Canoeing is as Canadian as maple syrup and hockey. Spending a few days in the wilderness isn’t new to us but paddling a canoe on Georgian Bay was a unique and truly Canadian experience. This slow method of travel allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the scenery of Northern Ontario.
Our Great Canadian Roadtrip took us south of Sudbury in Northern Ontario to paddle on the watershed around Byng Inlet on Georgian Bay. This huge bay is a part of Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes.
Here the landscape of the Canadian Shield is at its finest. Hundreds of kilometers of rivers, channels, streams and ponds are interwoven around small granite islands. Trees of the boreal forest appear to be barely clinging to the rocky ground as they somehow manage to find small cracks in the exposed granite.
Our friends invited us to come on a couple of canoe trips with them. The four of us spent 4 days paddling on the channels that empty into the large basin of Georgian Bay. In some places we paddled through narrow passages bordered by granite cliffs and filled with lily pads. The water was often so shallow that only a canoe or kayak could navigate. The watershed is ripe with wildlife. We saw turtles, beavers, minks and water birds including blue herons and cranes.
At other times we found ourselves in the wide open Georgian Bay with large waves and an endless wind. The prevailing westerlies have permanently affected the shape of the trees in the area. Trees lean away from the wind to such an extent that they have the look of a windy day even when it’s calm.
Most of the land in the area consists of small islands composed almost entirely of granite. These pretty islands made for great campsites. Tents were set up on whatever flat spots we could find. Some nights were a little uncomfortable though as the only flat spots were on the hard granite. Most of the area is Crown Land therefore there is no fee to camp nor registration required.
Wide open views made for spectacuar sunsets. The skies lit up in wonderful colours while the water reflected the last few rays from the sun.
We spent most of our time near Byng Inlet on Georgian Bay but also had a separate canoe trip on Moon River further south. Here the landscape is similar, but the paddling was on rivers and small lakes. We didn’t venture to the open bay.
A few places on the trip required portaging which means carrying your canoe and supplies over a small or large tract of land or around waterfalls.
After a few days of canoeing in Northern Ontario is was time to return to our car and continue our road trip across the country.
Coming Next – Canada’s Capitals – Ottawa and Kingston, Present and Past
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