Monday, June 9, 2014

Paddling the Saugeen

The Saugeen River is the best paddling in this part of southern Ontario, with bits of gentle (class 1) white water that make it a lot of fun - or a good learning experience for a family.  So we reached out beyond the valley and headed toward Hanover, Ontario, to catch the upper part of the Saugeen.

It was just an absolutely beautiful paddling day, with bright blue sky and a fair breeze - which both kept it cool and kept the bugs away!

We started at an old unused iron bridge upstream of Hanover (at access point 2, since access point 1 apparently doesn't exist).  There's a great paddling map for Grey County which shows details of all the popular canoe opportunities.  After doing the car shuffle to leave one downstream, we headed out.

On this trip we had two other friends in their own canoe, who feature incognito in a few of these pictures ('cause they were usually ahead of us).

There were numerous sweepers (fallen trees at water level) which narrowed the channel, one of which was recent and a little tricky to get past.  But of course I'm paying attention to paddling at that point, so all the pictures you're seeing are of relatively placed stretches of the river.  But this tree looks like it will be a sweeper soon, and narrow the channel dramatically.

A few Mergansers and Canada Geese, here a group of four adults with a few young that have grown beyond their yellow fluff.  I learned through an earlier blog comment that such a multi-family group of geese is called a creche.  There's a fourth adult out of the picture, and a few goslings already hidden in the grass.

And we paddled under two old railway bridges, the train tracks and trains long since gone.  This is part of the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway built in the 1870s, now a walking/biking/etc. trail.  It appeared that the cement pillars are original, but the bridge itself is new - nowhere near large enough to support a train!

The weather was simply gorgeous, and the greens along the river almost fluorescent.  Several times we said to ourselves that 'you couldn't have a better day for paddling'.

 We portaged around the dam in Hanover, and enjoyed lunch sitting on a log in the shade before continuing downstream to find the other car, simply a great day for a paddle.

The upper half of the stretch we paddled had some interesting gentle whitewater like this, taken looking upstream at the bridge where we started.  But of course going through these stretches the camera is in its dry bag, and my hands are on the paddle.  At times it was quite exciting, though the pictures don't capture that.

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  1. Lovely water, and the white stuff, maybe I'll lend you Hugh's GoPro for that, it has a helmet mount as well as another for on the quad!!! He has taken some exciting, and one very scary video, when a friend tipped over his quad as it went backwards!! Funniest part, they didn't realise it was all on video till they gathered themselves when all was well!! Cheers, Jean.

  2. What a beautiful and peaceful place!

  3. Wow---what fabulous photos and what a terrific day you had... SO--you had calm waters but you also had some white-water... Sounds like the best of all worlds...


  4. Beautiful shots!

    My grandfather had a farm alongside one of the branches of the Saugeen, south of Hanover, if I recall.

  5. That looks like fun! Beautiful country - I especially like your first photo.

  6. Absolutely beautiful photos! That first one drew me right in!!

  7. Looks like great fun. I have never canoed and at seventy-one years of age I doubt that I am about to start!

  8. Oh wow, that looks like a lot of fun. What beautiful weather and your photos are fabulous.

  9. Such beautiful scenery along the river. I haven't canoed in 38 years!