A couple of years back, my daughter, my dog and I moved into a small house set in Bridgnorth, a quaint village in the Peterborough and Kawarthas Region of Ontario.
The house is situated across the public launch on Chemong Lake, a busy body of water that sees heavy boat traffic in the summer and countless snowmobiles racing by in the winter. It’s also set on a hill that seems to always get a stiff, cold breeze.
My well broke not long after we moved it. Never thought the first glass of water from my tap would cost me $8,000. It has its perks, though.
The small abode comes complete with a spiral staircase, porch to watch the sunset and a laneway that shares the same strip of land that was once a historic portage leaving Chemong Lake. How funny—I’m actually living on a portage.
The portage placement gave me an idea. Wouldn’t it be cool to be dropped off somewhere north and then simply paddle home, carrying my canoe and gear back up my laneway from the public launch? It kind of had that Pierre Berton’s Drifting Home feel to it.
Well, I just completed the journey.
What an amazing trip! The route took me across the length of Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, through the Trent Severn Lift Lock in Buckhorn, and across the expanse of Buckhorn and Chemong Lakes. There were some high and lows.
Deer-flies drove my poor dog, Angel, crazy. Humid weather and spooky thunderstorms made things interesting. High floodwater on the Mississauga River made running rapids questionable at times. Some thug attempted to run away with my canoe pack at the river dam portage.
But I had a shore lunch of bass each and every day. Met some friendly cottage folk chillin’ on their docks. Got flushed through the echoing chamber of the Buckhorn Lift Lock. Camped under rock and pine, except when I pitched my tent amongst the boaters at the Buckhorn Lift Lock who were toasting marshmallows around the campfire and humming melodies of Garth Brooks and John Denver.
I took the dog and myself out to dinner at the Mainstreet Landing Restaurant in Buckhorn. I even picked up morning treats along the way at my all-time favourite, Buckhorn Bakery. It was an early, wind-free morning across Buckhorn and Chemong Lakes with a sunrise over my left shoulder and a rainbow arching across the sky on my right. And it all ended by portaging my canoe and gear right to my front door.
Looking for a unique adventure? Consider your own backyard.
Check out this video series on my journey: