such a crappy night.

May 7, 1999

Phil got up at 6:00 and woke us all up. By 6:30 we were all out of our tents. The rain had stopped during the night but a lot of our stuff had been soaked. We had a good breakfast of eggs and sausage. At nine we were out on the water. The sun was up and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. We were all ready for our trip into the wilderness, little did we know what lie ahead. Our first stop was an easy lift over. It's 80 m and has a dock on the west end to put in/take out. I got some nice overhead pictures by climbing a rock near the trail. Our next portage was again fairly easy. It was about 300 metres long. (Actually 455 m) At around 11:00 we stopped to hang our food for the last days in a tree so we wouldn't have to carry it. We left it three quarters of the way across the 455 m portage from Killarney Lake to O.S.A. Lake so that we wouldn't have to carry it for the two longest portages. At 12:00 we began a 3 000 metre portage (Actually 3160 m). This was an extremely difficult portage. It took all our skills and experience to complete it. Me and Darren led as we were carrying the food packs. Along the way Darren had a close encounter with a black bear. I had stopped for a rest a little more than halfway over the portage and looked up to see a bear running up the hill away from me quite quickly. It was a small black bear, and it obviously smelled me coming and took off before I even knew it was there. Of course at the time I probably really stunk, so it's no big surprise. Luckily it was startled by Darren and ran off. At 1:45 we came to the end. After a rest and a drink of water we began to set up for lunch. We set the food out on the top of a steep hill at the end of the portage, and had a nice view from the top. At 2:00 Mr. Downing arrived and the others arrived shortly after. We had a lunch of subs and cookies. Half of the group went back for the rest of the stuff while the other half cleaned up and put the food away from lunch. After the lunch group had everything packed up we started back down the path to help the first group. I was the first one to get to the group carrying the rest of the gear. I took a canoe away from Darren who seemed very happy to give it up. I was quite exhausted by that time, and was very thankful to carry one of the lighter packs for a while. By 5:00 we had everything packed up. We were exhausted. However, we had completed the portage relatively unscathed, and with all of our gear (we really did have way to much stuff. It would be much better to eliminate gear so that this portage could be done in one trip). We paddled a short distance, then came to a 360 m portage (395m actually). This we completed easily. After the 3000 that felt like nothing. At 6:00 we finally arrived at our campsite, #51 on Threenarrows.

May 8, 1999

Phil slept in this morning and got up at 6:30. He woke us up at around 6:45. By 7 we were all up and got breakfast ready. We had a good meal of oatmeal and coffee. I added the cappuccino mix to mine for added strength. At 8:55 we were off and headed toward the dreaded "Staircase" portage, which it the subject of many legends and folklore. But before we could begin that challenge we had to pass through a 540 m portage. As we approached this portage we saw a deer run into the woods. We took this as a sign of good luck - we would need it to complete this trip. The 540 m was not easy, it was very mucky and we were confronted by swarms of angry blackflies. The start of the portage was surrounded by very low water, so I jumped out and sank up to the middle of my calves in mud. The rest of the portage wasn't too bad, but at the end the water was so low we had to tow the canoes by rope to the end. I was up to my knees so just decided to pull all the canoes around so that everyone else didn't get wet too. We completed this challenge then continued on our journey getting ever nearer to the dreaded staircase. At 11:30 we arrived at the foot of the Staircase, a 1320 m portage up a mountain. The portage is actually 1320 m, with an option at the end of doing either a 230 m into Baie Fine or a 700 m into Artist Lake. We chose the 230 m to cut down the length of this portage.. We began bravely and realized that the famous Staircase portage was not nearly as difficult as stories tell and was for easier than the 3000 m portage we had completed before. Not saying that this was an easy portage though, as it is quite steep and long, but it's not nearly as bad as some of the stories want you to believe. At 1:30 we had our lunch after the portage. We were going to eat at the next portage but a few people needed to go back to get a few lost paddles, so the rest of us got lunch ready. Mike and I went all the way back to the start to retrieve two paddles that had been left leaning up against a tree, one of them being Mr. Downing's very expensive Kettlewell Paddle. For Mike and I, this was the fourth time over the portage, for a total of 6200 m on this portage alone! At 2:00 we left the Staircase, realizing that the stories about the Staircase must have been made by whiners that can't carry a canoe. But our day was not over yet. We came to a narrow stream which we could not paddle through so we had to do a 370 m portage. The fatigue was beginning to get to us and we could feel our tired shoulders ache under the weight of the heavy canoe. We finished the portage and continued on. We were extremely tired now and took a short break to drink some water and rest. However, it was getting late and the sky was beginningg to darken. At 4:30 we came to yet another portage that we needed to cross. This was supposed to be a short 110 m portage but is turned out that the small lake we were portaging into was completely dried out. Two short easy portages melded into one mucky, buggy 900+ m portage. This is actually marked as a 900 m on the updated maps, but we were going from Mr. Downing's memory, but he hadn't been there for a few years. The old map showed a small lake with short portages going in and out of it, but apparently a beaver dam let our and the lake dried up. If you don't have an updated map, be prepared for a 900 m that may not be shown!!!. We all felt dead after this portage and the fatigue of the many previous portages before was getting to us. Heroically we pressed on and completed the final portage of the day, a 540 m into O.S.A. Lake. This is marked on the map with two starting points. The distance, 595 m applies to the shortest portage, possible only when water levels are high. Since water levels were so low on this trip, we used the other starting point, so it's actually more than 595 m. . Darren and I along with Mike and Mr. Downing paddled the entire length of O.S.A. to get our cached food. We got back to camp at 7 and the camp and kitchen was already set up ready for the food we were bringing. After Shannon, Mike and I enjoyed a quick swim in the icy water we had a delicious dinner of rice and chili. After dinner Mr. Shenton made us some wonderful oatmeal cookies. At 9:15 we all played a game of cards and then got some well deserved rest in bed.

May 9, 1999

We all slept in until 8:30 because yesterday was so hard and today was going to be only a short paddle. After a leisurely breakfast we were on the water by 11:00. Our first portage was an easy 130 m. We enjoyed great sunny weather while we paddled along. Our second portage was a 540 m (actually 455 m) which we completed easily. Finally we came to the same liftover we did on the first day. After a short paddle, we came to our campsite, at 2:00. We set up camp and had a lunch of "stoners" and anything else you wanted. At 4:00, 7 of us (Darren, Phil, Jim, Mr. Shenton, Shannon, Val and Dave) began a hike to the top of the mountain that was behind our campsite. It was a very rugged hike and we had to climb up some huge rocks. We came to a cliff where there is a wonderful view of Georgian Bay and O.S.A. Lake. We could see our camp site that we were on that morning. At about 5:30 we returned to camp and found that one of our canoes was missing. After a frantic search we found it in a bay just down from our campsite. It had been blown there by the wind. This is a good reason why you should always tie your canoe!!!!. Darren and I had a cold swim. It was refreshing. At 7:00 we had a dinner of caesar salad and spaghetti. We were trying to finish off some of our extra food but there was just too much. After dinner we all sat on a rock to talk and watch the sunset.

May 10, 1999

7:00, we got up and had a great breakfast. There was so much great food left. After breakfast, we packed up our stuff and bid farewell to Killarney as we paddled out of the park. We paddled back to the vehicles at George Lake Campground, and cleaned up before heading home.
  This page was last updated on June 17, 2003 at 02:13 AM