Another beautiful morning in paradise! The nights and mornings are cooler now and the days still comfortably warm. How could it be better? The black squirrels were busy collecting and storing food for the approaching winter months.
Leaving Bobcaygeon we followed the narrow channel then crossed Sturgeon Lake and continued on to Fenelon Falls Lock 34. We did not opt to make the detour to Lake Scugog through Lindsay Lock 33. Plenty of boats and summer camps keep our attention.
Fenelon Falls Lock 34 (24’ vertical lift) was bordered by a charming and bustling little town with many folks watching the locking process. One couple at the lock railing said they had seen us locking up the Peterborough Lift Lock.
Onward through lovely Cameron Lake and arriving at the last lift lock, Rosedale Lock 35, we decided this might be the prettiest lock park area yet. With a lift of only 4’ we were quickly on our way to Balsam Lake. We were now at the highest point in the system, 598’ above Trenton and would now be dropping the 260’ to Georgian Bay. This is the highest elevation (841’) above sea level that a boat can reach under its own power. Neat fact!
We cruised peacefully with no overhead obstructions, no shallow depths and no narrow channel for long enough to enjoy our lunch. Then we entered the narrow, shallow Trent Canal between Balsam Lake and Mitchell Lake and reentered when departing Mitchell Lake. We were warned to be on alert all the way through here and paid close attention to the Garmin readings as well as sightings. Shale banks lined the close slopes and we could see rocks cropping up from the bottom.
At Kirkfield Lift Lock 36 we entered the hanging lift basket and went right to the front. Boy was that a “heart stopper”, suspended out in mid-air. We are now down locking and made the 49’ vertical drop in awe.
Exiting Kirkfield we were advised to be mindful of sticking to the channel as this man-made lake has shallows, petulant weed growth and often submerged dead heads. We saw 3.3’ right in the middle of the channel! Because we are going down river we are now seeing the channel markers with green on the starboard and red to our port. After passing under the Canal Lake High Arch Bridge, we found deeper waters but the lake was infested with long, thick weeds. There were definitely “diamonds on the water” this afternoon.
We continued the 7.7 miles to Bolsover Lock 37 (22’ vertical drop) and decided we liked this “locking down” process. The Lockhands are there to assist you with attaching your lines (because they are now very low) and are full of interesting information and tips. A pontoon tour boat with a group attending a church camp pulled into the lock behind us and Dan entertained them from his perch on the stern during the locking down process.
Just a mile later, after passing through farm lands and a cattle ranch, we approached Talbot Lock 38 (14’ vertical drop) then continued the 1.6 miles on to Portage Lock 39. We chose this as our nights resting place and moored to the topside of the lock. Portage is very isolated and peaceful, offering a quiet night perfect for sharing a bonfire with our fellow boaters, Scott and Justin.