I've had the itch to go paddling basically since I put the kayak away in October. With the balmy weather Southeastern Ontario experienced over the weekend -- yes, 9 degrees Celsius is considered balmy compared to what our Spring has been like so far -- I decided to head out on my first paddle of the season.
The Napanee River east of the Springside Park falls is one of my favourite destinations in Lennox & Addington. While driving to the boat launch on King Street the excitement of the day was somewhat curbed by the thought of having to briefly dip my toes into the icy cold water.
I pulled up to the launch and unloaded the kayak. The water was definitely much higher (and running much faster) than it was the last time I was there. Okay, time to remove my socks. Yep, it was as frigid as I figured it would be -- imagine an ice cream-induced brain freeze... only on your feet. The brief discomfort was ample incentive to NOT tip over.
The water was high at the King Street Boat Launch in Napanee.
Once firmly situated in my comfy kayak seat my excitement returned in full force. It was great to be back out paddling.
The views were totally different than on my summer and autumn trips. The colourful leaves are long gone, replaced instead with bare branches, earthy browns and some occasional snow-covered areas. Still pretty mind you, just different.
Still some snowy areas remaining along the riverbank.
No turtles were found sunbathing along the shoreline or resting on partially submerged branches. In fact, many of the branches I'd gotten used to manourvering around were either washed away by the spring runoff or completely submerged.
Other wildlife did make an appearance however. The muskrat that crossed my path seemed genuinely confused by my presence. There were plenty of Canada Geese out and about, and I chased a few mallards and wood ducks up and down the river bank. Later on in the spring I'm sure the herons, kingfishers, beavers and deer I've become accustomed to spotting will make regular appearances.
Canada Geese don't mind getting their feet wet, no matter how cold the water is.
Not long into the excursion I noticed a flooded area that is usually grassy in the summer and fall. I thought it would be fun to paddle in and check it out. It was fun for a minute, until I became briefly stuck on the bottom. Long story short, 'Ice cream' foot freeze #2 was required. Lesson learned.
This springtime 'bay' was a little bit more shallow than I thought it was.
The paddle to Mink's Bridge is 4.7km one-way, and battling against a strong current made for a pretty strenuous journey. My arms were basically Jell-o by the time I got to the half way point at the bridge, so I was more than happy to turn around and let the river carry me back to my launch point.
The original Mink's Bridge (which is obviously no longer a bridge) makes for a pretty scene along the Napanee River.
It was a great day back in my kayak and I'm already looking forward to my next trip. If you like paddling as much as I do be sure to check out our new Paddle Route page for some great canoe and kayak locations. We have so many great rivers and lakes to choose from here in Lennox & Addington, you really can't go wrong.