Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CONROY MARSH - July 2013

The day after our Barron Canyon trip, Rudi, AJ, Alexander and I headed out to the Conroy Marsh for what was intended to be an overnight canoing and camping adventure. The plan was to put in at Burnt Bridge Road on the Little Mississipi river, traverse the length of the marsh, taking out across Negeek lake at the MNR dock and spending the night there. Katherine would drop us off, and then meet us that evening with our tent and supplies that evening, and then the next day we would leave the MNR dock on Negeek, and take a shorter paddle up to Combermere and the take out in town.

It all started out well, albeit a little bit windy, and with those vaguely ominous little puffy clouds scudding southward overhead. Paddling was a little tough, be we made decent time down the Little Mississipi to our first break at the point that marks the entrance to the marsh.

On entering the marsh, the wind picked up a bit, and made paddling more challenging. Additionally, just over the Craigmont hill it appeared a squall had formed, and had us right in its path. I decided to try to cover more water, and lashed the boys canoe to mine to keep them in line, and really dug in. Still, progress was slow, and sure enough in less than twenty minutes the nasty weather hit, wind driving at least 50kmh, heavy rain, and the water on the marsh pushing back up into half foot tall standing waves.

Entering the Conroy Marsh on the Little Mississippi River, the marsh opens up to the right, the York River enters behind the trees directly ahead of our canoes.

AJ, Alexander and Rudi posing at our lunch stop, a small point of land that demarks the point the Little Mississippi enters the Conroy Marsh.

This was likely after we got drenched in the squall, the winds too high and the time to late to make it to the other end of the marsh, I decided to turn back.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

BARRON CANYON - JULY 2013 (Part 3)

About two kilometers past the end of the canyon, the river widened considerably into a marshy lake, and we pulled the boats up to a campsite to have a swim. Rudi 11 facing away tying up his shorts, AJ 12 looking over his shoulder at Alexander 5. This is after a seven hour day of paddling and hauling canoes over portages. Tough little kids!

A short while later, we put out again, and found the portage around Squirrel Rapids, a half kilometer trek over bouldery ground, and after three trips with backpacks, paddles, and canoes, we put in again for the last kilometer of river to the take out at the pit in an parking lot, very close to the road and bridge over the Barron River, and just down from the Sand Lake access gate.

Rudi, AJ, and Alex taking a dip in the deep cool water of the Barron river after a hard day of paddling through the canyon.

Alexander looking back upstream after our last portage, our final take out at Squirrel Rapids is downstream to the left.

Some low rock walls with the take out at Squirrel rapids just coming into view ahead of the canoes.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

BARRON CANYON - JULY 2013 (Part 2)

We paddled further down the canyon, past the highest point, and the lookout trail above. The Canyon has a curve to it, and from either end the north face marches away like silent soldiers in a never ending file. Of course, paddling the canoe well and getting an ideal photograph are mutually exclusive endeavors, so one must just do a little imagining.

I decided to continue the entire length of the Canyon, and exit at the Squirrel Rapids parking lot, even though that meant having to find a way back to the van at Brigham Lake. Squirrel Rapids is just about a kilometre from the Sand Lake access gate, and I was pretty confident I could leave the boys with the boats for a bit, make the gate, and get a lift back to the van.

With that considered, we continued paddling east, passing a group of girls heading in the opposite direction in three large canoes, and finally exited the canyon, continuing on toward the final portage upstream of Squirrel Rapids.

Looking back to the west, Rudi and AJ in the jaws of the canyon.  The walls above are about two hundred feet high.

Looking east, with the camera lens zoomed out all the way to a mid - telephoto, 105mm focal length

This picture was taken within seconds of the photograph above, with the lens zoomed back in to a fairly wide angle, 28mm

Again, this photo is within ten seconds of the previous, after turning the boat around and looking to the west.

East again, the canyon walls simply disappear from view from the river, folding away into hills on either side.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

BARRON CANYON - JULY 2013 (Part 1)

After a season generally away from canoeing for a number of reasons, including cataract surgery on my left eye last summer, Rudi, Alexander and I got back into it in grand style shortly after leaving for our first visit to the cottage over the summer holidays.

This year, we invited AJ, a friend of Rudi's from cubs, up for four days or so of paddling, and possibly an overnight trip in some fantastic country in Eastern Ontario. The canoes this year were a Swift Kipawa kevlar, and an older plastic on aluminum frame Coleman, borrowed from two of Katherine's friends. I am hoping to acquire one or two H20 Composites by the end of the summer, of course...

My bowman, Alexander this time, as we head downstrem on the Barron River from Brigham Lake

Rudi and AJ learning the finer points of steering a canoe down the channel.

The Barron Canyon opens up.

A view of the scale of the size of the Canyon. AJ and Rudi are in the red canoe in the distance, looking from our boat back upstream.

Monday, July 22, 2013


I owed Jeff a favour, so talked to him a week or so before we headed to the cottage. It turns out he had two H20 Canoes that were special ordered, and needed to be delivered to Frontenac Outfitters, along with a kayak that had been sent to him for repair. Timing worked out quite well, the boats were loaded on the van the night before, just after we had the van packed for our two weeks or so at the cottage (along with a washing machine, and a wheelbarrow). Here is the van at about six the next morning, just before I headed out for Kingston. Katherine and the boys would head out later in the little car, and meet me later that day.


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