The Best (and Worst) Camping Memories of 2016

I received an email notification from another blogger (Gone Camping) who posted about 2016’s highlights. I thought it was such a great idea to reflect on this year’s adventures that I’ve opted to do the same!

Since moving to Muskoka, my husband, Banjo and I have done quite a bit of exploring in the area. I’ve made numerous trips to Algonquin, explored local trails, and pushed my paddling and camping skill level. It has been an exciting year for me, so here we go:


Drinking morning coffee at our walk-in campsite and watching beluga whales at the Fjord-du-Saguenay national park was the best wildlife experience of the year. This park in Quebec was beautiful! There was an incredible hiking trail, and many opportunities for whale watching.

Watching beluga whales from our campsite at Fjord-du-Saguenay, Quebec.
Watching beluga whales from the beach in front of our campsite at Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park, Quebec.
Whale watching with our morning coffee
Whale watching with our morning coffee
National park, Fjord-du-Saguenay in Quebec
On the beach near our walk-in campsite at Quebec’s National Park, Fjord-du-Saguenay

The best camping experience of the year would have to be Wolf Lake-Chiniguchi loop in Temagami. This route had some incredible scenery, awesome campsites and wicked portages. It was all worth it and probably my favourite camping experience to date.

Jack pine on Chiniguchi Lake with The Elephant in the background
Jack pine on Chiniguchi Lake with The Elephant in the background
Old growth red pine!
Old growth red pine!
Between portaging, we stopped for a swim at Paradise Lagoon.
Between portaging, we stopped for a swim at Paradise Lagoon.

Our Misadventure in Algonquin Park was the worst camping experience of the year, but also of all time! My husband, Banjo and I paddled and portaged 4.5 hours to get from Cache Lake to Harness Lake to spend the long weekend in May, but had to turn around and paddle and portage 4.5 hours back (and a total of 16 kms of portaging) because of an emergency with Banjo. It was a traumatic day!

Banjo and her Ruffwear PFD
Paddling and portaging our way into Harness Lake
Just after our camp was set up, we had an emergency
Just after our camp was set up and some lunch, we had an emergency
Swelling had fallen from her eyes down to her mouth and throat.
Swelling had fallen from her eyes down to her mouth and throat.

The best camping moment would have to be sitting high above Wolf Lake in Temagami to watch the sun set with an amazing group of friends. The Regulators Paddle Temagami was an incredible 9-day canoe trip through the wilderness northeast of Sudbury.

Wolf Lake
Wolf Lake
Watching the sun set over Wolf Lake and the Temagami wilderness.
Watching the sun set over Wolf Lake and the Temagami wilderness.
DSC_3873
Wolf Lake

My biggest accomplishment of the year was getting my ORCKA Moving Water Canoeing Level 1 certification with PaddleFoot Canoe Tripping. Every year I build on my skill level whether it’s pushing further into the backcountry, or improving my paddling skills. This one was a huge deal for me!

I did it! Conquering my fear of white water!
I did it! Conquering my fear of white water!
Luckily, my canoe never tipped!
Luckily, my canoe never tipped!

The worst portage of the year would have to be from McCarthy Bay in Chinguchi Lake to Laura Lake in Temagami. It was about 100 meters in the middle of an 890m portage of sinking mud. While it was the worst because of the fear of losing one’s lower body to an endless swamp of mud, it was also the most fun! Some brave souls have laid logs throughout the mud, but they’re buried under swampy muck. I used a paddle to feel down where the logs were to try and make it out alive. I think my husband had to carry Banjo.

Be careful where you step!
Be careful where you step!

A lot of my favourites have been from Temagami. That trip was such a highlight for me! But, if you’re interested in checking out some of my other camping adventures this year (from Magnetawan to the Petawawa River in Algonquin and back, Poker Lakes loop in Haliburton, Noganosh Provincial Park, and more), check out my Backcountry Camping Trips page.

Just like you, I’m incredibly anxious to see what experiences 2017 will bring! My husband and I are planning a canoe trip in Quetico Provincial Park. What are your big plans for 2017?

Thank you for visiting and reading my best and worst camping moments of 2016. Leave me a comment if you have any to share with me 🙂 I always love hearing stories!

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Algonquin Park is now on our must visit list. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fantastic Michael! Let me know if you need any recommendations or advice!

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  2. Jeff D says:

    Great post! My partner and I went to Quetico a few years ago and loved it! You’re going to love it! Northern Ontario canoe tripping at its finest. I’m looking forward to reading more of your trip reports in the coming year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jeff D! If you’re interested, I’d love to hear some recommendations for Quetico. What route did you take? I think we’re pretty set on the Hunter’s Island loop.

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      1. Jeff D says:

        Hey Cobi!

        I’m definitely not qualified to give out any recommendations. My gf and I camped at French Lake for a couple of days when we were travelling across Canada. We spent a full day exploring the vastness of Pickerel Lake.

        One thing I can say for sure is that the area feels wilder than anywhere I have ever been. On Pickeral Lake we saw a few skeletal remains of what looked like moose. It was quite the site to behold. The landscapes is wonderful and even near the access point, people are very few and far between. Hopefully we will return and do an actual thorough adventure of the park. I’m looking forward to hear about your trip when you post it

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the reply, Jeff. We’re getting really excited about our trip! We have purchased maps and have already finalized our route. Now we wait!

        I’m really looking forward to being in such a vast wilderness. It’s a place on the bucket list for sure.

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  3. Ok so wow, that first picture of Wolf Lake?!?! Amazing. And I totally agree with you about Temagami being the highlight of any summer! We had a feel-your-way-through-the-mud portage on the way to Florence Lake last summer. Craziness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Heather! Watching the sunset at that spot above Wolf Lake was incredible! I love the wilderness feel to Temagami, even if there are a lot of muddy portages! It makes for adventure and a fun story to tell! Thanks again for your comments! 🙂

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