Trip Recap: September in Killarney

Nine of us continued on with an unexpected 2020 season (thank you COVID-19) on September 1st in Killarney.

September Route Overview

September canoe trip

Killarney Provincial Park was booked solid this summer. Rather than do one of our typical Bell Lake access point trips, we had to go in from the Highway 6 access point at Widgawa Lodge.

We paddled from the lodge to the decrepit docks before Howry Creek and stopped for a snack break to see how everyone felt. We then paddled our way into Leech Lake. It was a very long day: 14 kilometers of paddling and 1,300 meters of portaging times two or three trips each time. We were thankful for a lovely campsite right at the end of the portage trail.

We stayed two nights on Leech Lake, taking our down day to paddle over to the Nellie Lake portage trail and explore the waterfalls there. We continued on and stayed a night on the huge island site without a thunderbox on Van Winkle Lake on Night 3, and the second site on Leech Lake on Night 4. We then had the same monster day on the way out that we had on the way in, but after four plus days together paddling and portaging ran smoothly.

Weather and Bugs

Temperatures ranged between 17.5ºC and 21.5ºC during the day, normal for September. The overnights felt quite chilly compared to our blazing summer: 13ºC to 16ºC. We dealt with rain every day and high winds on days three, four, and five which made paddling and setting up tents challenging. We saw minimal bugs thanks to the cooler temperatures and high winds.

September winds and sunset


This was primarily a bird listening trip: barred owls, white-throated sparrows, whippoorwills. We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife, possibly because we were a big group or possibly because the park was quite full.

Managing COVID-19

As with the previous trip, we had to work to stay out of one another’s space especially once we arrived in camp. What wasn’t hard to remember to do though: frequent handwashing, lots of hand sanitizer, a decanter water bottle, and personal toilet kits. You can read more about our COVID-19 practices here.

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