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whitewater play novice paddlers 1 day
Elora Gorge -- Grand River
Sunday, October 29, 2000
length: 3.9km, 1 day
difficulty: novice

participants: Caroline Owen, Chris Mack, Keith Nunn, Nicole Mack,

Nicole, Keith, Cline and I paddled the Grand River from the falls in Elora down to the low level take out bridge in the Elora Conservation Area last Sunday. We put in below the falls but did get to see a kayaker run the falls, they call it the 'tooth of time' and it looked like a bumpy ride down at the level of 5.6cms.

This is a short section of the river and can be paddled in about 1.5 hours if you do not catch any eddies or play anywhere but we typically take 3-4 hours and include a lunch at the 'lunch chute' in the conservation area. The upper section of the river runs through a gorge and offers small chutes with surfing waves to play on and numerous eddies to catch. Further down there is a small drop creating the 'ender hole', it is always occupied with kayakers looking for the perfect vertical ender, always fun to watch for a few minutes. Canoes just blast over the drop, through the hole and catch the eddie on the right. From here you can scout the next rapid just downstream called the 'lunch chute'. It is the most challenging rapid on this stretch of the Grand, it consists of a double drop with a twist in it. You just have to line up with the rooster tail at the top, go over the first drop, angle to the right to drop over the second drop and then straighten out to run it out or catch the eddie on river left. There is always enough water to run it, it just depends on how much vinyl paint your willing to leave on the rocks.

From the chute down there is only one rapid to speak of, it requires careful navigation as you try to avoid hitting the rock in the centre as the river turns to the left 90 degrees. Nicole was totally blinded by the sun as she came around the bend and ended up doing a rock splat before being flipped into the icy depths. Then there are only small waves to surf, a couple of chutes, a few eddies before it widens out and you approach the low level bridge. There have been cases of paddlers being swept under this bridge so please stay to the right as you approach, the take out is well used. Just before the takeout on the right there are some small cliffs that jutt out into the water where people try boofing. The water is very deep at that point and is also a good place to try a few rolls before dashing back to the heated car ;-)

Everybody had a great time and afterwards we went with a couple of friends for soup, donuts and coffee at the local establishment to discuss paddling stories. I encourage everybody comfortable with class 1 rapids to consider coming out and giving the gorge a run, it is definetely worth it and its about the only river with enough water to float a boat down right now.

If anybody is interested in paddling it in the next few weeks (sat or sun), give me a shout and I shall arrange the posse.

Take care,

posted by: Chris Mack

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