Oh, the year 2020, where to begin. Unless you have been living on the moon, you know this has been one of the strangest years in our lifetime. I won’t get into details and my opinions on things, but camping 2020 got off to a very late start due to the pandemic. In Ontario where I live, the parks were closed and paddling was frowned upon until well into spring. I typically do not go camping during the height of the bug season, instead preferring to get a quick trip or two between ice out and bugs in. Then taking a chunk of the summer off and going full bore from late Aug into Oct being my prime time of year.

Given the late start, I really had little choice but to get out there with the bugs. I “needed” to get a trip under my belt for my own sanity and I had been dying to take the new boat on a portage trip fully loaded with gear to see how she would handle.

Well, she handled beautifully and was such a pleasure on the two portages that I had to take. The weather was absolutely wonderful, but the bugs were not as lovely. I found myself on a lake with just a single camp spot so got to call the place my own for the entire 2 nights.

In 2019 I started to play with hammocks and since the weather was going to be nice, I left the tent behind. I picked up a bug net over the winter as well as a fly. Here we are, hammock, netting and the fly.

And all assembled and ready to go. It worked beautifully with the bugs although I could sure hear them buzzing all night wanting to get at me. I am still a bit mixed feelings about the hammock. It is comfortable to sleep in, but what a bitch getting in and out of it in the middle of the night or the morning. Fighting to get in and out of the sleeping bag, over the side, out from under the tarp and then reverse to get back in.

The next new thing to try was relying completely on the stick stove for the trip. This thing packs down so small and light I just had to give it a try. Left all my fuels at home. Started by cooking potatoes and carrots and then adding bottled moose. Worked like a champ, yum! The only downside? Cleaning up all the soot from the pan and the stove. But you want a light camping setup, this works well.

Bottled moose stew. YUM. All done on a stick stove.

A few images from around the lake. The winds were almost dead calm the entire time (not helping with the bugs) but such a beautiful little spot.

What more could a person ask for?

My little oasis. Food cooking, chair with a great view, whiskey, bug spray and a fire pit. All I need.

And to cap it off, I did shoot some video on this trip on the way out of the park. Coughing from bugs, paddling, portaging. Not professional grade, shot on an old GoPro more for fun then anything else. Wonderful little trip to get the season started.