Late June to August
This time of year is clearly the most popular. Vacation season has started which means everyone is heading up north. Even if they’re not canoeing, they’re clogging up the roadways making getting up there slow. This means reservations are absolutely necessary this time of year, campsites will be harder to find, and portages will be clogged up and slow. Not to sound like a snob, but this is also the time of year for the… well let’s just call them less-than-hardcore canoeists, which can cause some problems. They can be loud and disrespectful. You’ll see the most litter and trashed sites this time of year. If you want to avoid the onslaught of people, try to avoid the particularly popular times like the long weekends and of course the last-chance-for-vacation week just before the kids go back to school.
Black flies might be gone by July, but that just brings the mosquitoes – in droves. Also, the heat will peak the weeks before and into August, so if you’re not a fan of excessive heat avoid this period. Finally, check the water levels towards the end of summer as some areas might not be as accessible.
The reason for all those people around is because the weather is considered best in the summer. It’s hot and sunny, and so there’s no better place to be than on the lake. Even the nights can be warm, so sitting around the campfire is ideal. Swimming is certainly more comfortable this time of year and to some goes hand in hand with any camping. Sandals and shorts are the norm, and with less clothing necessary you don’t have to pack as much.
Summer is also the safest time of year because of the weather, lessening the dangers of extreme weather (except for heat of course). Getting swamped is a completely different experience in the summer, and even a great opportunity to run some safety drills (hopefully on purpose). The rivers have calmed down as well by now. Of course the other side of all that water talk is that summer tends to be much dryer. It’s still going to rain some days, but the mud and swampy areas have cleared up. If you do get wet, the heat and the lack of bulky clothing helps getting dry quicker.
For some, because it’s vacation season, this may be the only time of year that they can get out there, so seasonal preference may just be moot. Finally, I should also mention that the last weeks of August most years can be pretty bug free.
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