SUP Camping 2014 – Day 6 – 35km

Day 6 Route for my 2014 SUP camping trip

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I’m up at 7 and begin to shiver as soon as I undo my sleeping bag. I debate making some breakfast and coffee but decide to just get moving.  I pack up, put on every layer I’ve got  and am underway by 8am.

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The wind, while not as bad as the last couple of days, will still be in my face today, for at least the 1st 40min anyways…

I kneel down for the the first 30min until I am nearly across to the west side of Clear Lake and at least partially sheltered from the wind.  Then, finally back on my feet, I enjoy the scenery as the next 90min takes me at last into Young’s Point.

Back to Granny’s Restaurant for breakfast which leaves me too full to paddle as a light rain blows in.  It’s a slow day at the lock so the lock operators offer their hospitality and a spare chair in their office to pass the time and wait out this round of showers.

1pm, seems like the clouds will never break, but it’s time to start moving again.  A light drizzle continues and I set off into a light headwind towards Lakefield.  On this wet, cold, windy and cloudy day I didn’t really feel like a whole lot of sight seeing but I did feel compelled to snap a few photos on the way into town.

The water tower in the distance tells you that you’re almost there

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On a nicer day you might even want to stop at this picnic area on the side of the Otonabee.  Perhaps on the way up next time?

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Kneeling through the worst sections of wind I make good time, arriving at Lock 26 90min after leaving Young’s Point.

Should I stay the night, I wondered as I finished another bottle of water….  Nope, I’d had enough of being wet and cold.  Time to go all the way or at least give it a try.

It was 3:05 as I left Lock 26 behind.  20min of hard paddling and I was at Lock 25, waiting to be lowered to the next level.  You get a 10min wait as you get lowered down so no sense holding back on the way there, not when the locks are that close.  15min gets me to Lock 24, and another 10min break.  Lock 23 isn’t far away either, but after that it would be 8km to the Lift Lock.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to the Lift lock until just after 6pm, so the lock operator, on his way to his car at the end of his shift, looked sympathetic as he pointed me to the easiest portage route.  1 more portage to go soon thereafter to get past Lock 20 (there’s no lock 21) and I was into Little Lake to face one more stretch into a strong headwind as I made my way across the lake.

Wildrock Outfitters was closed by this point, so I’d have to wait another day to return my gear.

35km after 7 hours and 17min of paddling (including lock time) and I’d arrived back to my put in.  Phew!  My longest day ever on a SUP!

My description of the last couple of days may not make this kind of trip sound like a whole lot of fun. But what’s a nice, warm, sunny day without a cold, wet, windy one to help you appreciate it.  It’s all good.

See you on the water!

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SUP Camping Trip: Day 2

Day 2 of my stand-up paddle board (SUP) camping started early.  I was up by 6 and greeted by a beautiful day.  A thick fog rose from the water into the cool air as I prepared my breakfast over a fire.

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The water was incredibly calm and the air still as I set off to the north.

The calm morning waters of the Trent-Severn Waterway at Lock 24

The calm morning waters of the Trent-Severn Waterway at Lock 24

My plan for today was to cover just 14km which would take me to Youngs Point, and I had all day to do it.  I still didn’t know what my limit might be and I didn’t want to exceed it early in my voyage.  Something as simple as a blister on your hand on day 2 can make for a miserable trip…

Day 2 - 14km route from Lakefield to Youngs Point

Day 2 – 14km route from Lock 24, through Lakefield and finally to Youngs Point

I took advantage of my urban route and made my first stop in Lakefield, just 4km upstream, to top up my groceries before continuing on my way.  The temperature would rise to 30C so I stopped often along the next 10km, to cool down in the waters of Lake Katchewanooka, usually along the shaded side of an island, and to enjoy the many sights and sounds of the area.

Chilling out along a shaded shore of Lake Katchewanooka

Chilling out along a shaded shore of Lake Katchewanooka

I arrived in Youngs Point around 2pm.  I was going to camp by the locks, but this wasn’t my usual camping trip.  I had a picnic table, washrooms and the chance to stroll over to Lockside Trading for an Americano.  This was glamping!

Lock 27 – Youngs Point.  Lockside trading, on the left, is a popular stop for boaters and tourists

After my coffee break I replenished my water supplies – the water is not potable in the washrooms here, or at many of the locks north of Lakefield, so there is some work to be done to stay hydrated.  By then I was beginning to wonder what I would do with the rest of the day.  The boaters seem to have this figured out.  They are well accustomed to sitting around at the locks, waiting, and are quick to strike up a conversation.  Before I knew it the sun was low in the sky and it was time for dinner.

Getting my stove fired up for dinner.  Highway 28 crosses overhead and my gear dries in the background

Getting my stove fired up for dinner. Highway 28 crosses overhead and my gear dries in the background

I barely noticed the sound of traffic from Highway 28, but I did have some noisy neighbours, a family of Osprey perched atop a telephone pole nearby.

My noisy neighbours, an Osprey family, nesting nearby

My noisy neighbours, an Osprey family, nesting nearby

The day time crowd disappears soon after the Lock closes at 6pm.  Only those moored for the night remain, most sleep on their boats, a few setup tents.  Everyone stops by to say ‘Hello’ and to ask about stand-up paddle boarding (I can hardly believe the interest in SUP)  and to share the stories of their own journeys on the water.  I quickly realize that I have taken this waterway for granted all this time!  This waterway draws people from around the world and I was beginning to see why.

Stay tuned for Day 3 of my SUP camping trip as I set off in search of a place to camp on Stoney Lake.

Happy paddling.