French River Canoe Trip - French River Provincial Park - Loon Island Outdoors

French River Delta

French River Provincial Park

June 13 - 16, 2009

French River Provincial Park - Loon Island Outdoors

Canoe Trip Reports

French River Delta

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
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Day 1 - Hartley Bay to The Elbow

Loading up at Hartley BayWe got up at a decent time today, even if it wasn't quite as early as we might have planned before the trip. It had been after midnight by the time we actually got to Grundy Lake, but that had a lot more to do with a couple of the guys just being late getting away from work and home than anything else. I think we were up around 9am, but by the time we'd had breakfast, packed up, stopped at the office to pay for the night's camping, stopped for gas, ... it was after 11am before we got to Hartley Bay. By the time we had the boats loaded up and were heading out on the water it was quarter to 12pm.

The paddle west out of Hartley Bay itself always feels like we're on our way to the river. There are quite a few cottages along this bay, so while itBoat Traffic on the French River is a nice paddle it doesn't have a wilderness feel. Even though most of the land along here has been designated as part of the French River Provincial Park there are still scattered patches of private land, many with cottages and even a few lodges. The paddle along Hartley Bay takes about an hour to get you out to Wanapitei Bay.

Once you get to Wanapitei Bay, the water opens up and you're likely to get a good stiff breeze blowing in off of Georgian Bay. Osprey Next, French River Provincial ParkToday wasn't nearly as windy as the last time I made this trip, and this time I had Josh paddling with me which also made for a lot less work. If you didn't get your compass out before you started, this is a good time to grab it. There is a string of islands along the east side of Wanapitei Bay that give you a bit of shelter if you are fighting a headwind. The shelter is nice, but there are enough little islands to make it a bit of a maze and the compass comes in handy to help keep you on track.

Today, I fished along a few shorelines without any luck before we worked our way out across Wanapitei Bay. We stopped to take some pictures of an Osprey nest along with a video of one of the parents hovering nearby. (Note handheld videos takend from a canoe tend to be a bit shaky.) Continuing south, we passed to the west of Nishoda Island and then stopped for lunch at site 618 which is at the Crossroads of the Main Outlet and Western Channel of the French River. It was about 3pm by now and everyone was Lunch at Site 618, French River Provincial Parkready to stretch their legs.

I think that every campsite I've stopped at on the French has had a thunder box, and this one was no exception. I can't promise that all the sites are equipped, but so far so good. In addition to the thunderbox, this site also had some local wildlife. As one of the guys was making use of the facilities, he got a great view of a Black Bear meandering down the hill toward him. Apparently The Crossroads, French River, Ontarioonce the bear realized the facilities were already being used, he (or she) politely took off in the opposite direction. Lets face it, there are some things that even bears don't want to see!

After lunch we continued on south down the Main Outlet channel, trolling along the shorelines as we went. We weren't exactly in a rush and it took us another 2 hours or so to get down to the Elbow. Scott and I had been down to this area a a couple of Roughed Grouseyears ago on a fall trip and noted a nice big, dry site (#623) that looked like it would be a good one to come back to. It was still a nice big site with room for a larger group, but after we got set up and were looking for some firewood, I realized that at this time of year it was surrounded by a bit of a swamp. Needless to say the mosquitoes were pretty fierce. It was definitely a good lesson on how the same site can change between seasons.

We were joined at our site by a very confident Ruffed Grouse who stayed around for several pictures and I got a short video of him too. (This one is a bit steadier, but still a good case for a tripod.)

Supper tonight was the traditional first night out steak and baked potatoes. The guys even found some nice hardwood for the campfire which made a beautiful bed of coals for cooking the steaks on.

Once the temperature cooled off after dark, the mosquitoes disappeared and we sat up quite late enjoying the campfire and having a good yak.


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