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Published: September 24th 2015
On September 16th 2015, myself and my traveling companion Raymi Lauren
took a long car ride north and east from Toronto to a remote cottage on the shores of the Madawaska River near the town of Palmer Rapids Ontario. This was our big summer fishing and camping expedition, and it was deliberately planned as a 'rapid' vacation. I had a portable fishfinder and I wanted to show Raymi how to cook and catch a fish right on the shore. None of that happened, and little did we know that getting home would be the most memorable part of the trip. We Visited Kayak Angler Magazine
We were intent on kayaking the Madawaska River only because one week earlier we'd received an invitation from a friend at a popular Canadian kayak fishing magazine
, Scott MacGregor. This good friend is very generous to all fellow adventurers like myself, scholars and writers and he invited us down. So we packed the car and drove north and east for about five hours from Toronto.
We arrived at noon on Sept 16th and had a leisurely time talking and getting to know the other inhabitants. We brought out a tent that we never set up, and unpacked
swimwear and other camping gear we never used. . .
We never set up the tent because to our surprise Scott generously offered us accommodations inside his palatial abode and full use of his fleet of kayaks and canoes. We hit the river a few hours later and set out to explore the nooks and crannies of the Madawaska River Watershed which includes the Little Mississippi, York and Madawaska Rivers. In our minds we had hoped to circumnavigate the Islands of Raglan Lake, and photograph the cliffs of Diamond Lake. I had hoped to behold the wonder of Slate Falls and camp on its sandy beaches drinking water from one of the many nearby fast flowing creeks lined with mossy cedars. At the very least we hoped to get to the Conroy Marsh Conservation Area, a provincially distinct wetland, with rich aquatic biosphere and unbelievable horizons. But we got rained out and pooped out; honestly kayaking is hard work and it felt like we were paddling upstream... because we were! FishHunter fish finder for kayaks
Back at the dock we unwrapped a FishHunter fishfinder for kayaks
which I had been charging in the cottage for a few hours prior. We easily
and without any hiccups Bluetooth paired an old phone (my Samsung s3) to the device. I chose to use my old phone rather than Raymi's newer model because at this point I certainly dont mind if anything goes wrong ie the phone gets wet or is actually dropped in the lake.
Later we figured out how to run the dry bag that came with the device (an add-on) but initially we were using my phone and I was often holding it right out over the open water. Here's Raymi getting it to work - she just wanted to see a fish swimming around on her phone and wished the miraculous device also had an onboard camera to allow her to actually view the bottom of the river.
But the display is informative enough. The Fishhunter website says that kayak fishing enthusiasts '..often have to poke around to find an ideal spot or any drop-offs where the fish may be hiding.' and that's exactly what we were doing until my phone battery died. We spend thirty minutes finding a place in the river where we could fish more effectively because we knew there was some underwater structure and activity.
And it worked to show us some unique and interesting underwater geography; we found the drop offs, some rock piles, and submerged tree (or was it a water logged canoe) on the old river bed. There were lots of fish there and Raymi let out a victory cry, thrilled to see fish of all sizes swimming below.
Here is the device in a dry bag the next morning. We didn't take as many pictures the next day because we weren't fishing anymore and were well fed by Scott and company. The Madawaska River is internationally known for whitewater kayaking and rafting , also offers an multitude of flatwater paddling experiences, and all that day we just paddled and enjoyed ourselves. The Drive Home Was the Most Interesting Part of the Trip
Right out of the gate we took the wrong road, or rather it was the right road, but we chose to drive the wrong way, further north and east instead of west and south back to Toronto. We ended up in Quadville twenty minutes later. This little town is on the Mine Data map - Quadville is a prolific beryl producing region in Ontario
, but we didn't know that... We just knew we
And this local man whom we spotted cutting wood nearby really had to rack his brain to determine which of the two roads leaving the area was the best option to get to Toronto. Finally he sent us further east, away from our eventual destination, on the road to Eganville and down history's lane way as I now know we traveled for some distance through the Opeongo Hills along the historic Opeongo Line was one of the initial colonization roads surveyed by William Bell in 1847 was cleared by settlers in 1854 - 1865. Several songs have been written about the Opeongo Line, one of the most recent by Canadian singer-songwriter Terry McLeish. His song, "The Opeongo Line", has been included in several musicals and in a tourist CD production of this historic road. The Tiny Town of Cormac, Ontario
Cormac Ontario is a ghost town that contains weird religious ceremony sites. Located in Renfrew County on County Rd. 512,43 km SW of Pembroke. Go there in late July and you will see Catholicism in its most vigorous practice.
As we traveled the Foymount rd we climbed and then descended down Foymount Hill and there
did behold the stately gray stone Church of St. Ann's, with its sky reaching steeple. Behind this local landmark is a very creepy little graveyard with no shade trees whatsoever. You could not hide from the lord at any service there... Father James McCormac was responsible for the building of the first church here in 1891 and must have instructed there be no trees on the property. Apparently this hilltop location was chosen because it was then a trade depo in Cormac and it was something of a local traffic center in the late 1800s, a town through which wagon trains brought settlers and dry goods. The church was named St Annes because of Father McCormac's deep devotion to this particular saint.
At the bottom of the hill the beautiful Shrine of St. Ann, nestled among the pines, where the first Pilgrimage took place in 1938. The area often finds tourists frequently praying at Her steps or kneeling before the nearby monument to the newborn. Pictures below .
Several minutes later we arrived in Eganville where we refueled the car and bought a bag of bacon flavoured beef jerky before continuing south on Hwy 41. We found
Maple Dale Cheese and bought a bag of cheese curd Maple Dale cheese factory in Plainville Ontario
is a family run business, located on Highway 37, just 10 minutes north of Belleville, Ontario. It wasn't hard to find, the business has grown to a footprint of 40,000 square feet, and accommodates production areas, cutting and packaging facilities, offices, warehouses, and a dimly lit retail store.
I bought a bag of garlic flavoured cheese curd that I absolutely devoured while driving, even though Raymi wanted to keep it for garlic flavoured grill cheese toast and I kinda wish I'd listened as I felt a little bloated about an hour later.. still driving but now on the 401 east.
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