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.
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.
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!
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!!
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!
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!