View topic - Grand River outing on Saturday - been out this spring?

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PostPosted: March 29th, 2007, 1:47 pm 
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Joined: December 24th, 2006, 2:00 pm
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I had not paddled the section from the GTO Gas Bar at the south end of Galt down to Glen Morris (I'd down several sections but had not done this one), so I decided to take a little solo jaunt last Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed my first paddle of the year.

The river was (and I am sure still is) in spring flood conditions. Because of this I took a good two hours to carefully inspect it. During that time I drove up and down the east shore road to check it out. Apart from walking out on the bridges I also ended up scrambling down a hillside to have a very close look at the rapids (I could see them through the trees) at the old mill site (ruins) that is just down river from the low level bridge. Good thing I did.

The overall conditions on the river were perfect, a few swifts, a class 1 and one class 3 (class II tech on the left, II to III in the larger channel on the right), which I decided to portage. I was definitely wearing my wetsuit but being alone and the first time out this year plus my first look at this section … well I decided to err on the side of caution. The standing waves at this location (by the mill ruins) were something, with 2 feet rollers if not 2 and a half!

The left side of that rapids was doable but there looked to be a ledge with the need to maneuver for rocks above and below it so ... I will try this section in the future but when I have assistance in case I dump. I certainly know I want to set up to play this spot and since it is but 40 minutes from my house I feel it's a great location to tune up for the river runs I so look forward to through spring to fall. I mean the road is right there so there is no issue with warming up in case of a cold swim.

I ended up choosing to slip into the old channel that was obviously created to service the mill wheel, which is at the beginning of the rapids on the far left. The water was very calm in there making for an easy landing, perfect considering the water was very fast moving in the river - could have been a tough landing for sure, especially as this spot is right after the bridge and a slight bend in the river ... it creeps up on you even though you can hear it from a distance. My advice; stay hard left unless you know your whitewater stuff.

I am sure in the summer this would just be a rock garden, barely class I. Likely even un-run-able on the left and the right probably studded with rocks, judging by the standing waves, though I must go out there this summer to see for myself. I sure wish I had brought my Pelican Case and Nikon digital so I had photos for you to see!

In case you are wondering where Glenn Morris is - Highway # 5 from above Dundas heading west leads you almost right there - about 22 or 24 kms from Hwy #8, just a few K beyond St. George. You just take a right at the end and you can find the side road to the takeout at the bottom of a dip in the East Shore Rd.

The ruins are farther up, also easy to see in the spring. In the summer, though the ruins are likely obscured by the trees. To find them just look for where there is a path leading down from the side of the road right at the start of a wire barrier on the edge of a mini rock cut.

I have read the notes in the Grand River Conservation Area guide book for paddling the river. Apparently there is a rapid just around the left (east turning) bend from Glen Morris that is heavy in the spring. Since there is no way to inspect it by car (that is a canyon section) I did not attempt a solo to Paris. However, there is an old rail trail there which I might just take my bike and ride this weekend to have a good look. Then I can report on this as well (conditions and run-a-bility - since it is just a 2 hour paddle that I took, running on to Paris would make it a more decent outing).

The rapids at the take out are nothing. One easy downstream V to negotiate left of the island. A rock to miss just prior in the swift under the high level bridge (on the left) ... a bit of current at the take out but just pass under the over hanging trees and use them for what ends up being an easy landing indeed.

I bribed the teenager running the GTO Gas Bar to watch my canoe and paddles, called a taxi, had him follow me to the takeout and drive me back. Only cost me $35 in total.

All in all, I must say, as long as I live in Hamilton this is a perfect location for me to have a tune up in the spring and I recommend it to anyone. Just watch the part by the ruins and you will be a-ok.

Anyone else been out this spring?

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