Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Well Autumn is almost upon us, and Jeff and I are taking stock of what is left over from the year. This year, H20 Composites Inc. produced a few hundred canoes and rowing shells (can't tell you exact numbers), and it goes without saying that a couple of duds got in the mix. These boats are considered 'defective' in some manner or another, mostly due to some kind of cosmetic defect, usually gelcoat shrinking back during infusion, or sometimes incomplete infusion, where small areas had to have the catalysed resin rolled on by hand, and the occasional structural defect which has been repaired with the appropriate cloth. What is certain about these boats is that, apart from some apparent defect in the finished appearance, they are as tough, as durable, as light, and as good quality as all of the boats that end up at retailers, but they can be had for anywhere from a 20% to as much as a 40% savings or more off of the retail price. There aren't many, so stay tuned as I will put a list of these boats up here next week, and links to any ads I might have posted on

Monday, September 7, 2009



TYPE: Day Trip, half-day minimum to full day. Our trip including two portages, at an easy pace was 4.5 hours, plus an extra half hour for the hike.

LOCATION: East side Algonquin Park, Sand Lake Access Gate.

DRIVING DISTANCE: Two hours from Ottawa, six hours from Toronto.

COST: Vehicle Day Permit, $13 at the gate.

RESERVATIONS: Generally not necessary, first come first served.

SUITABLE FOR: Canoeists or Kayakers of any level of Experience.

FITNESS LEVEL REQUIRED: A moderate level of fitness is necessary due to the one or two portages, (depending on direction, about 500m long).

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED: Beginner to intermediate, with the ability to handle the canoe if a wind comes up the canyon.

REASONS TO GO: Incredible scenery, lack of crowds, bonus hiking trail to the top of the Canyon.


Dont drown needlessly, wear a PFD!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Well, seeing as I have five thousand words worth of pictures here, I will let them tell the story, click on any of them to enlarge (try to find the other canoe hidden in one of the photos - first correct answer posted gets a free nights stay at the Field House Bed and Breakfast in beautiful Tavistock Ontario!):

Thursday, September 3, 2009


After hiking the trail above the Barron Canyon, Rudi and I got back to the van and drove to the Brigham Lake parking lot, about 5km further up the road. Within a few minutes the canoe was offloaded, and we were heading down a fairly steep little trail toward the water, Rudi carrying the backpack and paddles, and me the canoe. We arrived at the put in, just below a small rapid, where a couple were relaxing, their canoe tucked just out of the way. By the time we loaded up and got in the water (and I returned to the van for my camera!) they were also getting ready to go. What then followed was a low speed canoe chase, which Rudi and I eventually lost! The first picture is a view looking East, downstream toward the canyon, with the couple who just passed us about fifty yards ahead. Here the canyon walls rise about 200 feet, but are well back from the river, and are simply steep, tree covered slopes. This small river section is about 1km long, and empties into Brigham lake, which is quite small, the far end of which is the first portage. The second photograph is a view looking back to the West, and Brigham Lake, where we had just landed at the take out for the first portage. The portage was only a hundred metres, and led us past some rapids, into a very small lake, which we crossed to find the takeout for the second portage. We paddled across the front of the outlet of this little lake, taking a peek over the steep set of rapids that led to Brigham falls. This portage was 440m in length, and It was a fair bit of effort raising the canoe, as it was the Fibreglass Prospector, and weighed just under 60lbs. The third photograph was taken with the canoe on my shoulders (look carefully at the strange dark part of the top of the photo, it is the inside of the canoe.) and is looking down Brigham chute, again toward the East. After this final portage, it was just some easy flatwater canoeing right into the heart of the Canyon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


On Tuesday, Rudi and I headed for the Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park. I was thinking of a not too difficult or long day trip, maybe four hours or so of canoeing including portages, and this trip fit the bill perfectly. We were also able to get in a short hike to the top of the Canyon for a simply spectacular view.

We started early, dropping Alexander off at my Sister's house in Barry's Bay just after 8 in the morning, and drove to the Sand Lake Access gate, using Station Hill Road out of Alice as a shortcut. We arrived at the gate to buy our Day Pass ($13) just after 10am, and talking with the Park Employee, determined that putting in at the Brigham lake access provided a shorter paddle (8km round trip, versus 14km) than going upstream from Squirrel Rapids. It also enabled us to check out the short hiking loop that takes one to the lookout at the top of the Canyon.

The loop is a short, fairly easy 1.5km trail that takes you from the parking lot just off the access road, up a steep hillside to the clifftop over the canyon, giving a spectacular view in both directions. The canyon here is roughly 350' deep, and has nothing to stop one from falling over the edge... Apparently, this does happen occasionally, as a person fell and died just a few years ago.


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