Trip #1 Lets go paddling

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I have enjoyed the Rideau Canal Waterway for decades. I canoed from Ottawa to Kingston and back while in high school and the experience continues to resonate decades later.

The Rideau Waterway is 202 kilometers one way so unless you have someone pick you up at the destination, a round trip is needed. That’s a lot of water to paddle. I kayak in the Toronto area and really wanted to try my hand at expedition trips along the Rideau Waterway. Learn more about how I got started.

I discovered some great paddling routes on the web that inspired a kayak-camping trip that could reward and still get me back to Toronto for Monday morning. Most lockstations have parking, washrooms and overnight camping, so I was good to go? I researched trips and started planning.  I began by testing a small tent in the backyard and assembled my kit over several weeks. I measured my kayak cargo space and weighed everything.

My unorthodox approach would entail driving back and forth from lock to lock as weather and whim suggested. I would paddle the lakes above and below each lock until I was confident I could go on a multi-day expedition without any support. I would be road tripping as much as kayaking.

I obtained a set of navigation charts for Smiths Falls to Kingston and started working out day trips around each lock. When I was confident with my little kayak and gear I’d try out on multi-day trip.

So, on Friday June 29th 2012, I traveled to Ottawa for lunch with my Mom. I planned to overnight at Hartwell’s Lock…