Enjoying the Experience: Camping in Northeastern Ontario’s Backcountry

by | Jul 26, 2022 | Other

You’ve made it to a beautiful rocky point overlooking the water. As the sun begins to lower in the sky you hear the hauntingly beautiful call of the loon echoing across the empty lake. The evening is still. As beautiful colours begin to stretch across the sky the sun lowers until it’s finally below the treeline. The crackling of the fire joins the loon calls as the only sounds around for miles. You’re in the wilderness of Northeastern Ontario and can now spend your days paddling, hiking, fishing, or hanging around your site with stunning views of the lakes and pines.

Camping

                                                        Campfire at a backcountry campsite in Northeastern Ontario

In the summertime there’s no better site to camp on than a rocky outcropping. These points are exposed to the winds which keep the bugs away. Perfect. The next choice to make is what direction you want your site to face. A Southern or Northern facing point will get sun most of the day. An Eastern facing site will get more sun in the morning and less at night, a Western facing site will do the opposite.

It’s always considerate to other campers to pick a site that’s reflective of your group size. When you’re in an area that has designated sites, only camp there, as that’s the best way to reduce human impact in the area. If you’re in an extremely remote area of Northeastern Ontario without designated sites, educate yourself on site selection and how to reduce your impact on the environment. Finally, keep it clean! Bring an extra garbage bag with you to pack out any trash that other campers may have forgotten. We can all do our part to keep the Northeastern Ontario backcountry beautiful. Familiarize yourself with the Leave No Trace philosophy. 

Fishing

 Fishing in the NorthEastern Ontario backcountry

A delicious fish-fry shore lunch is a meal you’ll rave about from your time in the backcountry. With a few seasonings and oil, a fresh-caught fish will soon be a delicacy thoroughly enjoyed. Lucky for you, Northeastern Ontario is home to some of the best fishing in the entire world. There are many maps that even indicate what kinds of fish are in each of the many lakes you may visit so that you can come prepared with the proper bait and lures. Just make sure you have a fishing licence and abide by catch limits and other regulations to keep fish populations healthy across Northeastern Ontario.

Paddling

                                                            Paddling a backcountry lake in NorthEastern Ontario

The pristine waters of Northeastern Ontario have been paddled since time immemorial. With so many interconnected waterways there’s limitless paddling through this beautiful section of the province. If you wish, you could paddle all the way from the Southern end of the district in North Bay to the Northernmost part in Moosonee. Enjoy the sound of your paddle cutting through the water as you gently move your canoe forward. If you’ve never paddled before, it’s a great idea to learn some introductory strokes and best practices for loading, lifting, and portaging a canoe prior to heading out on trip.

Only paddle waterways that are within your skill level and remember that in the middle of the day, the wind often picks up on big lakes creating a dangerous situation for many paddlers. Stay closer to shore and only paddle when it’s safe. Always wear a PFD and keep a safety kit in your boat.

Hiking

                                                                    Views from the Obabika Old Growth Trails

Northeastern Ontario is home to some truly unique and rare ecosystems that make for picture-perfect hiking trails. From some of the oldest rock on Earth such as the White Quartzite La Cloche mountains in Killarney to the largest known contiguous stand of Eastern Red and White Pine in the world in Temagami, you’ll find no limit of beautiful trails to explore on foot. 

Now get out there and enjoy!

With so much of Northeastern Ontario’s pristine wilderness to explore, it’s important to be respectful of the land itself. Along the many trails and lakes you can find significant historical and cultural sites sacred to Indigenous people. These areas are to be treated with the utmost respect. Since time immemorial these areas have been home to Cree and Anishinaabe people, the original stewards of the land.

 

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile is a freelance filmmaker, photographer, and writer telling stories of exploration and impact. He works primarily to support adventurous brands in getting people outside and environmental non-profits in protecting our wild spaces. Find Mitch exploring Northeastern Ontario by canoe, snowshoe, bike, and skis. Learn more at www.mitchbowmile.com

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