Peggy Varner is a Canadian paddler, freelance writer, and communications professional with a blog about sea kayaking, paddling and perspective. Let's keep it vague (Vaag!) so we can see where it will go.
I like being in or near the water. Rivers are always a challenge. If you don't know the river, you've got to research if you can paddle it, or scout it out on foot, by bike, or drive the route if a road follows it. There are currents, and the effect of wind direction and speed to think about, water temperature, and often dams and bridges, especially in urban areas. And other surprises which can be good or bad . . . a sandy beach? A fallen tree? Rocks?
Tidal rivers, like the Saguenay River off the St. Lawrence River, near Tadoussac, Quebec, or rivers prone to wind tides, like the Napanee River, in Ontario, add other challenges. It isn't always easy to find information about some of the rivers you want to paddle.
Because we did not know the Moira River, in Belleville, Ontario (Canada), with its mouth on Great Lake Ontario's Bay of Quinte, we left the kayaks parked, and decided to cycle it to scout it out.
We discovered theMoira Riverfront Trail, a very cool 4.4 kilometer (2.7 mile) long dedicated pathway (meaning no cars!) that runs parallel to the river.
In Belleville, the Moira River has visible current, rapids, shallows, rocks, several dams and bridges.
So this stretch of the river is better visited on foot or by bike. You can bring the doggie. The Moira Riverfront Trail is dog friendly, as long as dogs are on a leash and you stoop and scoop. Bring your own doggie bags. There are some receptacles for garbage and recycling along the way. Two thumbs up!
If you've got a fishing pole and are wondering what's biting, there are dedicated spots on some bridges for fishing. This is also probably a clue as to the best and most popular bridges to fish from.
There are gazebos and pergolas along the way. Perfect for striking a yoga pose. To me, they are Zen structures. I like to spend time in them.
Depending on the season, you'll see a heron or two taking flight . . . but you'll need a good zoom and fast shutter speed on your camera to catch the takeoff without a blurred image.
Cormorants air their wings on the dam booms.
You may even spot a snapping turtle or two along the path. In spring when they lay their eggs in sunny, sandy spots along the gravel sections of the trail, or in the late summer/early fall, when the baby snappers scramble out of the nests.
The Moira Riverfront Trail in Belleville, Ontario is one of my favourite urban cycling paths.But there's more . . . a cool lunch spot we found.Two thumbs up for the Moira Riverfront Trail and the lunch spot.
Friend of all things YAK.
The biggest waters I've paddled on so far include the Atlantic off Acadia National Park-Maine, Veraderro-Cuba, the Saguenay River from Tadoussac, Quebec, Lake Superior's Apostle Islands off Bayfield, WI, Lake Ontario at Sandbanks, the St. Lawrence 1000 Islands off Gananoque- Ontario, the Pacific off Ventura, Calif. around one of the Channel Islands (Santa Cruz), the Caribbean off St. Martin. I want to get on the water in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and BC. I like little water too! BaffinPaddler@hotmail.com