Stony Lake provided us with a wonderful weekend: 1½ days of warm sunshine allowing for walks around the grounds of the resort and a great dinghy ride and then a Sunday of rain and wind, encouraging us to stay inside, to read the Toronto Star offered to us by a pair of women boaters docked next to us, to do a few lil’ projects that just hang around for such a day, but not to go out to the Inn at Mount Julian restaurant for dinner. We went out anyway and had a most unusual, but quite delicious, meal over looking the storm-clouded lake, very dark and threatening!
We delayed our departure from Stony Lake for a couple hours to see if the remaining storm clouds would lift and if the wind prediction might improve… The clouds parted ever so slightly for the sun to hit the lake, but the winds remained at 10-15 mph… With only three locks on the day’s itinerary, we decided to go… and actually had improving weather all the way to Buckhorn. But each of the “only 3 locks” provided a new challenge- At Burleigh Falls Lock, we had to “dance” while the lock emptied, and then dodge a houseboat struggling with significant water turbulence as it departed the lock. Lovesick Lock (#30) is the smallest on the Trent Severn with a lift of only 4 ft., but always has strong winds, even on a calm day. So… we learned more fine points of locking in the wind there! After a very short ride and with the help of the very strong lockmaster, we escaped Lovesick without injury. On to Buckhorn Lock where we had to “dance” and dodge again, this time because the very large TSW cruise ship Kawartha Voyager was in the lock and coming out on our side!!! Three locks were definitely enough for us on this day, and we stopped on the outside wall of Buckhorn Yacht Harbor, a rather large, immaculately kept marina and boat yard with many, many slips but none with enough water to hold Sojourner! With the early stop, we walked the mile or so into town. We stopped at the local Canoe shop where the proprietor proudly explained how he builds canoes “the old way”, i.e. with wooden slats on the inside and a canvas skin on the outside. His canoes were absolutely beautiful- the finest hand-crafted, wooden works of art. We also revisited the Lock on land as it is celebrating its 125th birthday this year!! After an early “linner” (blend of lunch and dinner) in town, we picked up a couple cans of propane for the grill and headed back to the marina for an early evening.
The next day brought us to Bobcaygeon, one of the largest communities we’ve visited so far and clearly a major tourist destination! Bobcaygeon is the rental houseboat capital of the Trent Severn, and we are hoping to pass through before the season really starts… this weekend with Canada Day on July 1st!! This was our first travel day without locks (!!!) since we entered the Trent Severn 2 1/2 weeks ago, and after maneuvering through both Buckhorn and Gannon Narrows (aptly named very skinny bodies of water), we ran the length of Pigeon Lake, a wide, reasonably deep, and beautiful body of water! The lake sported white caps and 1-2 ft waves as the predicted diminution of the wind did not occur, but we enjoyed the ride anyway as Sojourner got to be a “big water” boat for at least a little while! We had hoped to stop at the Whetung Ojibwa Centre, an estimated half hour off the main course between the Narrows. The art gallery is known for its First Nations arts and crafts, and we were really looking forward to both the adventure of getting there AND the native art we would see. Unfortunately, the wind was really howling, and as we headed in toward the shore, the water became quite shallow and the channel, even narrower and we still couldn’t spot where we were to dock. So discretion won out, and we returned to the main route to Pigeon Lake and Bobcaygeon. A very early arrival in Bobcaygeon gave us much time to explore the town, pick up some supplies and even visit the lock right in the middle of town!
The next two nights we’ll spend on lock walls, somewhat like we did at Lock 6 in Frankford, only this time using our generator for power instead of plugging in to an external power source. The first is in the community of Fenelon Falls (Lock 34), and the next, in Kirkfield (Lock 36). Fenelon Falls is the next to last “up” lock because we are approaching the “summit” of the Trent Severn. From there on, we travel “downstream” to Georgian Bay. So, after Fenelon Falls, we’ll enter from the top, and the locks will be emptied instead of filled to get us to the next level. Kirkfield is home to the only other lift lock on the American continent, and the second highest in the world. There, we will do the reverse of the Peterbourgh Lift Lock, i.e., cruise into a self-contained tub of water at the top of the 49 ft. lift, and along with some 230,000 gallons of water weighing 1,700 or so tons, we will ride down the “water” elevator. The water tubs do not have very high sides so this should be an interesting experience, especially when first entering …. up 49 ft. in the air…. We’ll keep you posted!! In the meantime, here are some more pix of our adventures over the last couple days: