This book covers the Ontario region closest to the American border and just a couple hours drive from Toronto. Here are 20 perfect quick-getaway canoe routes for one-, two- and three-day paddles. All are easy on the portages, big on the rewards of nature and not too far from your own backyard.
These routes offer a variety of experiences, from cushy trips for novice paddlers to more challenging excursions for experienced canoeists.
With eight titles to his credit, Kevin Callan is the leading author of books on canoeing in Ontario. He is a regular contributor to several outdoors magazines, a popular speaker at North American canoe gatherings, and a frequent guest on radio and television. He lives in Peterborough, Ontario, birthplace of the famous Peterborough canoe and home of the Canadian Canoe Museum.
I believe all canoeists dream of that far-off northern canoe route, one that would take at least a month to complete and be free of any roads or cottage development along the way. It would be a place where cell phones wouldn't ring, long grueling portages would be the norm, and the only signs of civilization would be the sound of a jet flying high overhead or the blinking of a satellite spotted among the millions of stars spread out across the night sky.
This guidebook has little to do with such an intense journey. A Paddler's Guide to Weekend Wilderness Adventures in Southern Ontario is for those moments in between. It's for times when your job limits you to just a lousy weekend to head off and reenergize yourself, for parents looking for a not-so-wild place to introduce their children to the wonders of canoe travel, for when your skill level isn't quite up to snuff yet to take on that extended trip to the north. And it's also for all those lucky paddlers who somehow do find the time to paddle in wild, remote places for long periods of time and are just looking for a quick fix for now while they wait for the ice to thaw.
To canoe these semi-wild routes, you still have to be prepared, however. On Crotch Lake, a place free of any portages, it's important to have a canoe large enough to haul all the cozy lawn chairs, coolers and other campsite paraphernalia you want to make your night out as comfortable as possible. Be sure to bring enough change to purchase a coffee at the park store that's strategically placed halfway along the portage at Murphys Point Provincial Park. And when you meet the flyin fishermen on Noganosh Lake, the guys who have spent a fortune to "get away from it all," don't forget to be courteous enough to lie about how easy and cheap it was for you simply to paddle in.
When traveling routes that are close to home, what's most important to pack along is a sense of humor. Add cows to your list of possible wildlife sightings while on the Beaver River in Grey County. Before camping at Sauble Falls Provincial Park, it's a good idea to purchase a can of pepper spray to ward off the thieving raccoons that sneak into camp at night. Helmets should be worn on London's Thames River to protect yourself against out-of-control golf balls. And last but certainly not least, irate landowners who, for some reason or another, seem to think they own the rights to the Credit River near Georgetown should be ignored at all cost. Sounds serious, I know, but you should have to deal with a few annoyances in the south before embarking on your dream trip to the far north.
I hope this book inspires you to get your feet wet. Go canoeing!
Before You Go