Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Last Paddle of the Year!

The Pigeon river

Ok so I haven't posted much this summer. In fact I haven't posted at all. I have been busy with a variety of projects and haven't done a lot of my usual summer outdoor activities to the level that my wife and I enjoy. No camping at all! A few reasons for that but mostly because Jake, our youngest has been getting us up every couple of hours at night. The burden for this has fallen mostly on my wife and I marvel at her ability to function on the broken sleep she gets. However it is one thing to have a baby awake in a multilevel house and quite another to deal with one in a tent or trailer. Next summer will be different.

Jake's first paddle!

Anyways to make a long story short we did day things when we could and did get Jake out for a kayak ride. He isn't impressed with wearing a life jacket! He'll learn to love it!
Yesterday the weather looked good and who knows how many more days we will get like that so I threw the canoe on the roof of the car and drove up to the Pigeon River. I had heard from a coworker that the section near Golf Course Rd. east of Highway 35 was a wild stretch of river. His words were that it felt like you were "way up north!"
I had never been to this place so I went to Google Maps and found the intersection of Golf Course Rd. and St. Mary's Rd. On Google Maps it shows a place called Mt. Horeb. Here the Pigeon River shows up on the map as it flows northeast toward Omemee. This is about a half hour drive from my place in Bowmanville, and when I got to the place there wasn't a single house, nor any mountains so I don't know what the Mt. Horeb refers to! There was a small wooden bridge over the Pigeon River and on the southeast side of this bridge was a place to launch a canoe. There is not much in the way of parking though. The road has deep ditches on either side and no real pulloff, so you have to be careful parking. On the plus side there is not much traffic in downtown Mt. Horeb.

The bridge on St. Mary's Rd.

The river is about twenty feet wide at the bridge and widens as you go downstream. As you can see on Google map or satellite it is a meandering stream with lots of curves.

The Pigeon River southwest of Omemee

The river runs through a swampy forest and there is no sign of humanity to be seen. As I rounded one of the myriad of bends I flushed a group of about ten or so Wood Ducks. Other than that though there was very little in the way of life to be seen. There were lots of small fish to be seen in the river, species unknown. It would be very different in the spring time though as swamps are generally very full of birdlife and wildlife in general. I did see a single frog(Leopard?) that was so cold he could barely move. He should have been in hibernation already, I think. After about a half hour of paddling downstream I decided that I didn't want to go to far and have to fight the current on the way back so I headed back toward the bridge. As I got nearer I was followed by a Great Blue Heron that passed over my head at about 20 feet and settled on the side of the river about forty feet ahead of me.

Great Blue Heron in flight

I think he was looking for that frog! Upstream from the bridge the river is smaller but still plenty navigable by canoe. I continued upstream for about twenty more minutes and the river is still twenty feet wide at least. The terrain is very similar and the only sign of man is the bridge on St. Mary's Rd. I will definitely be back to explore this area more in the coming year, but I will probably put in at one of the crossings farther downstream on Mt. Horeb Rd. and paddle back upstream until I get tired and then float back down to the put in with the current. Hopefully the parking may be better as well.
When I got home I hung the canoe back up in the rafters of the garage until next year. For now, the water is cold and there is lots to do on land and snow! I might even post a little more regularly!!

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  1. good stuff.How olds the young lad?Mine is 3 and can sit in the kayak himself and paddle with an adult blade.(with me close by!)

    It's amazing what they can pick up from watching.I kept telling him to edge as I tipped the kayak onto its edge to turn...how he screams edge and turn!its awesome.

    The waters not frozen yet...you can still haul her out!

    Nice blog

  2. Hi. The "young lad" in the photo in this post is going to be one in December, so when the photo was taken he would have been around 8 months. A little too young for his own Kayak but in a few years, yes!
    As to pulling out the boats again, with the weather we have had lately I have been sorely tempted, but the hiking and biking have been great as well! Really this blog is just about getting outdoors in any self propelled activity and teaching your kids to enjoy the outdoors as you are doing it!
    Thanks for your kind comments.