Monday, August 1, 2011

CASSON AND THE CONROY MARSH - PART 2

After stopping in Combermere at the internet hotspot / cafe / laundromat for a maple blend coffee and to find out if there is a fair place to put on the north side of the Conroy Marsh, we drove south on old highway 517 and then Lower Craigmont road to the hamlet of Mayhew Landing. Unlike the vast majority of Ontario cottage country, the road access here was on the lake side of the waterfront properties, and in Ontario would generally be considered a public allowance: I tried knocking on two of the cottages closest to the end of the road to ask if we could use their waterfront or even dock to put in, though there was no answer. We took our gear and canoe to the first dock, and loaded up.

Immediately looking out to the left, the marsh continued just a few hundred metres before opening into Negeek Lake on the Madawaska River. This is where the marsh channel, actually the York River, ends and empties into the Mighty Madawaska.

We turned west, and paddled into the marsh, which stretched away at least five miles in front of us. Just fifteen minutes of easy paddling brought us to a large beaver lodge. As we approached within about fifty feet, there was a quick flash of brown, and a large slap of a beaver tail against water! Knowing that they were aware of us now, we turned to the left and away from the lodge. Immediately beneath and to the right of the canoe there was a large turbulence of the bottom silt, with large clouds of muck roiling away underneath and alongside the canoe, moving ahead as we paddled forward. A panicked thought of  mammoth canoe tipping beavers flashed into my mind, quickly dispelled of course! Within half a minute, a brown head popped up fifty yards ahead of the canoe! We paddled towards it, and after closing half the distance, he dove under, only to appear a few hundred feet further along. 


Looking east from Mayhew Landing, across the York River, and the outlet of the Conroy Marsh, to the hills across Negeek Lake (hidden from view behing the low bank of green).


Paddling westerly, about 500 metres from Mayhew Landing. A large beaver lodge is ahead of the canoe. The 'mountain' in the background is about two to three miles away, and is the location of the historic Craigmont corundum mine.


A close up of the beaver lodge, The Conroy Marsh enables lazy beavers, as they do not have to do any dam building whatsoever..

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