Trip Reports

Tay River and Grants Creek Paddle 2024

2024 03 30 14 01 33 1 640 sec at f 32 0 EV ISO 100 46 mm DSC W800Tay River and Grants Creek

Perth ON. March 30 2024

Being well prepared for all eventualities with either wetsuits or dry suits and hypothermia kits, four of us - Mark, Karen, Emily and Bridget - headed west from Perth on Easter Saturday morning.

After close observation of the weather forecasts and likely wind levels, we decided the route was well within the capabilities of our paddle skills (three very experienced paddlers and me - strong though just above beginner level in my paddle skills). This was an exploratory trip and we were not sure if the water levels would enable us to do the full extent of the distance we had planned. 15-20 kms in total.

 

 

The young lady server at McDonalds in Carleton Place was a bit surprised when she was asked if she would like to hear a joke while we ordered some breakfast at the drive through en route.   Mark did us proud with his impromptu joke as always.

We parked at the end of Mill St in Perth and launched the canoes from there, heading upstream. It wasn’t a strong current but we were paddling into the wind whose strength varied as we wound our way around corners and between woodland. The forecast was for the wind to die down as the day progressed, which it did. However it changed direction, so we were heading into the wind in both directions.

The scenery was a mix of farmland and woodland, with some stretches of the river having large properties on its banks.

In the more sheltered areas, there were some wonderful photos to be taken with reflections of the bare trees in the water.  We did a short lift-over at a golf course. We saw a number of beaver lodges though no beavers appeared on this stretch of the river.

The river remains fairly wide and open along this stretch. Mark and Karen, who had been on this route in early May last year, remarked at the much lower water levels this year.

After heading upstream for a couple of hours (about 7 kms) we reached an area of rapids, just before Glen Tay Road bridge. Mark, in his own canoe, spotted a possible route through the rapids, close to the bank. We headed for it at full speed but the water level was not quite high enough. The force of the water flow pushed the nose of Mark’s canoe back downstream. It was fun trying!

We decided to take a break for lunch near Glen Tay, before returning downstream. We knew there was the option of exploring Grants Creek which branches off back near Perth, if we wanted to continue paddling after heading back downstream.

We retraced our route downstream; it’s always surprising how different it looks going the other way!

Just before reaching Perth, we forked off into Grants Creek.

The entrance was wide and after a few hundred metres we came to a small narrow rapid where we portaged the canoes, one on each side of the bank.

This route was much narrower and surrounded by reed beds. The lower water level this year meant there were some very shallow spots and we had to pick our route carefully to avoid getting stuck on the thick mud.

We enjoyed meandering up the creek and saw three beavers on this stretch. One swimming right in front of the lead canoe. Every now and then someone stood up carefully in the middle of their canoe to try and see the route ahead, above the reeds.

Having paddled about 4 kms up the creek we came to a substantial beaver dam across a wide area of the creek. There was no obvious place to pull the canoes over the dam.  If there had been higher water levels, we might have reached John Miller Park, a good stopping spot others visited last year.  We decided to turn around and head back downstream, again picking our route carefully to keep in deep enough water.

Soon after turning back, we could see the water tower of Perth in the distance. A good landmark well above the reeds, though our route was not at all a straight line towards it.

By the time we pulled the canoes out of river back at Mill St, we had paddled about 20 kms. A lovely mix of open countryside, bare trees, a few bridges and a few homes along the river followed by a winding creek bordered by reeds.

A large ice cream each in Perth prepared us for the hour or so drive back to Ottawa.  Written by Bridget.

Mill St Launch Tay R

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Tay R Golf Course

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Tay R

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Tay R

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Tay R

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Tay R.

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 Tay R

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Glen Tay Road

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Grants Creek

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Grants Creek

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Grants Creek

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Grants Creek

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Grants Creek

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 Tay and Grants Creek Routes - Credit Google Maps

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Tay Map - Credit Tay Valley Township

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