Our first canoe trip of the summer was out to Bottle Lake, a pretty, peaceful lake just north of Peterborough in the Kawartha Highlands. After a short 300m portage, we set off on this beautiful morning in our very full canoes across the sparkling, calm waters. We took our time canoeing across the lake taking in the calls of birds and bullfrogs echoing from the shores. Our site was one of the furthest from the portage launch, nice and private and we spent the afternoon lounging around our very own sandy beach.
Later in the afternoon, we headed out for a magic hour canoe ride down Bottle Creek, snaking our way along the winding waterway, exploring the marshland and searching for frogs.
As the sun began to set we headed out to the middle of the lake, relaxed and fished a bit. While we didn’t catch anything, we snapped some lovely sunset photos.
While we were hiking around our campsite we found some discarded tiki torches. My boyfriend came up with the brilliant idea to turn them into campfire roasters by removing the top portion, sharpening the edges and wedging little pieces of wood in between the base sticks to keep them separated. There you have it folks…s’mores for everyone!
I shall now bestow upon you a new level of s’more making. My friend brought along those butter biscuits that are covered in chocolate. Why has no one thought of this before? No more drunken fumbling in the dark trying to align all your ‘mellow ingredients! This biscuit – or two if you dare – holds everything together with one quick smush! We made some Jiffy pop – another must-have campfire snack – so I stuck some kernels into the oozing marshmellow and BOOM! Sweet, salty, creamy, compact goodness.
For my next trick, I would like to bring back those canned sausages, you know the ones I’m talking about…those tiny cans of Vienna sausages that sit around gathering dust on your grocery store shelf. Forget all you’ve been told about the evils of canned food for the sake of backpacking convenience and give these sausages some love – there’s nothing a campfire can’t fix! Who doesn’t want a roasted hot dog? And with this handy dandy tiki torch, everyone can enjoy their crispy, salty perfection together.
Finally, we ended off our canoe trip with my favourite dehydrated meal: my homemade Swiss Chalet Festive Special. After marinading and slow cooking a whole chicken in the Swiss Chalet marinade, I dehydrated the chicken, packed up some instant mashed potatoes and stuffing, and brought along some Swiss Chalet sauce and gravy packets. Ta Da! Swiss Chalet, wilderness-style – you can’t get any more Canadian than this!
I loved Bottle Lake – it was the perfect quick canoe getaway for the weekend. Approximately 2.5 hours from Toronto it’s the perfect balance of portaging and car camping, as the short portage allows for some luxuries like a full Coleman stove, chairs, a regular tent and a small cooler. I think we’ll have to add tiki torches to our camp list from now on as well…