Tag Archives: kayaking

Cottage time!

It’s a bit like having a magic portal when ‘going to the cottage’ requires no packing or travel, just a determination and discipline to embrace our home as we would a rental and ‘not do’!

A dear UK friend asked us what made us think to do this but, in truth, I know few people who live in this amazing area we call our home who regularly choose to go away during the summer. Instead, we head for the water and move lazily from hammock to gazebo or fire pit!

We kayaked on Loughborough Lake, a 20-minute drive to the dock at Battersea; at times it felt almost like wilderness and at others what we term rural suburbia but always beautiful, blessed by loons and herons and so quiet! It was lucky that Paul snapped his paddle before we set out and even luckier to be able to get a new one just 12 minutes’ drive away.

We explored the south end of Dog Lake in our underpowered metal tub, Tin Lizzie, running out of fuel just at the tip of Carrying Place – we paddled over to a neighbour who kindly ran us up the road to fetch the extra fuel.

These minor adventures are the true stuff of Canadian cottage time!

The 'Cottage'
The ‘Cottage’

We learned more about the origins and build of our house over a cream tea here with the original owners and about the past and renovation of the beautiful Arts and Crafts home on Beaupre Island, truly a piece of living history.

The house on Beaupre Island
The house on Beaupre Island

We ate out a couple of times (at the Holiday Country Manor and the Opinicon Pub – both in local villages), just enough to feel we were ‘away’, with simple cottage BBQs and salads the rest of the time.

And we were blessed with 10 days of probably the best weather this summer so far – golden and hot without being suffocating.

Mostly what stays with me is time to just sit and soak up the sights and sounds, the delight of being distracted from my book by the whirring wings and peeping of the hummingbirds and the orange flashes of the Monarch butterflies, and the sense quiet companionship – with Paul and with all that is.


It was so tempting just to ‘stay at the cottage’ . . .

Summer Reflections 1: A Watery Affair

Our photo album tells the love-story of a summer’s kayaking . We paddled (and I swam) in three of the Great Lakes (if you count Georgian Bay as the extension of Lake Huron), as well as exploring rivers and marshes. Always, here, good weather lures us outside; now, in the warmer months, I hunger to get out on the water.

[Not a valid template][Not a valid template][Not a valid template]

[Not a valid template]Our longest paddle to date took us 12 km down the Beaver River, skirting submerged hazards and occasionally cutting back the dead-fall; all around us was the rich summer-green of early July woodland, wild and timeless. As we journeyed, a relay of kingfishers called their warning of our passage. The sighting of a bald-eagle nest was a truly special gift.

For more photos, see our Gallery (Beaver River and Nicolston Dam)!

[Not a valid template]A gentle exploration of Gull Lake (Gravenhurst) warmed us up for slightly more challenging expeditions on Manitoulin Island, the biggest freshwater island in the world. On Maintoulin, we circuited Manitouwaning Bay (which opens onto Georgian Bay) from Two O’Clock to Manitouwaning and back across open water. And we paddled up the Kagawong River into Lake Kagawong, fighting the wind back down the lake, then floating lazily with the river’s gentle flow to our start point above Kagawong’s Bridal Falls – time disappears out on the water as the peace, the light and the reflections seep into the soul.

[Not a valid template][Not a valid template][Not a valid template]
[Not a valid template]
[Not a valid template][Not a valid template][Not a valid template]

For more photos, see our Gallery (Summer Trip 2013)!

At Canada’s southernmost tip, the marshes at Point Pelee were almost eerie in their quietness (or possibly Erie – sorry, bad pun!) and the light was especially awesome; but it was the paddle from our B&B, with a short portage across a sand bar, into Wheatley Provincial Park that delivered more herons than we have ever seen and a white wonder of egrets.

[Not a valid template][Not a valid template][Not a valid template]
[Not a valid template][Not a valid template][Not a valid template]
[Not a valid template][Not a valid template][Not a valid template]
[Not a valid template]
[Not a valid template][Not a valid template][Not a valid template]

For more photos, see our Gallery (Essex County – Ontario)!

Nearer to home, from our local beach, a sunset paddle along the shores of Lake Ontario below the Hunt Club amazed us again that we can live in a city yet, with very little effort, feel so far away from it all! And the return view of the down-town lit red and gold still takes my breath away.

[Not a valid template][Not a valid template]


Waterfall Walking in Grey County

Bridal veils, cascades, double plunge – what an abundance of waterfalls Grey County has!  A largely sunny Easter weekend provided the perfect opportunity to enjoy them in full flow.

[Not a valid template] [Not a valid template]

The steep climb up through the woods to Indian Falls gifted us not only with stunning views of the falls themselves, but also a glorious meadow, cut through by the sinuous stillness of the river. A bat, flying across the blue of a daylight sky, transfixed us (I hope that this was not an aberration caused by the fungus that is attacking bats in Ontario) – and a butterfly echoed the blue of the sky. A scramble down rocks to the foot of the falls increased our sense of their size and power – I had a momentary awareness of what it must have been like to arrive, all unsuspecting, at Niagara in its natural state. If you look at the photo to the right above, you will just see Paul, photographing under the falls, which helps give a sense of the size of them.

[Not a valid template]

Sitting at the foot of Jones Falls, I marveled at the strands of diamonds behind the white shrouds as the cascading Spring water roared.

[Not a valid template]

Ingliss Falls, in the past harnessed to various human purposes (flour, bran, wool), pound their way down an impressive drop – a lovely spot for an Easter Monday picnic.

[Not a valid template]

Walters Falls impressed us least, though almost made up for this with a serenely still millpond above a weir.

[Not a valid template] Our Easter break had started with Kayaking; the Beaver River, as a novice, I left to Paul as it included scary-sounding class 1 rapids;  Lake Eugenia was a great spot for my first paddle of 2012 –  disconcerting in the pull of wind and current as we paddled out to the island, blissfully still and peaceful in the lee, then exhilarating using the edge of the wave to power my stroke on the way back (though I rightly guessed that my arms would tell me about it later!).

There was still more water at the Scandinave Spa – hot pools (with man-made waterfalls), steam and sauna punctuated with frigid plunges and quiet time in rooms with panoramic windows looking out into the trees.

Having spent a couple of nights with old friends, we spent three nights just south of Wiarton making new ones at the wonderful Evergreen Forest Resort B&B in the heart of the forest – thank you, Doug and Carolyn, for being such warmly welcoming hosts!

The only thing wrong with our Easter break was that it went much too fast!

For more photos, see Grey County in our Ontario Photo Gallery