That’s Calton Road to the sandy beaches of Port Burwell
Just the facts:
Distance traveled: 11.01 miles (17.718 km.)
Total time: 4:20:38
Moving time: 3:25:22
Avg. Speed: 2.5 mph (4.023 kph)
Avg. Moving Speed 3.2 mph (5.149 kph)
Avg. Heart Rate: 95 bpm
What really matters:
Thursday, August 5th, Reid and I ventured off to the shores of Lake Erie. We drove into Port Burwell, where we left one vehicle. From there, we backtracked a few minutes north to Colton Road and began looking for Big Otter Creek.
Finding it exactly where the map said it was, we unloaded our kayaks and prepared to paddle our 70-year-old asses back to where we had left the other vehicle a few short minutes ago.
The banks of Big Otter Creek were steep, sandy at the top, muddy at the bottom. I tied a rope around my kayak and slid it down the embankment. With muddy feet, I climbed into my “Banana” boat. Reid was a little more adventurous and rode his boat partway down the sandy embankment. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were trapped in a creek with high embankments on both sides, and the only way out was a sandy beach in Port Burwell.
The next couple of hours, we spent enjoying the scenery and learning lessons about the danger of the waterways.
At one point, the current caught me and pushed me and the kayak against a fallen tree. The pressure of the water on 14 feet of kayak took most of my strength to free myself and my boat from its grasp. We quickly learned to approach every bend with caution, as you had no idea what lay just around the corner. Even obstacles you could see needed to be approached slowly with caution until you had determined the best way through and plotted your course.
Every twist and turn brought a new feast to behold. The play of light and shadow on the leaves and the creek was breathtaking.
We planned to stop in Vienna for lunch. When we got to Vienna Memorial Park, we took one look at the sandy bank and decided there was no way we were going to drag our tired, sore buts up that embankment, never mind our kayaks. Discouraged and hungry, we paddled on.
Fifteen minutes downstream, Reid discovered a sandy, muddy flat piece of land that must have been all of about two and a half feet wide. Some unknown landowner had even installed a set of steps from their yard down to this little stretch of heaven. After a stretch, these steps provided a resting place for us to devour sandwiches and take in some water.
Back into our kayaks, we paddled on. At this point the creek is beginning to widen, and as it does so, the current slows. Paddling becomes more strenuous.
I could hear running water but couldn’t see the source of it. Turning over my shoulder I spotted a little stream entering the Big Otter Creek. The current was still strong enough to be carrying me past it as I got my camera out. I paddled back upstream and eventually got myself into position to capture the water cascading into the creek.
It’s a photographer’s dual. I’ll take a picture of you taking a picture of me.
It had been a longer paddle than we had anticipated. The creek widened and slowed. We passed floating signs saying “NO WAKE” followed by docks with rows and rows of boats tied up. Beyond the Port Burwell Marina we paddled to the end of the pier, rounded the end, and paddled back, landing on the sandy beach.
The scenery had been incredible and this was beyond a doubt my favourite venture thus far in my “Banana Boat.”
Where will the next adventure take us?