Trip Reports

Trip report – St Lawrence Seaway at Ingleside

DSC00607 EditSt Lawrence Seaway at Ingleside

Four keeners met at the boat house on August 29 despite a weather report for possible thunder storms for the St Lawrence Seaway where we were planning to paddle for the day.

We had a leisurely start (isn’t 9am leisurely??) and as three of us had not met before, a nice opportunity for introductions to our new friends whilst loading up a club canoe.

The second canoe has a lovely story. Its owner Bob is a retired minister and as his retirement gift his congregation bought the necessary materials and arranged for him to build himself a cedar canoe with an experienced canoe builder. The result is a 90lb beauty. It is red - they go faster don’t they? It has a flat stern to accommodate an electric motor. Bob has a great system to load and unload the canoe onto his car by himself with use of a small trolley and a rotating support that is attached to his tow hitch, and holds the canoe above the trunk of the car. The nose of the canoe is on the ground while Bob lifts the stern onto the support, then rotates it through 45 degrees as he lifts the bow around to the front of the car to put the canoe on the roof rack.

 Our drive took around an hour to the Ingleside put in, west of Cornwall. There are no parking fees and no other cars in sight when we arrived.

We unloaded and headed down stream following the shore in anticipation of seeing the remains of several villages that had been flooded back in the 1950’s when the Seaway was created.

It wasn’t long after our departure that the thunder started and was getting closer. Our wise leader headed straight towards the shore and as we got out of the boats the rain started. It was heavy rain and it was accompanied by occasional lighting strikes. By now in our rain gear and a garbage bag cut open for good measure, we were entertained in great style by Mark’s jokes and discussion of previous trips we had enjoyed over the summer.

When the skies began to clear and the rain subsided, we were eager to get on our way again after almost an hour on the shore.

It is an interesting area to paddle with 12 islands following the shoreline of the Long Sault Parkway. They are linked by a road which uses either bridges or causeways to connect the islands together.

There were a couple of areas where tree stumps were sticking up above the surface of the water, standing to attention. Presumably these were part of a forest before the flooding and even now the water tends to be shallow in these areas.

As we continued on, we saw a small group of otters playing ahead of us in the water.

There were lots of geese and cormorants around.

Now we began to see cut timbers underwater from time to time and then some stone outlines of possible buildings. Its amazing what 70 years of water flow can do to disguise a previous dwelling. It was shallow in the areas where we saw these remnants and being so intrigued with them we didn’t notice that we were no longer able to float. Time to get out and tow the canoes for a hundred yards into deeper water.

We found a little sandy beach for our lunch break and continued on towards the last bridge, following the shoreline. The beaches that we saw were not in deep water areas so we did not venture in for a swim.

We decided not to go the final 2 kms to the bridge, but turned around to go upstream and head back to the put in. We did notice there was very little current - the weeds were standing straight up in the water not being swept down stream as you would expect in a stronger current.

We also noticed a couple of rather large ducks (in the form of trees) as we paddled past one of the islands.

A couple of short breaks for a drink and a rest and we had done 17.5 kms by the time we took the canoes out.

Having worked up an appetite we headed to a little Mexican cafe 3 kms from the put in for supper and were back in Ottawa around 8pm.

The pleasant and interesting scenery, good company and the Mark Scott brand of jokes made for a very enjoyable day.

Bridget D.

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