Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Minesing Swamp

Heather and I patiently wait at the put-in as the rest
the group shuttle the vehicles

I don't often find myself on paddling day trips. Usually because I tend to compile days off to head out on trips or else use those days to get stuff done around home. However, when Andrea baited me with an offer to go on a day paddle to the Minesing Swamp, I couldn't refuse. I've heard of this paddling local frequently but since I've never been there I was immediately interested. The other benefit was that it was being organized and led by a WCA (Wilderness Canoe Association: member and all I had to do was come along and paddle with Andrea. (pretty tough order, huh?)

This swamp really captivated me with all its colours, textures,
and layers. (yes, it's my "artsy" side! sheesh!)

Minesing Swamp is located just northwest of Barrie and is a vast 6000 hectare wetland. It is classed as a Provincially Significant Wetland and an Area of Natural And Scientific Interest (ANSI) due to its importance in flood control as well as being a haven for endless birds. All I could imagine was this big bird cage atop a massive sponge so I was eager to paddle into the heart of this massive swamp and see it for myself. (wait!, doesn't Shrek live there?!) We put-in at Willow Creek and headed west until we hit the Nottawasaga River where we then paddled north and ended up at Edenvale. It was a mixed group of canoes and kayaks that came out that day. The entire route took approximately 5 hours of leisurely paddle including a stopover for lunch.

Kim quietly paddling her kayak in "stealth mode"
through the swamp

It was a great way to spend the day and I was grateful to Andrea for the invitation as I thoroughly enjoyed the outing. The weather for one thing co-operated as it wasn't too cold and the grey cover soon parted to reveal blue skies. The company was great including Ray our fearless leader and guide who got us through safely and unscathed. Then there was the swamp which was quite amazing. It was mind-boggling to see how big it was with the vast expanse of marsh grass and dead trees providing vertical relief. Despite the size, I still found it beautiful and enchanting. I now understand why this place is so popular to paddle.

Apparently the swamp looks totally different in the spring when it is flooded, (and even more difficult to navigate) so I have already decided to come back then and join Ray & company on yet another day paddling excursion. Now I'm hooked!
Thanks Andrea & Ray for an awesome day!


Exiting the swamp in the last section of the route brought a
change in the shoreline and resulting canopy
(I get a headache looking at this picture!)

PS: The paddling season for all intensive purposes is finished, right? Well,... except I just can't let the season end without one more kick at the can. You got it! I'm heading back out! Details when I get back! Brrrr! Its going to be cold!

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