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 Post subject: Gibson River
PostPosted: May 25th, 2009, 8:32 pm 
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Joined: March 30th, 2008, 9:04 am
Posts: 89
Location: Port Perry ON
I am looking for some info about the Gibson/Maquash River. I am looking to do a day trip starting from hwy 400 and hopefully paddling down to Three Rock Chute and then return. Will it be too difficult to paddle back upstream or is there enough flat water to do this(I dont mind carrying or wading fast sections). Second, can I access the river from the south bound 400, my maps show a dirt road on the south west side that runs right down to the river. Can I put in and park here? Any info appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: May 25th, 2009, 11:42 pm 
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Joined: April 6th, 2008, 5:17 pm
Posts: 74
Location: oakville, ontario
From what I remember, the water is flat without noticeable current, paddling either direction is fine


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: May 28th, 2009, 12:00 pm 
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Joined: May 27th, 2009, 7:16 pm
Posts: 17
Since I live somewhat nearby to the Gibson I thought I would jump in. I frequently paddle McCrae Lake just to the south of the Gibson and have wanted to paddle it down and around and finish at McCrae for several years. MNR used to maintain that route and publish a guide many years ago, but alas no more.

I have come up to the Gibson from the bottom via Musquash Channel and Chris is correct the river should be an easy go either direction. But there are other issues.

The road you speak of on the map is not accessible. It leads to a microwave tower and is gated and heavily signed. If you use google maps and switch to satellite you can get a decent lay of the land. If you get off the 400 northbound at the exit before the bridge over the Gibson - google maps shows it as South Gibson Rd - and go east then turn left - north on Iroquois Rd you will eventually come to a small open lot where you can see the bridge and the river. You could potentially put in here - as long as you have someone to drive your vehicle away as soon as you off load. I went up there 2 summers ago for a look-see with the intent of doing the Gibson that summer and I was not out of my car two minutes when an OPP cruiser drove by slowly, then back again. The empty lot is heavily signed as no parking with vehicles towed and bears much evdience of previous use as a garbage dump or party spot. He saw my camera and stayed in his cruiser on the side of the road. Once I left he went the other way. Off Iroquois Rd there is a turn east on Hiawatha and it would appear there is a marina there and pssibly a community boat launch. This would add a few km to the trip but avoid being towed and possibly avoid a break-in at an unattended vehicle.

I have not actually paddled over and looked under the highway bridge but from the spot I was standing it looks like a boulder field getting under the 400. That said - it is a very popular tripping route with youth camps so there must be a reasonable portage.

The past few years MTO has been very busy erecting barriers at many of the unapproved pull offs and parking spots along the 400. If you leave a vehicle where you should not - it will get ticketed and/or towed.

Depending on when you want to go and what you want to do (I just re-read day trip) once school gets out you will have to contend with numerous youth camps - YMCA, City of Vaughan Parks and Rec, City of Toronto Youth at Risk, and numerous other local youth camp operators who use the Gibson as their trip route and terminate on McCrae Lake. Campsites and portages can get busy.

Goodluck and let us know how it goes - I still want to do this river as a one way to McCrae.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: May 28th, 2009, 3:53 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3172
Location: Newmarket, Ontario Canada
We have never had any problem getting under the bridge - it is narrow, but deep enough. However, we have not been there in a few years. Thanks for the warning about the parking.

Just past the water fall (3 Rock Chute), there is a nice campsite on RR.) However, motor boats can get up this far.

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Present: Slip, Slap and Slop, hide from the sun! Past: Get some colour in those cheeks! Paddle Naked!



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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: May 28th, 2009, 6:20 pm 
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Joined: March 30th, 2008, 9:04 am
Posts: 89
Location: Port Perry ON
Thanks for the detailed input. The section of the Gibson looked interesting from Three Rock Chute east to the 400 as there shouldnt be any boat traffic making it a peacefull paddle. Unfortunately like many rivers in the area such as the Moon River access and parking are becoming a problem. Hopefully my schedule will allow me to check it out in the next couple of weeks and I'll let you know how it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: May 28th, 2009, 7:12 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 7513
Location: Scarbados, Ontario Canada
Looking forward to hear what you find, JJ.

I've stopped paddling the Gibson maybe 15 years ago because of the many power boaters below and at three rock falls. We used to put in on the shore of Gibson Lake, at the end of Road 33 and take out at the McCrae parking lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: May 28th, 2009, 8:53 pm 
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Joined: May 23rd, 2006, 12:30 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Scarborough
I've camped many times on that stretch of the Gibson. Most recently, maybe a couple of years ago, while heading south on the 400, I have parked on the gravel road leading to the microwave tower. There is a locked gate that is used by the cottagers on the river but if you pull over to the side and keep the road clear you can unload your gear and carry it down to the river. It's maybe a 100 meter carry. There isn't a lot of motor boat traffic either, I seem to recall there being maybe 15 cottages at most. And the river is basicaly stagnant at this stretch as well. Lots of bass at the first island in the middle of the river that you come across. I've had problems getting under the bridge later in the season when parking on Iriquois Road and the small chutes 200m downstream when turning left to the river proper can be shallow with lots of red and blue scapes on the rocks.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: May 31st, 2009, 9:01 am 
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Joined: March 30th, 2008, 9:04 am
Posts: 89
Location: Port Perry ON
Thanks John, did you leave your vehicle parked off to the side of the road overnight without any problems?


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: June 1st, 2009, 4:19 pm 
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Joined: May 23rd, 2006, 12:30 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Scarborough
I assume you're talking about the gravel road and not the highway. I have parked there without any problems. I just made sure I didn't block the entrance of the gate. The cottage owners use it to park their cars and launch boats. Maybe you could google earth it to get a lay of the land.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: June 1st, 2009, 7:58 pm 
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Joined: March 30th, 2008, 9:04 am
Posts: 89
Location: Port Perry ON
Google earth is exactly where I spotted the possible access. Its a wonderful resource for checking out paddling routes, too bad a good part of central Ontario has poor resolution.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: June 11th, 2009, 8:22 pm 
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Joined: March 30th, 2008, 9:04 am
Posts: 89
Location: Port Perry ON
I was able to get out for a paddle on the Gibson this past Saturday. I parked on the shoulder of the Global tower access road and cut through the cottagers river access. There was another car with a roof rack parked there as well and I passed two fellows who had spent the night down the river on their way out. There are only a half dozen cottages on the upper part of the river and once I negotiated the treacherous 200m portage around the first drop there was no one to be seen. From there it was a few Km,s of paddling into the wind till I reached where the dam from the Musqaush river dumps into the Gibson. There was alot of water running over it and the bizzare mix of currents made it tricky to paddle through. Its not much further to Three Rock Chute which is worth the trip. Very scenic and a ton of water flowing over it. There are a couple of decent unmaintained sites along this stretch. The only draw back is worrying about wether or not my vehicle would be O.K . where I had left it.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: June 11th, 2009, 9:49 pm 
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Joined: May 23rd, 2006, 12:30 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Scarborough
jjpt, where is the potage on the first drop? I just lugged our canoe over the top to the left of the river. I also remember about half a dozen beaver dams we had to plow through south of the first portage. Are they still there? There is a great camp spot on the upper stretch of the river. On my last vist, someone set up a plastic picnic table with chairs, and a plastic bag full of toilet paper. Very considerate I thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: June 13th, 2009, 7:30 am 
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Joined: March 30th, 2008, 9:04 am
Posts: 89
Location: Port Perry ON
I portaged to the right of the drop. There was no clear portage trail but after some scouting I found a trail down the far side of the knob but getting the canoe up and over the steep rock face was a challenge. River right looked impassable with large jagged boulders lining the bank. On the way back I lined up the drop which wasnt a whole lot easier. There were no beaver dams and yes there was a nice site on the upper river just before it drops. There is another nice site where the Musquash joins the Gibson and a couple of sites at Three Rock Chutes, none of them are marked of maintained but they all looked clean.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: June 14th, 2009, 12:29 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3172
Location: Newmarket, Ontario Canada
If we are talking about the first real drop, the portage is to RL, take out is okay, but it is steep up, and then steep down. It gets a lot of deadfall, but the trail i there. First real scrapes we got on our canoe was from trying to run down, as we did not see an obvious portage.

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Present: Slip, Slap and Slop, hide from the sun! Past: Get some colour in those cheeks! Paddle Naked!



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 Post subject: Re: Gibson River
PostPosted: June 16th, 2009, 6:24 pm 
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Joined: March 30th, 2008, 9:04 am
Posts: 89
Location: Port Perry ON
I stand corrected Cheryl, the portage is on the left not marked but a faint trail can be found. I tried to line my canoe back up the drop but it was not much easier than carrying.


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