Kayak Stories First Day 2003 - Kayaking SnowBanks

March 16, 2003

Sunday the 16 th of March my wife Maureen and I could not resist the warm 60 degree F temperatures and went for our first Kayak run of 2003. What a fantastic day with tons of snow on the banks of The Thames river near London, Canada and water levels just a little above normal the current was real nice. Because of snow conditions we could not launch in Springbank Park as usual and had to launch at the Boat ramp two miles back up-steam. We were under way and the dam being open at Springbank meant that we could zip right through there. I kept looking at the slopes on each side of the river, thinking that it might be fun to slide down the slopes into the water and when I found a reasonable slope, I tried it and it was neat. Four miles into our trip we came to a new bridge construction with the bridge laying across the river, not on it's pillars yet so we only had 18 inches of clearance and ducked our heads to get under the massive structure and made it just fine. The ten sets of rapids were working nicely and we had a blast. For the first time during our outings we saw two large deer. I expect that the deer were used to not seeing any action in this area and they were quite surprised by our appearance and took off up a very steep slope at about 60 degrees. Quite a pretty sight with there white tails flying as they ran. About six miles into the run we noticed a pretty steep slope covered with lots of snow so I thought that it would provide a rush and I dragged my Kayak up about thirty feet and had a tough time keeping from sliding before I was ready but made a decent run down the slope into the water, so that was fun so I tried it again and this time I started sliding before I was ready and got off on a different track which put me airborne before I hit the water and the nose dipped and filled the Kayak with 32 degree water. With the sun out I dried off fairly quickly and we searched for a milder slope and did a few more runs into the water. After almost five hours we had traveled about seven miles and were at our destination near Killworth Bridge and dry clothes. We had a great day and I have posted a few photos at  We checked the river this Thursday and decided to wait as water level was about six feet above normal and it was really screaming and then this morning the authorities banned all boating on the river until levels go down some.

There should be some great paddling in the next few weeks so send me a note if you want to join us.


Another Great Day

 Flood Waters

March 23, 2003
  We had a great run down the Thames again today, Sunday March 23, 2003 and this time the water was fast approx 10 miles per hour. We started at Fanshawe dam on the east side of London and finished 8.1 miles west at Wonderland Road for a total time of 1 hr and 45 minutes including photo stops and our fastest speed was 15.2 MPH.  I expect that we could have done it in 1h:25m or even faster if we had paddled harder. The air was only 45 degrees F. so fingers were cool but a great rush for us with the largest rapids at 4.5 feet from trough to crest at Gibbons Park in London. These were our biggest Rapids yet and what a blast. We could usually find calm water near shore in the flood plains. We are looking forward to great conditions to last for a while so if any of you want to go for the wild stuff, give us a call and arrange a next day excursion down the Thames here in London, Ontario.
Bob Grant - London - (519) 453-9961

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 Putnam to London

 March 28, 2003

Hey, what a day. We woke early and loaded up and were on our way by ten AM. Dropped our retrieval car off at Hwy 100 on the South branch of the Thames because the day before we had scouted out starting points farther east at Woodstock and then at Thamesford but in the end decided to not go quite so far and put in at Putnam Road which is the farthest east that we have started so far. By the time we arrived at the starting point it had started to rain and quite heavily so we decided to give it up and go home and wouldn't you know it but by the time we returned to our destination point, the rain had stopped and it was rather clear again so off we went back to Putnam Road. The river at Putnam road looks much smaller than it is closer to London and I think it was only about fifty feet wide and the water was still about two feet higher that normal summer levels so it was moving along at five miles per hour or so.

We got started and took a few photos with our Dachshund, "Flash". The Ducks, Blue Herons, and Canada geese were out in much larger numbers than we had seen before. Large flocks of ducks and Canada geese (hundreds) would take off as we approached them. It was quite a site. Blue skies filled the day with great scenery and areas that we had not seen before and with the water being high we could paddle though many of the flood plains and through some interesting trees and the reflections were amazing. We came to the Old Mill Falls near Dorchester and the extra water made it so that we could paddle right up to the falls as you can see in our photos so that was pretty. We took off from the Mill and headed to our destination and arrived at the car after three and one half hours of paddling and picture taking. We had a good paddle although it was longer than we had anticipated. Any of you who live close enough are invited to join us for some great recreational Kayak Paddling. Phone - (519) 453-9961 London, Ontario, Canada


 Kayaking Icicles & Sun

April 6, 2003


 Today, Sunday April 6, 2003 my wife Maureen and
myself (Bob Grant) did a short run on the south branch of the Thames
River starting at Airport Road and ending at Egerton Street (5 miles).
The trip took us a little less than two hours and the water was
moving at about five miles per hour. There was a great abundance of
ducks and Canada geese and lots of other small birds and as always
the Blue Herons.
Today the water was high enough that we never had to negotiate rocks
and it was clear sailing. Air temperature was about forty degrees F
and very sunny making a no gloves day quite warm. We found a couple
of bay areas where a skim of ice had formed and it was neat zipping
through the ice. Today was special in that there were large amounts
of ice on the trees some hanging over the water and it made for some
great photos as seen on our Photo pages 2003.
We had a nice relaxing run and do hope to join up with many of you
real soon.


 Ausable River Gorge Awesome

Friday, April 11, 2003


Yes, the four of us went today at 1 pm and this time to the Ausable river gorge which drops 60 feet in two miles so it was great fast water with some amazing rapids about four feet trough to crest. Sunny and 55 degrees F. Mike and Jane Crosby and Maureen and I really enjoyed the fast water. Our trip was 5.6 miles and we did it in 2 hours and 20 minutes. We are going again on Saturday and we are hoping for more great excitement.  If you want to join us just call Bob or Maureen at -
(519) 453-9961




Ausable River Gorge Love it

Saturday, April 12, 2003


We started at a point 3 miles farther upstream from yesterday's start and it was just Maureen and Flash and myself. still fast water but we stopped for a one hour photo session and for a one half hour lunch. Then it happened while we were getting the camera back into the hatch we were not watching enough and we go to close to some branches hanging over the edge of the Ausable river and a branch caught Maureen and over she went into the frigid water and the current was taking her kayak filled with water downstream and Flash was frantic trying to get into a kayak of some sort so I first got hold of Flash and then off after Maureen's Kayak and I had one heck of a time getting it to shore with the fast current but finally got shore with that kayak full of water and waited for Maureen to run along through the fields to catch up and finally she appeared and helped to get her kayak onto a muddy shore and an embankment of about twelve feet high. So we finally got it all straightened out and headed to a better spot to get Maureen into some dry clothes and then we were off again. I expect that we spent at least half an hour sorting things out so our total paddling time was about four hours and we traveled about 8 miles. What a day with the high winds beating against us we had a cooler trip than yesterday but survived with another story to tell. The rapids were fantastic.


St. Marys to London - Our Longest

Sunday, April 13, 2003


Sunday April 13, 2003 was another sunny day in south-western Ontario and we did our longest run to date when we kayaked from St. Marys Ontario to Fanshawe dam in London, a 20.4 mile trip. The trip took us six hours with photo stops and a lunch break and our maximum speed was 9.3 miles per hour. Rapids encountered were strong 3 foot high rapids with one drop of about four feet which gave Maureen, Jane and myself a thrill. Mike was unable to make the run today due to sickness. The main rapids were in the town of St. Marys and after that mellow rapids were all that we encountered. Water levels were about two feet above summer normals so there were no problems with rocks. We had a wonderful relaxing ride and Mike met us at the dam and took us back to our vehicle in St Marys. We will be sure to do it again someday and until then we will be looking for more new adventures.


Sault St. Marie Canada - Cedar Strip Kayak

Saturday, April 19, 2003

We made a six hour drive to Sault St. Marie to visit my Brother Gavin and while there I was able to try our his newly finished 17 foot Cedar strip homebuilt Kayak. The Kayak looks magnificent with an unbelievable finish with inlayed dark mahogany strips. We did not have a sunny day but I was anxious to try it out and so we went to a river close to Gavin's home a launched the beauty. I was a little nervous about the tipsy situation but soon became used to the feel and realized that it was great and it glides through the water so effortlessly and tracks straight as an arrow. We took a few photos and I will post them on our photo pages.


Ausable River Gorge

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Saturday April 26 we had another go at the Ausable river and this time we started at  Kerwood Road and right away, what a surprise as the water was about three feet lower than the last time we paddled it two weeks ago. Our destination would be Eric's cottage near Hwy 21 as we had asked if he would be there on Saturday. A real nice sunny 60 degree F day but the water was moving slowly. As we started there were six canoes with a Scout troop paddling from our starting point but they were only going to Sylvan bridge and we saw them again when we stopped to take photos of two fishermen who were pulling in a 8 pound Pickerel and were they ever excited. We continued and found that what were great rapids only two weeks earlier were almost nothing now. We soon arrived at Hungry Hollow and stopped for lunch and Flash had a great time chasing rocks but later I found out that Flash must have run through some poison Ivey as two days later my one arm and chest was covered in a wild itch and blisters so I had better wear long sleeve shirts from now on. We continued and must have passed at least forty fishermen as this was opening day for trout season and they sure we catching lots.  After about five hours we were at Sylvan bridge and wishing that we had left a car there but pushed on towards the cottage only to arrive there after an eight hour and fifteen minute paddle, our longest to date and likely our last 8 hour paddle as we were whipped. Maureen was so eager to get on shore that she tipped her kayak while trying to scramble out and got soaked. It was a pretty trip but much too long for us. Four hours seems to be our maximum enjoyable limit at this time but the next day we had plans to enter the Sydenham Race with our new friends John and Ann Moore and the story continues.


Sydenham Canoe & Kayak Race Day

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Sunday April 27, we joined John and Ann Moore and attended the Sydenham Canoe and Kayak races and it was a whole lot of fun. I did not make an accurate count but it looked like there were about one hundred contestants in boats of many shapes and sizes. We entered for five dollars each in the recreational kayak seven mile race and I am sure that we came in last as they did not even acknowledge our placing on the score sheets. It was a pretty trip with only two areas where it was possible to get hung up on the rocks and sure enough, I did. John and I also helped some youngsters that were caught up also in their canoes. We noticed two other boats with the paddlers dogs going along for the ride and of coarse Flash our wonder wiener dog was a big hit with all the kids as he rode along on the bow of our Kayaks.
  I would like to that John and Ann for inviting us and we had a great day.


Ausable River Grand Bend to Pinery Park

Saturday and Sunday, May 18 - 19, 2003

Saturday started out cloudy but by noon cleared and we were off to Port Franks for weekend of water-skiing and kayaking. After Maureen skied on Saturday, I paddled about one mile to the start of the Ausable that runs inland from Lake Huron and along to Grand Bend but found the narrows that start the run only three inches deep so I decided to continue down the cut to the conservation area. I putted around the conservation area for a few minutes and headed back to the cottage which is just south of Hyw 21. The whole trip took me 1 hr. - 30 minutes and it was almost dark when I arrived back at the cottage. I came real close to a Blue Heron while paddling close to shore and it took flight as I approached. I also saw a few muskrats and lots of birds. A real nice evening paddle.

Sunday morning Maureen and I decided to have go at the river from Grand Bend back to the cottage so we drove to the Bend and put in there. A beautiful morning paddling the shallow waters through the lily pads along through Southcott pines and approaching the Pinery Provincial Park. While getting close the park, I was thinking that we might see John and Ann Moore and  family as they often paddle this area but as we passed through we did not see them but lots of others paddling their kayaks and canoes. We had never before seen so many turtles out sunning themselves and I even was able to pick one of them up and Maureen took lots of photos of it and others. The little guy that I picked up was very colorful so we took lots of shots of it. We had to portage at three locations across roads and at the park concession we stopped for lunch and gave Flash a chance to chase sticks and swim. about an hour later we arrived back at the cottage and went for a wild ride on Lake Huron with Eric in his 60 mph boat. Our paddling trip took a total of 5 hours with a one hour stop for lunch and photos.


Sharon Creek

Friday - June 6, 2003

 We decided to do a run on the Thames on Friday which turned out to be a sunny day despite the gloomy forecast. We packed our gear and headed for Komoka to drop off a retrieval car but when we arrived at the Komoka bridge, I had a thought and asked Maureen if she would be interested in going over to the Sharon Creek conservation area as she had never paddled there before and something new might be good for us. Well, Maureen said sure let's try something new so off we went to Sharon Creek which is only about ten miles from Komoka bridge. When we got there it looked great with lots of trees along the shores something like you would see up north so we dropped a car off at the far end and on our way Maureen spotted a large bird walking along the ditch beside the road and sopped and took lots of photos. It turned out to be an Emus which had got loose from a local farm but an interesting bird all the same.
We were on the water by 12:15 pm and paddled all the inlets and watched and photographed as four teenagers were swinging from a large tree and dropping into the water with great enthusiasm. It was a high drop into the creek, like forty feet. When we paddled to the end of Sharon Creek where we came across a flock of Canada geese (300)
and as we came closer they all started to take flight and we caught that great action on our digital camera so you will all be able to see it. Check out my website later this week for the photos. One of the most pleasing things on this trip was the abundance of birds chirping. Our trip at Sharon Creek ended at 3:30 so it was three hours of relaxation.
Our day was splendid and we are looking forward to showing you all the new adventure we have found.


Ausable River Gorge

Saturday, June 14, 2003


  We took another shot at the Ausable river from Kerwood road to Sylvan bridge last Saturday June 14, 2003 and it was wonderful. After four days of rain the river was about two feet higher than normal and running at about four miles per hour and faster in the narrow areas. The many rapids were great fun and without a skirt I got soaked at first but put it on for the following sets. Our friend Eric Walne went with us this time and we had a great trip. For the first time we saw a large owl about two feet high and a four foot wingspan and Eric thought that it was a barn owl that swooped across the river right in front of us. We also saw lots of hawks and other birds and only one turtle. It sure is nice when there is a decent flow and we can move along nicely with any effort. The trip took us three hours and we really enjoyed it.


If you have any stories that you would like to add here send them to me.


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