Thursday, September 3, 2015

First Family Trip to Killarney

After hearing about Killarney and seeing lots of photos earlier in the summer our kids were keen to pay the park a visit. We thought it might make for a good trip next year. At some point we decided that there's no time like the present. Why not go this year and next year? We didn't have a ton of time so we decided to go overnight. Our intention was to book a site at the George Lake Campground and explore George Lake. However, we discovered that the reservable sites were all booked. There were about a dozen non-reservable sites available but we weren't sure that we wanted to take our chances. Instead we booked an interior site on George Lake. Even better!

We packed up the gear and began our journey. Less than 10 minutes into our trip we spotted a fox next to the road. Less than 45 minutes later a coyote crossed the road a short distance ahead of us. If nothing else this trip was already a success for wildlife sightings.
Red Fox on the Train Tracks
The rest of the drive was fairly uneventful. We continued along the highway and headed into the town of Killarney. We stopped on the wharf and had some fish and chips from Herbert's Fisheries. The sky looked quite threatening so we thought it would be best to be on our way. We arrived at the park at about 2:30. By this time the sky was beginning to clear a little. For Killarney's interior you book the lake you want to stay on and not a specific site. We had wanted to stay at site 6, which was at the opposite end of the lake from the access point, so that we could explore some of the other lakes. We headed in that direction hoping we wouldn't need to backtrack if the site were occupied. As it turns out the site was vacant. It was a great site located on a point.

Once we were setup we decided to paddle to the 80 m portage into Freeland Lake. Upon our arrival we found a large beaver dam.
Beaver Dam into Freeland Lake
Freeland Lake was a picturesque lake. It was long and narrow and was quite shallow and marshy. 
Freeland Lake from the Killarney Lake Portage
We paddled across the lake to the portage into Killarney Lake. We left our stuff at the beginning of the portage. Our purpose for this trip was to check out the waterfall located about halfway along the portage. We were not disappointed. We were rewarded with a great looking waterfall. 
Waterfall Along Freeland to Killarney Portage
Waterfall From Above
We made our way back to the start of the portage and paddled across Freeland Lake. As we neared the portage we spotted a beaver a short distance in front of us. Not long after we spotted it, it dove. We quietly paddled along hoping to catch another glimpse of it. As we paddled we figured we wouldn't see it again, then it reappeared in front of us. It swam for a bit and then realized we were there. We watched it slap its tail then dive. It was such a site to see. I'm glad we were all able to see it.

As we paddled back to our site the clouds started to build again. The sky looked very threatening so we ate and cleaned up quickly. Just as we were about to enter the tent it began to rain. The wind picked up and was howling all night. Luckily there was a rock face between the lake and our tent that acted as a windbreak. Although we could hear the wind, we didn't feel any of it.
Clouds Over Killarney Ridge
In the morning we packed up and headed out against a really strong wind. We paddled close to the south side of the lake to stay somewhat protected.
View From the Campsite
Granite on the South Side, Quartz on the North Side
 We paddled until we got to where we could see Little Sheguiandah Lake. We got out and admired the view. It would make for a neat little side trip. It wouldn't be too difficult to lift over the rock and paddle around the small lake and do some exploring of the neat looking cliffs.
Little Sheguiandah Lake
We left Little Sheguiandah Lake behind and headed into the wind. It was slow going and at one point it didn't seem like we were going anywhere. I mentioned that to everyone else and at that point the young paddlers decided they should pitch in. It made a big difference. We paddled to a cliff that was located between sites 2 and 3. We were hoping to see a volcanic intrusion and thought that we had (as it turns out it was a little further along the shore). We did however see some cool patterns in the rock.

Interesting Patterns in the Rock
On the way back to the access point we paddled past a glacial erratic, a rock deposited by a glacier. It was an interesting rock due to all of the holes and cracks in it.
Glacial Erratic
Although our stay was short it was full of adventure and we look forward to returning.