As you could read in my warning tip it's best to avoid being bitten by mosquitos because of the West Nile Virus. Here are some useful tips to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitos :
Pack light coloured and long-sleeved clothing that includes long sleeved shirts or jackets, long pants, shoes, and tuck pants into socks for extra protection. Hahaha, as you could see in these pictures I hadn't read all these advices myself yet! But I will use them next time!
I found out the hard way that it's best to wear loose-fitting clothes made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from skin. Sigh.... they bit me right through my shirt and pants during one of my hikes :-( I also discovered as long as I kept moving the mosquito problem was bearable. But the moment I stood still to take a picture or have a break, they were zooming all around me ready to attack.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
Besides the right clothing it is necesarry to use insect repellent. Use a federally regulated insect repellent containing DEET when mosquitoes are biting. Adults may use an insect repellent that contains no greater than 30% DEET and no greater than 10% for children. Apply the repellent to exposed skin, and clothing as well, because mosquitoes may bite through fabric. Do not apply repellent under clothing. If you don't like to use a repellent containing DEET there are some alternatives on the market. I have no clue how effective those are though.
Another good tip is to limit the use of colognes, perfumes, and scented body lotions that can attract mosquitoes and other biting insects.
Ontario Parks has a special section about the mosquitos and West Nile Virus on it's website. You can find lots more info and answer to many questions on this website :
I have been concentrating on the mosquitos in this tip, hahaha, but I forgot to mention those irritating black flies! Phew, those know how to bite you as well! But luckely they can't give you West Nile Virus. If you use these tips mentioned above you'll be protected against the black flies as well.
It all may sound very complicated and not inviting to go to the parks, but please don't let this stop you. The bugs are irritating, but with these few simple precautions I am sure you will have a fantastic time and it will be safe to visit :-)
The conditions in Killarney vary quite a bit, one moment you walk in dark forest, the next you are standing on a sunny lookout point. To get the best out of these conditions I use a 200 ISO film. I normally prefer a 100 ISO but in the woods that's not always so practical. I don't have a tripod with me on my hikes and with a 100 film I often don't have enough light to take photos.
A must for me is my circular polarizing filter. I use this filter a lot (it's actually the only filter I use). It's a great tool to filter the reflection out of the sky, which makes the sky look more blue and all the colours more vibrant. If you have an SLR camera I can really recommend buying one for your lens! And if you do, try to make it a B&W, it's a bit more expensive, but it's certainly worth it! The disadvantage of the filter is that it takes away a bit of the light you have, so when there is just enough light I can't use the filter.
The camera I use is a Minolta Maxxum 7 and I mainly use two lenses. A 28-80mm (for landscape photos) and a 70-300mm, both lenses have macro options for my close up photos. I love making close ups of flowers, hahaha, as you probably noticed, so this is a great lens to have. I love to use the 300 mm lens to zoom in and try to take photos of wildlife. If the animal is too far away, like the moose photo, I use my 400mm lens instead. Hahaha, but in this case it was still too far away to make a good shot.
What I love to do is to take pictures of a different angle, as you can see here in the photo! It does mean dirty and in this case also wet clothes, hahaha.
Now don't think I am sleeping here! I am concentrating on making a great picture of the old car that you can see in my must see activities :-) Now I am not saying that you should try to do the same, LOL, because it's not always that clever to do. But it's great to experiment with looking at a photo from different angles.
This is not a tip what you should take with you, but what you shouldn't take with you. In Killarney there is a can and bottle ban in effect. This means that you are not allowed to take any bottles or cans into the parks interior. Cans and bottles are only allowed in George Lake Campground and in parking areas of interior access points.
Luggage and bags:
When you go on a day hike it's good to take a few things along with you.
* First of all the bug repellent (see the next tip for more info).
* Sunscreen! The sun can be suprisingly strong and a sunburn is easily caught.
* Water! Hahaha, when you've done a climb uphill you certainly get thirsty. So bring plenty of water for your hike. Never use the water in the park but use bottled water.
* A park map and a trail guide. Mostly the trails are marked quite well, but it's always great to have a map and/or a trail guide with you so you keep track of where you are and how far you still have to go. The trail guides are mostly available at the start of the hike, but sometimes you have to buy them at the campground store. The trail guides at Killarney were approximately $3 CAD.
* Bring some snacks! During a hike I always get very hungry and it's great to have something to eat or snack during the hike or on a break. I always have some candy, apple or sandwich with me.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
It's wise to bring a first aid kit on your hike...... hmmm.... I have to admit that I am guilty of not bringing this with me myself, but I think it is better if you would. I do have my plasters with me in case I get blisters on my feet. When I feel I get one I always use them to protect it from getting worse.
Okay, this one is obvious... bring your camera and film! And lots of it! When you have a digital don't forget to bring some spare batteries and maybe extra memory cards to store you photos. I've made a separate tip on the photo equipment I use, so take a look there if you are interested in reading more about it.
Besides bringing water on your hike, also make sure to have plenty of bottled water with you for on your campsite. In a lot of the parks the water isn't of drinking quality. If you do want to use this water make sure you boil the water for at least 5 minutes. A lot of parks have a boil water order in effect. When this is the case you will be informed by the park with signs at the water taps. An easy moment that you forget about this rule is while brushing your teeth, so don't rinse your mouth with the campground water! The good news is that the parks are working on it to solve the problems.