Kayaking and Camping (Trailer-ing?) on the Ottawa River

Last weekend, I travelled up to northern-ish Ontario with B’s mom.  I say northern-ish because beyond North Bay and Matawa, there is much more Northern Ontario to discover.  In my case though, it was the most north I have ever been.

As we drove north, it was awesome to see the forest shifting from mainly deciduous to mainly evergreen trees.  Outcroppings of stone became more common as we entered the Canadian Shield and at times I wondered how the forests managed to remain so lush when the soil seemed so thin at points.

We were headed to a community near Matawa but on our way, we decided to take a detour and drive into Algonquin Park.  I had never been, and I suppose although I can technically say I have now, I still haven’t experienced the park fully.  I was given a good taste of what’s to come though.

We drove to Barron Canyon and words can’t describe the beauty.  Perhaps a picture can.

Barron Canyon, East side of Algonquin Park

The white speck on the water is actually a canoe carrying two people down the river.  I was glad they were there as I took the picture.  Helped to emphasize the immensity of the canyon…and of course, made me want to plan a kayak trip down that river at some point in the future.

The hike up to the canyon is incredibly short; a circular path that is about 1.5km long, with about one-third of it meandering along the edge of the cliff.  When I say along the edge, I mean that literally.  There were warning signs all over the trails reminding hikers that there were no fences, just an open cliff and a long drop.  Somewhat scary, but spectacular as well.

We also saw many mushrooms along the trail. Many I had seen before but one stood out…

We arrived on site fairly late on the Friday evening so kayaking had to wait until Saturday.

The first morning, I woke up to a camper’s best friend in the whole, wide world!

…which perked me right up! 🙂


Kayaking on the Ottawa river was absolutely lovely!  On one side, you have the mountainous landscape of Quebec (well, mountainous to those like me who have never actually seen a “mountain” lol) and on the other you have the very similar, yet somehow flatter, landscape of Ontario.

Our first trip out was on an overcast morning.  Mist was rising from the trees but my camera was sadly unable to truly capture the beauty of the moment….ah well…I tried.

Quebecois mist!

In the few days we stayed up north, we took out the kayaks four or five times.  I took a good number of pictures, but also managed to balance that with many tranquil moments of simply experiencing first hand rather than from behind the lens.

Here is a slideshow of some of my shots from our various expeditions:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Deux-Rivieres , posted with vodpod

We also came across some creepy things that I *must* share.

1) One experience, that was creepy yet absolutely awesome, was that as we kayaked around a bend, we began to notice a smell and we agreed there was definitely something dead nearby.  That wasn’t the awesome part. What was magnificent was that we suddenly came upon three turkey vultures almost at the water’s edge enjoying their lunch which was in all probability what we were smelling.  I didn’t actually see them until I heard a deep *whoosh* as the first one took to the sky.  The two remaining vultures hesitated but also abandoned their food.  The only sound was their wings as they sliced through the humid air.  It was the most incredible, yet creepy sound.  They perched silently among the treetops above us and quietly watched until we had moved off a good distance.  Only then did they return to their meal.

2) The second creepy thing…was this:

It seemed to peek out as we moved past and it wasn’t until we were well beyond it that I turned around to see that it was simply the roots of a fallen tree.

3) Third creepy thing?

No, not me!  The owl!

There was a whole shelf of these owls at a little store in Matawa.  Their gaze is creepy enough but they are also bobble-headed and, once batteries are inserted, they react to motion to keep other birds away.

4) Creepiness at an antique store…greeted us at the door!

5) The creepy finale

This is a women’s washroom in Matawa.  It’s a tiny town so I guess everyone knows each other *really* well????


I really had a great time and I have to say that although I could barely move my arms after the last paddle due to headwinds and strong currents, my love for kayaking hasn’t dimmed in the slightest!


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