Camping at Killbear Provincial Park [Carling, ON]

When I turned 21 my boyfriend (now husband) drove to the resort I was working at in the Muskokas and swept me off my feet to Killbear Provincial Park here in beautiful Ontario where we had a great day on Hudson’s Bay. We played cards, listened to music and had a picnic with blueberry pie for dessert. It was one of my best birthdays to date. Since that day I’ve been thinking and talking about going back to Killbear to camp and this summer we finally went back.

Killbear Provincial Park is located in Carling, Ontario just 30 minutes north-west of Parry Sound. Perfectly situated on Georgian Bay, this park has multiple camp-sites, a handful of beautiful stone and sandy beaches as well as hiking and biking trails for any outdoors-man, or woman. To get a handle on the numerous activities for singles, couples and families alike check out the Friends of Killbear website.

I booked my campsite using the Ontario Provincial Park online reservation system – it was quick and easy and the reservation tool shows you pictures of each site available so that you can choose which one is right for you. Our site was quite large and was under a beautiful canopy of very tall birch, oak and maple trees. It reminded me of a childhood movie – Fern Gully – without the lushness of the rainforest of course.

Before long our campsite was home all setup with my picnic table cover, our roomy tent, camp stools and clothesline. After cooking up a delicious chicken sausage and veggie stir-fry over the fire, we headed back to Kilcoursie Bay where we had celebrated my 21st birthday an indiscriminate number of years ago.

The sun was setting and there was a cool breeze coming across the water. One of my favourite features of Killbear is how shallow the water is in Kilcoursie Bay. I rolled up my capris and headed into the calm, cool and spectacularly clear water. The sand felt smooth under my feet and I was surprised that although the Park was completely full, I felt like I had the whole place to myself. After a great walk on the beach and some fun  with my camera we headed back to the site to start a fire and make some smores!

It has been a very long time since I built smores over a fire but after stopping at the Killbear General Store just outside the park, I couldn’t help myself. When you walk into the store you are greeted by a large shelf of smores ingredients. It would have been foolish to ignore such a poignant sign and who am I to mess with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows? So, I pulled a green branch off a tree in the site and widdled myself a good looking marshmallow roasting stick. Four smores later I was 100% satisfied with my late-night snack and ready for a mid-night stroll to see the stars.

Although I love the canopy covering our site I was very anxious to find the closest clearing to gaze at the stars. Being so far away from the city lights was to my advantage as the sky was completely lit up with stars. Looking into the sky made me remember how little of the stars we see in the city. I saw the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, the Milky Way and another constellation that my husband pointed out that I didn’t recognize and cannot remember. Oh well, it was spectacular regardless.

Saturday morning came too soon and thank goodness I had made a note to myself to wear my earplugs that night. It kept me from hearing the bear that inevitably walked through our campsite that night — my husband, in his good sense, decided not to wake me up.

Saturday was spent mostly at Muskoka Woods on Lake Rosseau on for alumni day. Back at Killbear that evening we went on a decent hike around the park, explored Beaver Dams Beach and went for a great evening swim. The view over the lake that night is indescribable. As you can see in the pictures, the sky was lit-up like a rainbow – absolutely incredible!

I’m sure that I will go back to Killbear again and further explore the beautiful park but must admit that I was looking forward to a whirlpool bath in my own tub – sometimes the local luxury in your own home cannot be beat.

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