Tag Archives: Camping

JMA Massassauga Camping Trip II

The Second Annual JMA Canoeing Adventure officially began in the parking lot beside our office. It was a Friday morning in early August, when 5 adventurers – John, Margaret, Matthew, A.J.(me) and Michelle – embarked on a two night, three day journey into the great outdoors. Northbound from Kitchener, they crossed the country in two trusty Toyota’s arriving at Pete’s Point in Massassauga Provincial Park in the early afternoon. After the canoes were rented and loaded, they embarked upon the second leg of the journey, across the water and into the wilderness. The weather was outstanding. We managed to make it to our site in 2 or so hours despite a slight head wind, and break for a dip part way.

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The Campsite, located deep in the Massassauga Archipelago was full of possibilities, complete with a slowly rising shelf of Precambrian Shield for swimming, two great tent clearings, a bathroom box in the woods with a view of a beautiful grotto like brooke, a grill for the fire and a leaky teapot someone had left for us. After the tents were set up, John and I set out to get some extra fuel (wood). We found a dead tree and set about harvesting the better part of the top third bringing it back to site in the canoe. John made a roaring fire which died down into a nice bed of coals upon which he cooked 4 very nice, very large pieces of top sirloin beef. The Friday feast was completed with corn, eggplant and peppers, salad and grilled pineapple and peaches, poached in rum.

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On Saturday morning, after a few of us took a dip, we prepared breakfast. Using Margaret’s large paella pan, we cooked a pound of bacon, and then (with a lot of the grease sizzling away still in the pan) we made peach pancakes. The trick with peach pancakes is to bring instant pancake mix and canned peaches. Chop the peaches in the can, then add with the juice into the pancake mix. We had terrific results and will likely recycle the recipe for the Third Annual JMA Canoe Adventure.

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Despite a soft rain we embarked on a trip to Wreck Island, known for its geology and outstanding swimming. The water was very flat and the rain kept us cool as we paddled to the very edge of the archipelago. Upon our arrival the skies began to part and we enjoyed a very sunny picnic on the island. The picnic featured three types of sandwiches, a genoa salami with spinach and dijon mustard on a healthy artisanal multi-grain, a hummus wrap with roast veggies, and a cucumber sandwich on a light rye with fresh dill and lemon cream cheese.

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After a refreshing swim under a very blue sky we pushed off again, bound for our camp site. The paddle home was long under a hot sun. We had a delicious chili with avocado and buns for dinner. The evening was spent by the fire with smores, and jokes and laughs.

IMG_6262Sunday morning was filled with relaxing and intermittent packing. At noon we said farewell to the campsite and, with a breeze at our back we leisurely paddled back to the launching docks. After dropping off the canoes we headed back south to civilization. We stopped for Ice Cream in Mactier and continued to snake through the country avoiding the Muskoka traffic. For the final meal of the weekend we enjoyed a high class affair at the Whistle Stop in Beaton. In various levels of grunginess we five adventurers savoured the fabulous meal before we finished the drive into the sunset and home to Kitchener.

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JMA goes Canoeing

On a sunny July Friday, JMA staff headed to the Massasauga Provincial Park for a terrific canoe trip.

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We planned the dates, the meals, our available supplies and searched hard into our true canoeing and camping abilities. For the six of us who could come, we figured that we would need three canoes and two tents. John and I were familiar with the park, and knew that everyone would love the experience as much as we did. The Massasauga Provincial Park has been in operation since 1989. It is an archipelago in Georgian Bay just south of Parry Sound. This is bear country and home of the Massasauga rattlesnake. Campers must take precautions to avoid unwanted encounters with wildlife and be ready to paddle to their campsites with all their supplies in tow. For all our efforts we were more than rewarded with the incomparable beauty of Georgian Bay and the Precambrian Shield.

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Day 1 – John and Margaret loading up their canoe at Pete’s Place Access Point. A 3 ½ hour paddle would take us to our campsite on Moon Island.

“I didn’t know my bow from my stern, or my port from my aft. Somewhat problematic if you’re captain of your canoe. It turns out steering isn’t the hard part; it’s going in a straight line!” – Matt, Captain, HMC Indefatigable

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IMG_1068The first evening at our campsite. On tonight’s menu: Steak.

“The food cooked by the campfire was so amazing I was tasting it days later.” – Ashley, Chief Cheerleader

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Day 2 – Day trip to Wreck Island. 1 ½ hour paddle to the westernmost island on the archipelago.

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Exploring the rich geological history IMGP0089on a hike through the Wreck Island Trail, a landscape of eroded, twisted and multicoloured ribbons of rock, sometimes pitted, sometimes folded, always beautifully sculptural and a treat to the eye.

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mThe entire office could attest that I went into this trip with great, rattle snake inspired, trepidation. As the weekend went on though, my fear dissolved and I began hoping to see one of the Massasauga rattle snakes. I didn’t see any of them though. The rocky landscape somehow made the snakes seem more awe inspiring than scary. Maybe next time I’ll see one!”, Lisa – Explorer Extraordinair.

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We finished our hike with a swim in the cold waters of Georgian Bay.

“I had a great time swimming and jumping off the rocks at Wreck Island with the snakes and muskrats!” – Eric Jardin, He-Man, Master of the Universe 

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Back at our campsite, making dinner…. a true team effort. Well done, everyone! For Margaret’s Recipe Click the Link!

Paella Massasagueña

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Paella Massasagueña Recipe

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That evening the wind was dead still and we were expecting rain. We used the tarpaulin to protect all our supplies overnight. We were able to see the “Supermoon”, but soon it began to cloud over. Rain started to fall late at night, and became progressively stronger. We were afraid that we would have to paddle into a howling southern wind in the rain. We were praying for no lightning.

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“I loved being under the tarpaulin all of us together as we waited out the rain at breakfast, and playing UNO, which by the way, I won after changing the rules half way through the game”, Margaret – UNO Champion

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Day 3. A miracle! The rain stopped, the wind started to turn around, and even though we were soaked, we were now looking forward to our return to Pete’s Place Access Point… until a heavy fog came rolling in. We couldn’t see across the bay. We were afraid that if we took off in the fog, we would get lost in the archipelago. The fog did lift after a bit. We paddled through the mist. It was hauntingly beautiful. We bid our farewell to the park, and resolved to return another year.

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We paddled out among the islands in the sun, and back in the mist. Two different worlds of wind and water, rock and forest. Beautiful.” John – Man of the Precambrian Shield

Want to try the Paella Massasaguena on your own camping trip? Get the recipe here!    Paella Massasagueña