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Exploring towns, making our way through waterways barely wide enough for one boat, meeting friends in unexpected places and sharing the stories of the day, relaxing on rainy days, sitting in the sun, enjoying the scenery, taking walks, trying to catch a fish, and keeping in touch with family and friends by phone and text; all of these are ways we spend our days. However, we also clean the boat, do the dishes, cook meals, do laundry, spend lots of hours at the helm, keep up on maintenance and make repairs; the boat is our home and tasks need to be accomplished just like in a house. It would be hard to deny, though, that we are enjoying a wonderful life.
We ended up spending Father’s Day in Campbellford. There, we decided to go out to breakfast and, although you would think we would have had our fill of being on the water, we chose a restaurant that had seating along the very same river where AfterMath was docked. All of the kids called to talk to John and it was a nice leisurely day for both of us. A friend we met along the way. Proof positive that anyone can live the dream. This gentleman seemed to be making his way along the canal on this tiny boat. We saw him a few days along the way, but then we passed him. We wish him a great trip. Early Monday morning, we headed out again and made our way to a tiny little town named Hastings. Although there wasn’t a lot to do in town, I found a bait and tackle store and asked for fishing help. The gentleman who owned the store set me up with a tackle box and some basic lures and equipment. He was very obliging when I told him that I didn’t want any live bait on the boat! I walked back happy as could be that I now owned more than the two lures on the reels that came with AfterMath and the three lures I picked out at WalMart. I still haven’t caught a fish, but maybe that will change soon.
The next day was very windy and we had a good-sized lake to cross, so we decided to sit it out in Hastings another day. John worked on his never-ending list of projects and I took Kirby for a walk and read a book.
Here you can see a tour boat being lowered through Peterborough lift lock. As one pan rises, the other drops. Motoring from Lock 20 to Lock 21, the Peterborough Lift Lock An annoucement is made by the lockmasters telling boats they are clear to enter the pan.
John is standing next to the forward tie up. I also tied up the stern, but then was free to wander around the boat to take pictures. The front of the pan is closed and we start to rise. Views on the way up And now we have reached the top, 65 feet higher than we were just minutes ago.
On Wednesday, we left very early and started out for Peterborough. I had been looking forward to that town because of the unusual lock there. Built about 100 years ago, it is a hydraulic lock that is made up of two huge pans that lift boats 65 feet. To lock through there, the boat is simply driven into whichever pan is down, tied up to the rail and the crew is able to relax and take in the view. The lockmasters fill the pan that is in the up position with an extra foot of water and, similar to a balance scale, the heavier pan drops and the lighter one rises. When the pan reaches the top of the lock, the front is dropped and the boat is free to exit. Because this is such an interesting lock, a visitor center is nearby and an announcement is made to the public to let them know that operations are about to begin. Then people line up at the fences and in the park to watch and to take pictures of the action. I wanted to get a good look at this construction before we went through it, so we stopped at Lock 20, which is one prior to the lift lock, and took both dogs for a walk to see it work. I was glad we could experience it both from outside and inside, as it really was quite a thrill.
We considered staying the night at Lock 20, but decided to move on a little farther. As we have a lot we want to accomplish in the next few weeks, we thought it might be a good idea to get a little more distance behind us before stopping. We made it to Lock 24 where we were surprised to meet up, once again, with our friends Bill and Barbara. Bill always has dog treats in his pocket, although he doesn’t have a dog, and when Kirby and Jake heard his voice they started prancing around and drooling. It was a happy reunion for everyone.
After an enjoyable night we rose early and made our way through the canal. Thursday’s scenery was the prettiest yet. We maneuvered through what is known as Hell’s Gate, but this area bears no resemblance at all to the Hell’s Gate in New York City. Here the marked canal narrows and weaves its way through gorgeous scenery. Tiny islands dot the area and some are big enough for only one little tree to grow. Many of the islands have a single house on them. It’s a beautiful spot and, although the weather was drizzly and gray, it was a sight I will long remember. Our destination for the night was a small lake named Lovesick. There is a lock between two islands on this lake and it is very remote; the only way to the area is by boat. It is beautiful and peaceful, and we were the only ones at the dock. I was hoping to take some star trail pictures as there is no light pollution from any nearby city, but, as luck would have it, there were just enough clouds in the sky to make my endeavor impossible. AfterMath at dock in Lovesick before we left in the morning. This osprey nest looked to me like one in a Dr. Suess book! A glorious sky above us Cute little cottages This area had beautiful homes along the waterway.
Friday, we started out at 9:00 when the lock at Lovesick opened. The day was glorious and the sky was spectacular. I am often amazed when I look out and see a pale baby blue sky at the horizon that darkens to an almost navy blue sky above, especially when it is dotted by tiny, puffy white clouds. I wish I could own something in every shade above me. Because Kelly and Craig and kids will be with us on this part of the Trent-Severn Canal on our return, we skipped the cute little towns along the way. Catching a glimpse of them, though, makes us anxious for our return. We know the grandchildren are going to love playing in the parks and going for ice cream when they are on AfterMath. Passing the towns by now allows us to fast track our way to the Georgian Bay and the North Channel, both places we are anxious to reach and to spend time. We had a beautiful sunset at dock in Rosedale.
Last night we stopped at Lock 35, which is in Rosedale. Rosedale is on a lake and is the highest point on the Trent-Severn. Interestingly, it is the highest point in the world that can be reached by boat from the sea. This lake is 160 miles from the beginning of the canal in Trenton and is 598 feet higher. From this lock on, until we get to the Georgian Bay, we will be descending. The narrow canal These ledges of rock were less than 5 feet from AfterMath on both sides/ At the top of Kirkfield Lock
Down at the bottom – 47 feet lower. A geometry teacher’s dream. The math I could have taught using that bridge!! On the other side of the bridge. Do you see the fish they just reeled in? A friendly reminder to watch your wake. Locks are opened and closed for any sized watercraft. This couple was paddling the canal. Now that we start at the top of locks, we can get a better view of the lockmasters opening the gates with a hand crank. In this area they are not v-shaped, but look like a wheel to which a handle is attached.
Yesterday, Saturday, we again set out early. Our adventure started by sending us through a very narrow canal where at one point we literally could have reached out and touched pine trees on both sides of our boat. If you have ever been on the Soarin’ ride in Epcot, you can imagine the smells and the sensation I felt while sitting on the seat on the bow. It was a bit surreal. To add to the excitement, because of the very clean, clear water in this area, we could see the granite that was cut to form the waterway less than 5 feet from our boat on both sides in places. John chose not to look anywhere but the depth sounder and the canal itself, staying in the middle at all times. We had no idea what we would do if a boat came in the opposite direction.
All of a sudden we came upon the Kirkfield Lock, which is another pan lock like the one in Peterborough. This one, however, dropped us 47 feet rather than raised us, so the view was spectacular from the bow of AfterMath. The ride continued today on narrow waterways, with some lakes in between. We did run into a boat coming the opposite direction on occasion, and sometimes it was quite a challenge! Finally we came to Lake Simcoe, a lake that is large and shallow, and stirs up quite a chop in the wind, which was increasing this afternoon. It turned out to be fine, though, and we made our way across the lake to arrive in Orillia.
The town appears to be a great one for a stay. We went out for dinner last night to a wonderful restaurant recommened to us by a marina owner. The food was amazing and we enjoyed treating ourselves by not cooking on the boat/ This is the first time we have had WiFi for a week so we will catch up on news, emails, and, of course, this blog before heading out again. We still haven’t decided if we will leave today or tomorrow. It is a rainy day and it feels nice to relax a while, cozy on AfterMath.
Here are the maps of where we are today.