As I mentioned yesterday, 10km of paddle boarding tends to leave me rather exhausted, so for day 1 of my trip I planned a route up to Lock 24, a distance of 14km with 5 portages. This I estimated to take about 3hrs. I would realize later that I really hadn’t thought this through very well…
I left Wildrock Outfitters with my rental SUP around 330pm, walked it the 300m or so over to the river and already I had discovered a bit of a problem with my plan. These boards, weighing in at around 40lbs are a pain in the butt to carry over any distance. They have a hand grip in the middle of the board, making for an easy one-handed carry, freeing up your other hand for your paddle. This is great when you carry it from your rack to the water at the cottage when you’re only going 50ft or so. After a few hundred meters your forearm is on fire! Problem #2: As I was leaving late, most of the locks would be closed as I approached so I figured I would just portage every lock and skip on a Lock pass. I didn’t think much of it, until I arrived at the mighty Peterborough Lift Lock, my third portage of the day.
The Peterborough Lift Lock is huge! The portage is only about 400m, but it is like walking up an 8 story building twice with 1/2 your gear each time! Oh well, the view is quite nice once you’re up. I had already emptied two water bottles paddling here, so I filled up with a hose at the top of the Liftlock and was on my way after enjoying the view for a moment longer.
The other bonus of late day paddling is that, with the exception of 1 rower and 2 guys fishing, I’d have the waterway to myself for the next 11km. Once past Lock 21 this urban waterway has a very country feel to it. There are very few buildings on its shore until you get to Trent University, so you easily feel like you’re in cottage country already. I had just 2 more portages to go (Lock 22 and 23) and I arrived happily at Lock 24 around 830pm, as the sun was setting, about 90min behind schedule. The portages had taken a lot out of me. My forearms were fried from carrying the board over each lock but I would sleep very well that night! 🙂
Stay tuned for Day 2 of my SUP camping trip: