Trip Recap: July in Killarney

Six of us kicked off an unexpected 2020 season (thank you COVID-19) on July 4th in Killarney.

July Route Overview

July Killarney trip

If you’ve spent any time as a paddler in Killarney (or looking at forums and posts about canoeing in Killarney), the Bell – Balsam – David Lakes route is probably pretty familiar to you. Loads of canoeists love to do it for the chance to hike Silver Peak in addition to reasonable portages.

For those of you who are new to Killarney or perhaps to this route, we put in at Bell Lake. We stayed on Balsam Lake the first night (one 30-meter, paved portage), but probably could have slowed down and stayed on Bell/Three Mile Lake based on the heat of the day and the fact that none of us had been out paddling much due to COVID-19. On day two we paddled into into David Lake (one 665m portage) before settling on a site I hadn’t been on before, for two nights. Then we paddled back out to Bell Lake on day four (two portages: one 200m and one 745m one).

Weather and Bugs

Temperatures ranged between 27ºC and 30ºC during the day. We lucked out and had mostly sunny days with rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightening overnight or early in the morning. The black flies were long gone but the mosquitoes, horse flies, and deer flies were present and are always hungry in early July.

July Sunset over David Lake


We enjoyed birds on this trip, particularly waterfowl. Mama Merganser and her 8 babies did not share space well with a loon fishing in our corner of David Lake. We also had a busy mountain pine beetle boring its way through a downed tree that served as a seat at our David Lake campsite.

Managing COVID-19

It took some getting used to, staying out of one another’s space especially once we arrived in camp. What wasn’t hard: frequent handwashing, lots of hand sanitizer, a decanter water bottle, and personal toilet kits. You can read more about our COVID-19 practices here.

All in all, it felt special to get this trip on the water after the uncertainty of the spring.

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