Thursday, July 9, 2009


I got away with my little bowman Rudi on a big canoe adventure today, a three hour trip across Negeek Lake and into the Conroy Marsh and back. We drove down the Palmer Rapids Road South of Combermere (Highway 515), and found a cottage access road north of Jewelville that ended near the Southern end of Negeek Lake (Negeek is tha large body of water on the Google Earth map, top left), with a little track maintained by the MNR that led further to a grassy turnaround, and an old boat launch with a short log crib pier (Top photo). Ten minutes later the canoe was in the water and we were paddling across the shallow lake. I had to overcome my ridiculous fear of shallow water - for some reason I get really nervous about what is coming up underneath the boat, and I get the willies when I can see the bottom vegetation and muck. I think it has to do with the fact I would probably freak out if the boat got upset, and I had to swim in all that crap, so I reassured myself that there was no way in hell the Canadian was going to tip over on flat water on a warm, calm summer day!

It was fairly easy to find the entrance to the York River across the lake, up which the Conroy Marsh wandered, and we paddled through the wide river mouth, with a line of steep hills to our right, and most of the marsh and further hills off to the left. By this time I'd overcome my fear of the shallows, and was paddling close to reeds and lilies, not worried about the murky bottom (Middle photo). For about half an hour we paddled Southwest, mostly along the main channel, and then exploring some side channels on the South side of the main.

The side channels were of a consistant width, about thirty feet or so, and were divided by hillocks of probably spongy waterlogged ground, supporting in some cases small stands of trees (Bottom photo). In other areas, some mammoth rock outcroppings rose above the surface, around which these channels formed. Paddling quietly down one, we surprised a Buck, who looked up, decided we were a bit of trouble, and bounced away to the South. Rudi was very excited, as we had just rounded a corner, and the Deer was less than 80 feet away. We also saw a number of geese, a variety of ducks, and a pair of Great Blue Heron. After spending another half hour or so checking out various little channels, we found the main course again, and headed back down river to Negeek Lake, then across and back to the put-in. The canoe handled nicely, stable and predictable, and was quite easy to paddle, even for a relative novice like me. Rudi does have a bit of improving to do, as more often than not his paddle is in the boat, not the water!

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