Most of today’s 16 km looked something like this. We’ve left the lakes behind and we’re in the marshy territory of the Rideau River now.
It’s beautiful in its own way but my favorite shoreline and paddling so far is the rocky treed shores of the Frontenac Axis region lakes between Upper Brewers Lock and Chaffeys Lock.
A black duck (American Black Duck) takes flight as we paddle through the canal leading up to Poonamalie lock.
When @toesalad first proposed this route to me months ago I was not interested. The Rideau Canal sounds like this looks - a man made structure.
Paddling through that for a week didn’t sound fun.
I didn’t realize that the Rideau Canal is bodies of water linked together with short sections of canals and made navigable through elevation changes with locks and dams.
Most of the “canal” looks nothing like this. This is one of the most canal-like looking sections of the entire journey so far.
Outside lockstation at Lower Beveridges. About to head out.
As we finish our trip the temperatures are dropping. Last night dropped to 4C, which is unseasonably cold for this time of year. I have used all the clothes I’ve brought and am very grateful for my puffy jacket and pants, thermal and fleece layers.
When it’s cold and windy paddling is colder than hiking. You don’t expend as much energy as you do backpacking, unless you’re maybe expedition paddling.
I’m glad I took advantage of the one day this week to wear just shorts, it was my only opportunity on this trip.
Super thankful for the sun shining in these windy, cold days!
This is our third year in a row vacationing/adventuring in September. This is a lovely time of year to be out if you bring extra warm layers (which we do!)
Less people, virtually no bugs, and the beautiful, inexorable transition from summer to fall.
We’ve listened to geese and loons, day and night, and paddled passed maple trees starting to turn orange and red, golden deciduous leaves gently falling into the water, on shore goldenrods blazing yellow and michelmas asters brilliant purple.
It is a beautiful and soulful time of year. One of my favorites.
Our canoe docked for the night. Every other night we’ve kept it at our campsite. The lockmaster assured us it would be safe here (he lives in a boat on site) and directed us to a lovely camping area.
I thought this was an out of the way lock, turns out it’s one of the most popular for amenities and no doubt friendly lockmaster.
There are at least 9 other boats here tonight. Most we’ve ever seen docked.
After a short 3 km paddle through calm marshy waters we arrive at Lower Beveridges Lock #33
Originally today we hoped to go as far as Poonamalie Lock #32, which would see us finish the big lakes. My initial calculations were 24 km on the straight Nav channel, so 27 closer to shore. It was ambitious and I think we could have done it if we weren’t in a headwind today.
When we got to the lock and I got our my maps and route stats turns out we were attempting 30 km by Nav channel, at least 33 staying closer to shore. That’s almost double some of our earlier days!
As it was we did 20km today, with a nice long afternoon lunch in town and we averaged 3.2 km/hour with a headwind.
For beginners we’re pretty proud of ourselves. The tops of our shoulders are pretty sore tonight.
I wasn’t expecting much from this kind of out of the way lockstation, so I was surprised that the lockmaster is the friendliest we’ve met so far (which is saying something since they’re all friendly!)
We even got shower access! Wow. First shower in 5 days. Was worth the detour!
The lockstation is lovely and full of history as they all are.
At Rideau Ferry (community name, not actual Ferry) after 5 hours of paddling (with breaks) we rested and had a big town meal at CC’s On the Rideau.
After hours of paddling into the wind it felt so fabulous to stop and get on dry land. And after 5 nights camping it felt great to have a freshly cooked high calorie meal.
We don’t do fancy camps meals that require refrigeration etc. Apparently fancy meals are a thing with canoe camping -steaks, baked potatoes - I’ve seen videos. That’s not our style. We’ve packed food very similar to what we eat backpacking - all dried and packaged foods, but with a bit extra since we’re not doing a big resupply halfway. In a canoe it’s super easy to pack 8 days worth of food, it’s a bit trickier backpacking. Our limit is around 5 days.
So we have enough food with us for all 8 nights but we needed a town stop after all those waves and wind yesterday and today on Upper Rideau and Big Rideau Lakes.
Burgers, fries, poutine - yum!!
After late lunch which was also an early supper we got a few items at the general store including some alcohol, which we didn’t pack. And more chips and beef jerky - all the salt! And after a nice break in the warm sun we were off again to our camping spot - Lower Beveridges Lock. Which was not plan A for the night but turned out to be a wonderful plan B.
Leaving Colonel By island we traveled north east through Big Rideau Lake, aptly named.
Unfortunately, the wind was blowing south so we were paddling into a head wind most of the day.
We paddled hard today and we’re learning how to negotiate and manage wind and waves. How, where, and when to turn. Where to point our bow etc.
With breaks we averaged 3 km per hour, into 15 km per hour winds. We felt pretty proud of ourselves especially when we got to the end of the day and realized we did more km’s than we thought.