Long weekend on the Haliburton Highlands Water Trail


The Keewaydin docked at the campsite.

In Ontario, Victoria Day long weekend usually signals the start of the outdoor camping season for many. This year was no exception, with the Humber Outdoor education program embarking on a three day canoe camping trip on the Haliburton Highlands Water Trail. We had a decent sized group with 10 canoes hitting the water for this adventure. I personally have never canoe camped before and this was my first day out on the water since last summer. So things were bound to get a bit tips, with our 17 foot Keewaydin canoe being very unstable when empty, but once the gear was loaded into the canoe things stabilized. The weather was perfect on the day of the launch with little winds and clear skies, warm mid 20’s temperatures and the black flies out in full force to welcome all unsuspecting city folk to the great outdoors.

Once we set off across St. Nora Lake we only had about a three km paddle over open water to our portage point, an almost 900 meter uphill trek through swampy and boggy ground. This was probably the least fun part of the entire trip. Carrying a 65lb backpack along with a 50lb canoe uphill really, really sucked. But once we got to the top of the portage on Sherborne Lake the views were fantastic. The lake empties through a small dam into a bubbling creek that flows downhill into a swampy depression, there we saw a very large snapping turtle sitting in the shallows waiting for its next meal. The turtle was not the friendliest of critters and made it’s displeasure to our presence known quite qwickly. From there we were off on a paddle across Sherborne Lake to our final destination a campsite on the south side of the lake.

We camped on a small peninsula for the weekend spending the rest of our time working on canoe skills and day tripping out on the lake to explore the surroundings. The weekend was a great way to get in some much needed canoe skills tune-up. As for the camping part, I used the hammock once again and found it to be a fantastic way to solo. It was quick to set up, roomie and with the addition of an extra tarp but wind and waterproof. Also I couldn’t help myself but go for a dip in the lake, the second weekend in a row I’ve done so. I think this is becoming a habit of mine. Overall the weekend was fantastic, minus the march from hell which someone decided to call a portage. To end the day I have to add a few obligatory sunset shots, sadly once again I could not get my Nikon out due to space restrictions so my Blackberry had to do. More pictures found here.

7 thoughts on “Long weekend on the Haliburton Highlands Water Trail

  1. Boris, congrats on your first canoe trip! A good warm-up for your summer adventures! Looks like you had a good time and the pics capture some great Canadian Shield scenery. While I can’t think of a less comfortable – and awkward – way of spending a night than in a hammock, obviously you are good with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought so too but once I you’re in the hammock it’s different. I thought it would kill my back but not even a bit. The Hemmingway hammocks are def something I would recommend.


  2. Ugh, I’ve had a couple of rough portages like that – they’re like torture. But it sounds like a great trip, and I love the hammock idea. In this heat, I bet it’s a lot nicer than waking up in a humid tent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like a great trip! I am looking for a canoe route for the August long weekend and this looks like a good option. yes, portages can sometimes be hellish, especially during bug season. And it’s impossible to swat those bugs away with the hands full of stuff. But it is so worth it.


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