A late season paddle on the Napanee River


Kayak Napanee River Fall Curl Road 4.jpg

With the kayaking season nearing an end for another year, I recently took advantage of a beautiful late-October day to paddle a stretch of the Napanee River that I hadn’t visited in a while.

While many of the leaves have fallen here in L&A, the drive from Napanee was still a pretty one. I took the scenic route to the boat launch on Curl Road in Stone Mills between Camden East and Yarker.

When I arrived at the launch, I unloaded my kayak and headed east, hoping to get a unique view of the base of the falls in the hamlet of Yarker. Unfortunately after a short distance the water was too low to continue. I could see that the water got deep again not far up the river so I attempted a brief portage by walking through the water. It wasn’t my smartest decision of the day as the water was way (way) too cold to continue more than only a few metres. I quickly hopped back in the vessel and headed west toward Camden East.

Kayak Napanee River Fall Curl Road 5.jpg

Lesson learned… stay in the kayak.

The view heading west was still a good one. There was no wind whatsoever, and the reflections of trees and blue sky were perfectly mirrored in the motionless water. There was still some colour, but the shades of brown and yellow dominated the shoreline for the most part.

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Birds were everywhere I looked throughout my visit, and I heard the calls of blue jays, mallards, geese, black birds, and even a few robins along the way. I also saw a turtle sunning itself on a partially-submerged log, undoubtedly taking full advantage of one of the final warm and sunny days of the year.

This stretch of the Napanee River is a great one, and I’m looking forward to visiting again next year during warmer weather so I can explore it more fully. Next time I definitely want to attempt the paddle east toward Yarker, but will avoid the cold feet I experienced during this trip.

Kayak Napanee River Fall Curl Road 6.jpg

After about an hour I decided it was time to head back to the truck, and in the process likely ending my paddling season for another year. The countdown is already on for the spring to arrive so I can explore many more kilometres of shoreline here in Lennox & Addington County.

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