Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mar 13 09 - Whitewater on the Credit River

Ben and I think alike - the chance to paddle always brings
about a big smile, despite the conditions!

What a difference one week can make! This time we got sun and blue skies, but didn't get the balmy temperatures from last week. It was not only a chilly -3C at the river edge, but there were multitudes of ice pieces floating down the river, - nice! Not surprising as Ben mentioned it was -10C overnight! Brrrr!

Chilly morning at Meadowvale Park

Since Ben's canoe was getting repaired at Complete Paddler, they kindly loaned us a fully outfitted canoe to paddle for the weekend. (can't say enough about the great service at Complete Paddler!) After carrying the gear to the river overcoming our first hurdle - the icy path to the water - we loaded up to go just after noon.

A mandatory portage meant breaking ice to get to shore!

Because Ben and I were paddling on our own, we had to be a little more diligent running rapids since a capsize could be detrimental without another boat acting as a spotter. Which didn't mean we avoided them (hey, Ben did we avoid any?!), but exercised more care. Surprising, the river this weekend was running even faster and stronger! Maybe from the rain and snow during the week, but I didn't expect it to be like this. Which in essence was fine as we thoroughly enjoyed practicing manoeuvres in more demanding situations.

I believe this is the Reid Milling Co. dam that
we portaged around.

We noticed many fly fishermen along the river edge (fishing for Rainbow trout) as they in turned noticed the gawd-awful colour scheme floating along. (probably scared the fish too!) Surprisingly there was also many people walking along the park paths waving and wishing us well - while under their breath they probably thought we were nuts! One time there was a large group of people up on a bridge waving at us like we were "stars", when Ben noticed a pillow rock last minute and we had to take quick evasive action while scraping the boulder. Wouldn't that be great! - waving, looking up at the crowd, acting cool and then dumping in front of everyone! Phew!

Taking a break along the 4ft snow banks along
the shores of the Credit

It was cold, I will definitely admit that! We frequently got out to bail water from the canoe and jog in place to get warm blood back into our frozen hands and feet. Not only that, all the splashing, crashing, and punching through large waves started to ice-over the canoe, thigh straps, seats, and Ben's drysuit! (he was in the bow) I guess it all comes with the package this time of year! Despite it all, we made sure to take full advantage of the river. One time there was a chain of huge standing waves which we plowed into that launched Ben as high as I've ever seen him go. (the paddle flapped like wings!) Yeah, he may have screamed a bit like a girl, but hey, don't tell him I said so!!

What do you do when the zipper on your drysuit
freezes and you have to go pee?!!

The most incredible scene was the damage found at Mississauga's Golf and Country Club. Several weeks ago, huge spikes in temperature combined with heavy rains released a torrent of water and large ice pans down the Credit. This ultimately ended at the golf club wreaking complete havoc. Nothing was spared as the ice pans extended hundreds of feet into the golf course! Ben and I were at a loss of words as we witnessed all the destruction. I'm sure the repair cost would be in the millions! It was unreal! See the pictures below!

These melting ice pans extended far into
the greens from the river!

The after-effects of the moving ice looks eerily similar
to what glaciers do! Talk about a shredded lawn!

Huge trees had their bark torn off! This tree
was ear-marked to probably be
cut down!

Even the asphalt roads for the golf carts were not spared!

Earth torn apart, water lines cracked, planks broken on
bridges - the force of water & ice was relentless!

We both had a great time, despite the freezing cold temperature and wind. Although, the take-out and the carry to the car got us warmed up lickety-split! Ben had an alternate plan of taking out before the QEW bridge where his wife would be waiting to pick us up. Did I mention we not only had to clamber over 3 foot ice pans from the muddy shore (try that for a lift-over!), we then had to carry up an insanely steep 60-70ft hill! Try that with neoprene boots!!! Let me tell you, that won't happen again! I have to admit though, the view from the top was spectacular! Nothing like ending a paddle with a bang!

Over-looking the Credit river - there is a sheer drop in front
of the canoe. No we didn't come up that way!

Many thanks to Ben's wife Imroze for the shuttle!


PS. One last thing, what the heck is up with all the coconuts in the river!
We found one last week floating in the river and then we
found 3 more yesterday!
This is Canada, right? See below.

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