Our First Portage, Samuel De Champlain Provincial Park



the carrying of a boat or its cargo between two navigable waters


We bought a canoe a fortnight ago and hubbie was itching to get out and explore during our camping trip ‘up north’ last week.  Our first two trips out with the boys were quite sedate, we travelled about 10km viewed the local wildlife and marveled at the scenery but the day before we were due to return home hubbie got it in his head to try something more adventurous.  The boys decided they had had enough of the fresh air, exercise and leeches (!) so opted to stay put in the campground while hubbie and I attempted a 14km route with 2 portages.

The first stretch was along the Mattawa River, an historic canoe route for the native peoples and the first European explorers to Canada.  There’s something very therapeutic about the total silence broken only by the plop-swoosh, plop-swoosh sound of your paddle as it enters the water and we completed this leg quite easily despite the heat.

Phase two involved navigating a river littered with fallen trees and a 30 meter portage to the connecting river.  We surprised ourselves that we managed this section well and as we completed our first portage we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.   A 210 meter portage was our final obstacle to the last leg of our trip.  So with achy arms and sore backs we yet gain found ourselves struggling to get through fallen trees at the end of the river.

After struggling to get out of the water, with the canoe, paddles, buoyancy aids and kit bag we started the hike to the last lake. After about 10 minutes of hiking uphill, sweating buckets, with my pretty pink pedicure covered in black swamp goop, carrying all our kit and hubbie lugging the canoe I couldn’t help but screech in a rather unladylike manner ‘210 meters my a*rse!”

Eventually I glimpsed the lake shimmering through the trees.

We launched the canoe and after another 20 minutes of paddling and we’d made it to the end of our journey.  It was hot, sticky and exhausting but the sense of achievement was awesome.

This was the view as I looked back across the final lake that we had just travelled using nothing but grit, determination and the power of our arms.


14 thoughts on “Our First Portage, Samuel De Champlain Provincial Park

  1. Charly Dove

    Just read your post twice Lou, totally got lost in your wonderful photographs. Such a beautiful country and what an superb place to canoe. You must be so proud, it looks incredible! Thank you for sharing with #whatsthestory

  2. Jaime Oliver

    wow what an amazing adventure, it looks stunning i am so impressed you got there with your own hard graft!! well done you.

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

  3. Holly Nelson

    Ah ha – that explains your Silent Sunday pic!! I want to buy Luke a kayak for xmas – your pics have spurred me on! How much was your canoe out of interest?

    1. Lou Post author

      This one is pretty pricey to be honest but we went direct to the Holy Cow Canoe Company west of the GTA in Acton and they are fantastic quality. There are lots of deals around right now as it’s the end of the season so now is the time to buy!

  4. Faded Seaside Mama

    Wow! What stunning scenery to motivate you! Amazing to do so well on your first time away with the boat! I would love to try that as I remember some of the lakes I saw in Canada and was desperate to get on them rather than just look at them (and photograph them of course!). Well done! #MagicMoments #WhatstheStory

  5. Pingback: PODcast | What's The Story? | 9th September 2013 | PODcast

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