It’s Sunday afternoon with thunderstorms expected and I figure Chaffeys to be the best place to hunker down. Hey if it gets real bad the Hotel is only 10 meters away…
Stopping for supplies in Seeleys Bay I also took a look see at the town boat launch. I added it to my GPS and headed on to Chaffeys. At the top of Chaffeys Lock road sits Jeannie’s bright red Chip Truck, where I enjoyed some of Rideaus finest fresh cut fries. I set up camp on the south east lot of Chaffeys Lock, nearest to the Opinicon portage dock.
Around 3pm I set the kayak into the southern lock entrance to Opinicon Lake and paddle south west around EightAcre Island and then explore the south eastern islands. The wind is up and the paddle is very strenuous. I take on quite a bit of water even though I have a the splash deck on. It is a very dramatic paddle, but I sleep very well that night.
The round trip of Lake Opinicon’s Murphy’s Bay and EightAcre Island is about 10km.
Monday morning I was up at 6:30 and on the water around 9. I explored the western reach of Lake Opinicon out to Darlings Bay. Along the way I passed the Queens Biological Station just west of Cow Island. The scientists must have fun there as I passed a diving board sticking out of the forest. Out at Telephone Bay I stopped for lunch on a small island with a hand powered cable ferry. I imagine the kids from the nearby camp would climb aboard the raft and pull themselves over to to the island like bringing in laundry on a clothes line. On the way back I stopped for a swim on the shore west of Cow Island. This was one of the finest days on the water and I missed my camera immensely. As I was on an extended trip I had to preserve my phone battery so there are no pictures I’m sad to report.
The round trip of Lake Opinicon’s Western reach is about 15km.
A few earlier back at Upper Brewers I met a trio of kayaks traveling up to Benson Lake. They were portaging Chaffeys Lock past my tent that afternoon and we compared notes. I discovered that one of their group had suffered a sprained wrist and couldn’t paddle anymore. They towed her to a pickup point where her trip ended. As a lone paddler that gave me reason to be careful.
A storm was brewing and the clouds were black. I was looking forward to the rain and testing the tent. All night I heard the rumble of thunder but never any rain. In the morning I noticed a car driving across the swing bridge and noted that it thundered as it passed. So much for the big storm.
I packed up camp and loaded the kayak at the north portage dock. I was heading up to Newboro for the night. I had a nice chat with Lance Jervis-Ried, captain of the tour boat Chuckles. His solar powered, bio diesel craft carries passengers through Davis Lock to Jones Falls for lunch at the Hotel Kenny and then back to the Hotel Opinicon.
The channel north from Chaffeys is beautiful, with a bed and breakfast and lovely cottages dotting the shore. The sky was gray but clearing as I entered Indian Lake which is similar to Lake Opinicon in its granite outcroppings and rugged Pine forest shoreline. Rounding west at Dunn Point and into Benson Lake the scenery changes dramatically. The water is shallow and the the cottages vanish in favour of rustic hunter cabins sitting on numerous small islands. The water is like glass and the paddling fantastic. My plan was to enter Mosquito Lake through Bowden Bay but the water was low and I could not find a way through and turned back along the north shore and headed west to the Isthmus where I stopped for lunch. While ashore I stepped on a piece of plate glass sticking up out of the ground. Fortunately it was heavily weathered and didn’t pierce my Crocks footwear. My foot was heavily bruised and I was thankful I had a first-aid kit with me. I could not imagine how I would have been able to continue if the glass had been sharp.
A tour of Indian and Benson Lakes about 10km.
I rounded the corner north into Clear Lake and on up to Newboro with the sun now shining in crystal blue skys.