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scenic or casual paddling beginner paddlers 1 day
Minesing Swamp / Willow Creek (Barrie area)
Saturday, May 11, 2002
length: 20.0km, 1 day
difficulty: beginner

leader: Timothy Snelgrove
organizer: Damian Rogers
participants: Damian Rogers,

Damian Rogers and friend Jan; Tim Snelgrove + 3 friends

On a sunny but cool Saturday morning, we saddle up with canoes at Sojourn’s in Barrie and head out 18K to The Minesing Swamp Canoe Access Point, ferry the cars 10K to the takeout point, and paddle off at 11:00. Water levels are fine because of heavy rain earlier in the week, and despite a couple of bottom touches, we never need to leave our canoes. The swamp is at its finest – lush green, current running strong, the occasional muskrat (or was it an otter?) But no badgers or opossums. Narrow at first, the river meanders maze-like with many false channels. Which one is the main one? Our informed guesses are correct, and we’re soon on the wider river, yet the channels are still confusing. We hit the switch backs, where the river zig zags and another group of paddlers about a mile ahead of us, are all of a sudden shouting distance away as the river switches back upon itself. Though our route is only about 10K as the crow flies, we probably paddle twice that distance. We lunch in our canoes as there is no firm ground. A few laughs over sandwiches and comments on the magic of this little known paradise.

This year the Blue Heron rookery has about 20 nests, huge clumps high atop tall, dead trees. While there’s about half the nests of last year, probably because of Cormorants, their nesting buddies, White Egrets, are plentiful and their honking sound is haunting. They put on a spectacular combination regatta and air show for us. A long paddle in the canopied throat of Willow Creek as it enters the Nottawasaga River, and a boring half hour paddle through farm land we reach our cars at Edenvale, ending a great day on the water, tired but satisfied.

posted by: Timothy Snelgrove

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