CHUTE INTO THE GEORGIAN BAY AND GREAT LAKES WATERS

August 8-14, 2019

August 8 & 9 – Remain in Bobcaygeon – Lock #32 because of wind

August 10 – Bobcaygeon to Rosedale Lock #35 (19 miles & 3 locks)

August 11 – Rosedale Lock to Talbot Lock #38 (21 miles & 3 locks)

August 12 – Talbot Lock to Orillia City Marina (21 miles & 4 locks)

August 13 – Orillia to the Big Chute (33 miles & 2 locks)

August 14 – Big Chute to Hockey Stick Bay, GB (25 miles, THE BIG CHUTE and 1 lock)

Miles traveled this Blog: 119 miles

Total Miles Traveled: 6696

This blog entry covers the final third of the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW), locks #32 through #45 and while we have gotten miles and locks better at this, it remains an effort with lots of unknowns and potential for missteps and mishaps. It was vital to maintain focus!

See that focus!

After two days on the wall in Bobcaygeon because of wind and rain, shopping and a park concert, we set off early for Fenelon Falls.  The lock wall there had power and it would be exciting to get everything charged up again.  Upon approach, however, we quickly assessed the crowd, busyness of the place, and then the fact that within seconds a small 12′ fishing boat had taken up the middle of a 100’ section of  “our” wall.  The wind was blowing, the channel exit narrow, and absolutely no way to turn around.  Chaos reigned momentarily until Captain Jim backed the Namaste enough to turn left into the channel and exit under a notched cut in an abandonded railroad bridge and we were outta there.  Now whenever I cannot remember where something happened, it happened in Fenelon Falls.

We proceeded several miles to the next lock of Rosedale with a quiet little park and as peaceful an afternoon and night as we have spent.  We walked over five miles  enjoying the late summer wildflowers, a few cozy cottages and conversations  with some local folks.

One of so many beautiful hikes.

The following day we faced three locks, one of which was Kirkfield and similar in style to Peterborough with the large tubs that gravity transitions up and down with the help of 1300 tons of water. The difference was that it was newer and reinforced with steel girders instead of cement so it didn’t look quite as intimidating and after all we had already done one of these.  Piece of cake!

Kirkfield Lock – same tub operation but without the fancy structure of Peterborough.

Guess who in the Kirkfield Lock

View out of the tub on our way down the Kirkfield Lock.  Picture compliments of Jenny Lynn who had the front seat view.

It became a windy Sunday afternoon of narrow, shallow, busy and rocky channels so not much fun, particularly with approaching recreational vessels going way too fast for Looper liking.

Narrow

Rocky and Shallow

Busy!   Please, please don’t let there be boats coming the other way!

We celebrated the day’s end with a pot luck in the Talbot Park including reindeer sausage  (don’t tell the children) served compliments of our new and interesting Alaskan friends on Summer Lynn.

Not to worry, I got this!

After an uneventful crossing of Lake Simcoe, we arrived at the Orillia City Marina where we used their free laundry and provisioned for the next couple of weeks we will spend in some of the most remote places on the Loop.

Just after Lake Simcoe was the town of Orillia and a welcome stop with the delightful surprise of one of the finest parks in Ontario.  I just love to say the name:  Lake Couchiching

Now about the Big Chute!  I know, I know, there has been much emphasis on lifts and locks but since we have traversed over 100 since we left home in May, they do deserve respectful attention.  Since our life is as one-day-at-a-time as you get, we hadn’t attended to the upcoming lift until we got there.  Well, it quickly became another highlight, engineering wonder and perhaps favorite.  As recommended, we spent a night tied to their dock watching the process and eating breakfast at a their tiny marina restaurant to assuage our anxiety until it was our turn to move to the blue line ready to go through.  The pictures say it all but in a nutshell, instead of creating a regular lock lifting the boat with water from one level to another like everywhere else, this site is to “chute” us onto a huge railroad car, hang us from slings out of the water, take us up, over and down a hill on tracks and then chute us back into the water some 58’ below.   Happily, I can report that it went as smoothly as taking the train from Ann Arbor to Chicago only a lot faster.

Summer Lynn entering  the Big Chute

. . .Namaste going up to the top of the hill

. . . cresting the hill

. . .starting down

  . . .and sliding back into the water!  Whew!

In the disappointment category, we missed seeing Brian’s family cottage which we have heard about for more than 20 years.  We had the address and knew which day we should pass by but when google maps told me it was 13 miles away I figured we had about two hours at 7 mph.  Well, of course that was driving distance, not waterway route and we went flying by.  None the less, this section was the most beautiful of the TSW and probably of the trip so far.  I will include several pictures but not the one I wish we had taken of Brian’s cottage.

Ooops, oh shoot we missed it completely!

 

Just two of many beautiful homes along the TSW

Had to include this picture of the wall of our very last lock and yes, I did wear gloves!

We left the Big Chute and headed a couple of miles to lock #45 at Port Severn.  When the final lock doors opened (and not easily I might add but that is another story) we immediately emerged into the open waters of Georgian Bay with hoots and hollers of celebration.

Into wide open water and no more locks!

The Trent-Severn (241 miles and 45 locks) was a huge accomplishment. We are proud and happy that we did it but also are not sad that it is done.  A warm shout out to the Canadian Park Service for their time, efforts and patience in providing a wonderful boating experience.

Good boat name:  License to Chill

Bad boat name:  Phat Girl (again, probably has meaning to someone)

Happy Birthday to: Mike, Carrie

Congratulations to: Camps Lookout and Carvella for a wonderful summer, now closed for the season.  Where has summer gone?

Lexi for a successful engineering internship and return to MSU as a junior.

Happy new home to:  Rena and Linda – we will miss you!!

Rest in peace: Margaret

One thought on “CHUTE INTO THE GEORGIAN BAY AND GREAT LAKES WATERS

  1. What a grand adventure you continue to have. You are both inspiring. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your travels and wonderful photos. I appreciate your warm wishes to my mother. Continue to make the most out of each moment and enjoy the process as it unfolds. I look forward to seeing you soon. Take care. Love, Doreen

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