Friday, 30 July 2010

LOL - more info

Glad you enjoyed the photos from my trip!

Anne of Film and Thread was very interested in more details about my trip:

"That looks like loads of fun! Did you stay in your canoe going through the locks or did you have to go out and carry it around? More details, please?! Did you camp at night? Were all 3 of you in one canoe?"

Well, there were three of us on the trip, and we all paddled in the same canoe (a 3-seater, the middle person paddled as well). We started in Kingston, Ontario, and paddled about 100 km north to Smith Falls. We had hoped to go all the way to Ottawa (twice the distance), but decided sleeping in and stopping for frequent dips in the lakes was more important.

At the first lock station, we portaged, i.e. unpacked the canoe and lugged everything including the boat up several flights of stairs, across a street and down some stairs to the other side of the lock.

Because we were bruised and in pain after that - mostly because we had packed too much stuff, but also because carrying a canoe up the stairs is quite painful for the person in the back, with the canoe pushing down on the neck and shoulders, we bought a lock pass and went through all the other locks, either by ourselves or with the many yachts and speedboats that we encountered.

We only found out before the last lock that boats wanting to go through the lock had to dock at the part of the dock that was painted blue. Up until then we just waive and hollered or walked up to the lock master house :) It turns out that when we actually docked at the blue dock on the last lock, we set there for 20 min waiting for the lock to open until I eventually got out and found all the lock masters eating lunch - they hadn't even noticed us because they're mostly looking for yachts, i.e. big boats. From the lock master house, our canoe wasn't even visible because the dock was so high :)

We felt like quite a novelty, canoeing the canal - most people implied that that is rare, staring at us in awe and waving while they raced by instead of slowing down (you're supposed to slow down so that the wake you create doesn't flip the little canoe) - I guess when you're not used to a canoe or people canoeing around you, you don't know about those things :). We only saw 3 other canoes on the entire trip, but probably more than 100 motor boats. The size of the cottages (I mean, mansions), went hand in hand with that observation.

We camped at the lock stations (only 5$ per person and there were bathrooms), and once in a provincial park when there was a long leg between two stations. Camping would have been a lot more comfortable if we had had a big enough tent, but through some lack of communication between the tent borrower and the tent loaner, we ended up with a 2-man tent for 3 people! That was cozy (hah) the first night and ended up in one friend sleeping under a tarp the rest of the nights.

The sights along the canal/lakes were awesome. We saw a lot of loons and herons, Canada geese where on the move in large groups, ospreys and other birds of prey circles overhead and we even glimpsed some turtles and a deer by the shore in the provincial park.

By the time we reached Smith Falls, all of our shoulders were solid knots and we no longer joked about going on to Ottawa :) Two of us had repetitive strain symptoms at the end of the trip - my wrist actually tingled with every paddle stroke, I never expected that!
We took the bus back to Kingston, and then two of us made the 15 h drive back to the Maritimes. After that, I spent a whole day at home, mostly horizontally in bed or on the couch, reading a book from cover to cover - I had serious reading withdrawal :)

If anyone is interested in doing the trip either by paddle boat or in a motor boat, there's a great site that tells all you need to know about the canal - it's truly an experience worth it!


Anne at Film and Thread said...

Thank you so much! It was a blast to hear more about your trip. I would have had no idea that you could take a canoe through the locks because I would have thought there would be too much turbulence. Even though you were sore and tired, it had to be a fantastic experience!

Crispy said...

It was fun reading more about your trip. I wish I had that kind of energy :0)


Nichole said...

it looks like you had a really fun trip! my husband does a canoe trip every summer with a handful of his friends (actually, he leaves monday!). i always think it would be fun to do the girls version since women are strictly prohibited on the man-cation. :)

Rebekah said...

I loved reading the details about this. I think it would be fun to try next summer, although the hand pain doesn't sound as appealing!