Bear Cub - Killarney Lake - Killarney Provincial Park

Muriel Lake - Classic Killarney

Killarney Provincial Park

August 26 - 28, 2014

Morning on Norway Lake, Killarney Provincial Park

Canoe Trip Reports

Muriel Lake

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Photo Gallery


Day 3 - Norway Lake to The Crack and George Lake

Morning on Norway LakeI woke up around 7:30am which was perfect timing to take a picture of the sunrise through the open door of the tent. I might have dozed a bit after that but not too long. We had a long day planned and we needed to get going in order to fit in the hike up to The Crack and still make it back to George Lake at a reasonable time. With that in mind we had finished breakfast, packed up and were dousing the fire by 8:30am.

Loading the canoe and paddling around the corner to the portage back to Killarney Lake took another twenty minutes or so and by 8:55am Madeline was Portage from Norway Lake to Killarney Lakealready headed across the portage with the canoe pack and Trigger. We had thought about making it a real loop through Kakakise and back to Freeland that way (with the break to hike up to The Crack) but going back out through Killarney Lake was saving us over 1,300m portaging.


For this portage we did things a little differently. To minimize the amount of time that the food barrel would be sitting by itself, I carried it halfway across the portage and dropped it there for Madeline to pick up while I went back for the canoe. That way the barrel wasn't sitting at one end of the portage or the other for as long and it also meant that the barrel was in a little less common spot so not quite as obvious a food source if a bear did come along.


Back at Killarney LakeBy 9:50am I was at the Killarney Lake end of the portage with the canoe and just had a few minutes to wait until Mads and Trigger got back with the barrel. That gave me time to take another look at how muddy the portage trail was at the end and ponder why there wasn't a boardwalk there. It was a bit surprising as aa similar portage in Algonquin would have a boardwalk to minimize erosion and the impact of heavy foot traffic on the marshy ground. Even the trails in Killarney tend to have bridges and boardwalks but for some reason the portages don't seem to get the same maintenance.


Killarney Lake

LaCloche Mountains, Killarney Provincial Park

Anyway, by 10am we were all at the Killarney Lake end and ready to reload the canoe and head southwest on Killarney Lake to the portage to Kakakise and the start of our hike up to The Crack.


We saw some loons fishing on Killarney Lake but I'm not sure what they were catching. The water is clear enough to see how little plant life there is in the lake. Killarney is one of the areas Loons, Killarney Provincial Parkthat was hardest hit by acid rain and while the lakes are recovering, many of them still have a long way to go. Even within the park the contrast between lakes like Killarney which is surrounded by white quartzite rock and lakes like Three Mile Lake with a geography that provided more of a buffer to acid rain is quite striking.


Start of the portage from Killarney Lake to Kakakise LakeBy 11:15am we were at the start of the portage from Killarney Lake to Kakakise Lake. We set the canoe and packs out of the way, changed into our shoes and started our hike to The Crack. It took about 25 minutes to hike across the portage to the point where it joins with the LaCloche Silhoutte Trail and the day trail up to The Crack, just before we got to Kakakise Lake.


Kakakise Lake to The Crack and Back


Starting to climb up to The CrackBy 11:53 am we were starting to climb up and away from Kakakise Lake. There are lots more trail markers here, possibly because someone thinks that day hikers need more direction (?). The trail is a pretty steep climb but it wasn't terribly long. Within 25 minutes we were getting our first glimpse of The Crack and by 12:30pm we were climbing up through The Crack itself. Ten more minutes got us to the top and despite having Madeline along the skies were clear and we had an amazing, almost 360 degree view. Our first glimpse of The Crack way up above us. The best part of that view is looking out over Killarney Lake, O.S.A. Lake and Muriel Lake all in a row.


We stopped to rest, take pictures and eat some lunch while we enjoyed that awesome view. We took our time, but keeping in mind that we still had a few hours of paddling to get back to George Lake, we started down around 1:30pm. Looking out over Killarney Lake, O.S.A. Lake and Muriel Lake


If anything, the trail feels steeper going down that it does coming up - or at least it looks steeper.


By 2:24pm we were back at Kakakise Lake where we stopped to let Trigger have a drink and took time for one ourselves too. A few minutes later we split off from the LaCloche Silhoutte Trail onto the portage trail back to Killarney Lake. By 10 to 3pm we were back at Killarney Lake and getting ready to head over to the portage back to Freeland Lake.


Approaching the portage from Killarney Lake back to Freeland LakeWinding our way through Killarney Lake to the portage took about 20 minutes and at 3:30pm we were starting the carry to Freeland Lake. This time Madeline was carrying the canoe and I got to carry the barrel. She usually likes to carry the canoe but given how many bears we had been seeing, Mads had been more comfortable carrying either the canoe pack or the barrel.


We hadn't actually seen a bear on a portage but of course since Mads was carrying the Portage from Killarney Lake to Freeland Lakecanoe this time, that had to change. As we were coming up to the Freeland Lake end of the portage we heard a lot of banging and yelling from the lake. It turns out that there was a bear walking along the shore towards the portage. We couldn't see the bear but we stopped and waited until the folks down at the water told us the bear had headed off into the bush and then we carried on down to Freeland Lake.


Since there were lots of people at the Freeland end of the Portage, I left Mads and Trigger there while I headed back for the other pack.

Waterfall along the portage between Freeland Lake and Killarney Lake

Unfortunately both of the cameras were in my day pack back at Killarney Lake. That meant that when I walked around the first corner and saw the bear standing in the middle of the trail, I couldn't get a picture of it. I did get to say "Hello" but I don't think the bear was feeling too social (probably all that yelling). He just mumbled something that sounded like "Stop FOLLOWING Me!" (although I could be wrong, I don't speak bear all that well) and then took off into the bush. That's about the closest that I've been to a bear since the grizzlies used to walk through the campgrounds out in Jasper National Park when I was a kid.


Freeland Lake to George Lake

Freeland Lake, Killarney Provincial Park

By 4:05pm we had the canoe loaded up and were ready to paddle down Freeland Lake towards George Lake. It was just over a 20 minute paddle down Freeland and by 4:30pm we were at the portage to George Lake.


We were making pretty good time so even though this is a really short little 45m portage, we dragged it out to half an hour taking pictures and enjoying the weather. The waterfall pictures didn't really come out like I wanted, but that's OK.

Almost back to the George Lake campground.

The wind wasn't too bad on George Lake and within 45 minutes we were back at the campground. After that it was just a matter of packing up the truck and seeing one more bear on the drive out Hwy 637.



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