Rideau Canal kayaking Weeknd

Rideau Canal 2010

Friday, July 9: Newboro
Robert and I were the first ones to arrive. After securing a parking spot, we walked to town looking for lunch.  To our dismay, we found that the restaurant and café we enjoyed so much last year was replaced by a shoe store. Instead, we went next door to Stirling Lodge hotel that seemed to have the only restaurant in Newboro. We ate and made dinner reservation for the group knowing the plan was to eat out. Just as we left the restaurant it started to rain.
After we got back, Tim and Karen, Rick and Cindy, Walt and Hugh, and Kim and Sue arrived. We started setting up camp feeling lucky that the rain had stopped. We went out for a leisurely 40 minute paddle around two small islands. It started to rain again. By the time we got back it was time for dinner.
Ten of us walked to Stirling Lodge and settled inside the rustic dining room. Even before our drinks arrived, someone spotted Roger and Anne drive by. Rick volunteer to track them down and soon they joined us for dinner. The meal was a long and pleasant affair. The food was good and the atmosphere cheerful. Just as we were ready to leave, Pam joined us in tipped off by Roger’s car parked in front of the hotel. We were only missing Nina, who showed up shortly after.
We spent the evening sitting around a picnic table in the dark talking, drinking vodka and wine, and trying not to feed abundant mosquitoes. We turned in around 10.

Saturday, July 10: Newboro to Davis Lock
As usual, the group was up around 6 am. We gathered around the picnic table, and everybody whipped up whatever they had for breakfast. We packed up and half of the group departed to shuttle cars to Seeley’s Bay, while the rest waited. We reunited around 9 and set out for Chaffeys Lock.
The sun was brilliant, and it was incredibly hot. The water temperature was astonishing 80 degrees F. The waterways were calm and motorboat traffic scarce. We made frequent shade stops around multiple islands and took to wetting our hats every so often, which helped us stay cool. We made sure to stay well hydrated even if it meant more frequent bathroom stops. We spotted several loons, birds of prey, and a giant nest. We also discovered that, for the first time, we weren’t alone on our VHF radio pleasure channel 69. We were utilizing a built-in Canadian frequency so that we could be heard on Channel 16 should we need help. At first we wondered why Rick sounded so darn unintelligible before we realized we were hearing French. Oops.
The 7 miles to Chaffeys lock went by fast. Some people took out at a boat launch and portaged to the lock, others took out right by the lock practicing their kayak yoga by exiting onto a high deck. All funky exits and entries onto and off of various platforms were easier this year.  We plopped the heavy kayaks on the grass and found a shady spot to have lunch. It was a beautiful day. Having rested and eaten, we portaged the boats up and down the asphalt and gravel roads to the boat launch on the other side of the lock. We set out once again, only to be stopping after another 2 miles at our final destination for the day: Davis Lock.
The heat tired us out, so we were happy to conclude the day. We took out and set up camp as quickly as we could, as we all were dying to go for a swim. It was a well deserved delight. We swam and hang out on top on a large underwater rock like a bunch of kids. We also washed up a bit so that we wouldn’t offend fellow campers with the smell.
We gathered together for dinner. Anne was scrupulously documenting everybody’s fine dining menu and their selected methods of cooking. It was chicken with fresh yellow peppers and onions for Walt; lasagna for Sue, Pam, Aneta and Robert (although different cooking methods); beans and rice for Tim and Karen; a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for Nina; beef jerky for Kim; and re-hydrated dinners for Hugh, Rick and Cindy, and Anne and Roger. We spent the rest of the evening by the same table drinking some wine and vodka once again.
The night was eventful for those who were up. A large porcupine was sighted by several campers in the reportedly bright moonlight.
Sunday, July 11: Davis Lock to Seeley’s Bay
Once again, we were up about 6 am. Quick breakfast and packing, and we were on the water hardly past 8 o’clock. We paddled about 3 miles to our favorite spot: Jones Lock. Jones Lock is a very attractive area with a four level lock, an ice-cream store and diner in one, a nice swimming area, a blacksmith shop, and beautiful lawns. We started with a lengthy and strenuous portage up and down a very steep hill. The route had to be done twice for those who shared wheels. Then everybody scattered to their favorite activities: some napped in the shade of a large willow tree, some hit the diner for some real food, most took a refreshing swim, and everybody had lunch and ice-cream. We really enjoyed ourselves.
We set out for the last segment of the trip. The closer we were to our destination, the denser the motorboat traffic. One large wake nearly took Robert out. We arrived at Seeley’s Bay around 2 pm. We took out and unpacked accompanied by black flies. The trip was over, and while most people went home, some enjoyed one more meal and dessert together.
Trip Stats
This year we had 14 participants: 6 men and 8 women. As far as the boats, there were four Current Designs, three Eddylines, two Tahe Marines, one Boreal Design, one Wilderness System, one Valley Avocet, one P&H, and one Venture. Half of those boats were “millionaire boats” as Walt called them, and the rest were plastic. Aside from Kim’s bungees breaking loose from her kayak, which made it difficult to carry it, there were no mishaps.
It was another wonderful trip with great weather, wonderful company, and amazing nature around.

Report by Aneta Nessel Images by: Kim Wojnowicz, Anne Schofield, and Roger Harrod

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