View topic - Head River from Head Lake to Monck road. (Pic heavy )

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 1:33 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2006, 4:25 pm
Posts: 3016
Location: Milton
Head River - From Head Lake to Monck rd.

We have been running this stretch of the Head River since we had our cottage there in the mid 60’s
It is still a very popular route with the cottagers there.
It is a very pretty stretch of river but we always ran it after ice out when the river was high and before the black flies came out.
There are very few cottages/cabins on this stretch which really gives you that remote feel to it.
The bonus to paddling it later is that there was much more wildlife along the river and it was much different than what I saw on my two earlier trips in to QEIIWLPP this year which was quite nice except for the fact having to wear a bug shirt once it warmed up.

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There was never a gauge of the river till two years ago so it was hard to tell what levels where still paddle-able for most people.

It is approx. a 18km paddle and the time it takes will depend on your ability and whether you do any little side trips
My brother ran this stretch April 17, and the Gauge at Sebright was 9.65.
I ran it may 18th and the gauge was 9.25.

Gauge Link:
http://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/google_map/ ... oSearch=Go

Here is a screen save of the gauge from April 1 to May 25, 2016

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There is a considerable change on the river between these two readings and I would not like to paddle it lower than when I did because there would be much more walking involved.

Up until the first two rapids the river sides and bottom are very swampy and soft with few places to get out easily.
From there to the take out at Monck Rd. the bottom is much more solid in the shallows.
That was a neat discovery for me as I had never had the chance to see the bottom of this stretch before.

From a photographic perspective I found the lower level much more attractive to shoot the rapids and falls, but it was much more rocky.

For wildlife I saw 1 Green Heron, a couple of Common Terns, about half a dozen Wood ducks, a few beavers, and two moose, one a really big bull. I am sure they were closer to the river because the cooler water and less black flies. Once you got on top of the side ridges into the side ponds the flies were… hungry! Three was lots of turtles till the first rapid then I did not see any at all, which is strange considering it is a good 7k long stretch.

I was surprised a few other times, the first time upstream of the Head lake Dam on the west side I found an A T V trail that has not been used recently, I followed it a bit in both directions and I assume it runs down to the dam and it would have been what the old time farmers would have followed and that explains how the submerged old tractor got down so far on the river

Old tractor - Lat - 44°47’29.50"N
Long - 78°56’36.99"W

pics of trail

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The other surprise was a very old trail but it disappeared into growth, but also a flagged hiking trail at the last rapid.

I included the Lat/Long for you people that need tech support to run a river.
:wink:

For the first time since I started testing for phone service in the area I had a strong signal all the way down the river.

But also for most rapids images from both dates so you can see the water flow differences, May 18th. first, April 17th second.
The pics from April 17 are by my brother Jay.
The camp site locations below Smudge Creek are a sort of best choice available since the park boundary is sporadic again.

All the portages are on private land, please respect their property!


Camp site view above the first two rapids.
Lat. - 44°47'18.83"N
Long - 78°57'14.41"W

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RAPID # 1 - Lat - 44°46'56.82"N
Long - 78°57’38.19”
Class II; Portage river left 10m above drop.
Approx. 15m long; Lift over in lower water levels.

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RAPID # 2 - Lat - 44°46’55.72"N
Long - 78°57'42.61"W
Class III in high water, II in lower levels.
There is an ATV bridge at the start, at higher levels you may have to lift over the bridge to run the rapid.
CAUTION: At the bottom of the narrows, the river left shore is undercut approx. 5m long 1m. high and up to 3m deep.
In higher flows the current goes into this undercut and no reactionary wave is present.
Portage for the rapid is 15m upstream on river right, approx. 80m long.
From April 17th only.

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The undercut looking upstream in 2004, drought conditions.

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Smudge Creek mouth.- Lat - 44°46’47.53"N
Long - 78°57’53.98"W


Campsite: Lat - 44°46'44.91"N
Long - 78°57’55.15"W
Not a great site but it is high ground and ridge line, completely inside the park.

_________________
Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


Last edited by jedi jeffi on May 25th, 2016, 1:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 1:34 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2006, 4:25 pm
Posts: 3016
Location: Milton
Part II

RAPID # 3 - Lat - 44°46’17.49"N
Long - 78°58’12.30”W
Class I

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Camp Site: Lat - 44°46'15.66"N
Long - 78°58’15.16”
This is in the pool between rapids # 3 and #4.
From the river right shore, you would have to carry approx. 30m from to be in the park on top of a low level ridge line.
So do not camp on that little swath of land, it is private!


RAPID # 4 - Lat - 44°46'14.67"N
Long - 78°58’11.15"W
Class II med to high flows.

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Camp site - Sweeper ?
Lat - 44°46'5.38"N
Long - 78°58'12.18"W

There is some high ground and the island is also completely inside the park here. Would not take much work to clear the sweeper out.
The river left channel can be run at the May 18th level and higher.
Looking upstream.

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ATV Bridge - Lat - 44°45'51.54"N
Long - 78°58’17.44"W
In high flows portage river left 15 - 20 m.
Looking Downstream

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RAPID # 5 - Lat - 44°45'50.40"N
Long - 78°58’19.87"W
Class II

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The low water short cut. On the map and Sat. shots this looks like your typical oxbow but the river is actually just following the ridge lines.

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RAPID # 6 - Lat - 44°45'46.79"N
Long - 78°58’24.22"W
Class II; In low flows there is a dry channel 40m above the start of this rapid on river right. It would be about a 3m pull over to the river and save some walking in the river.

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Lower half of rapid.

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Log Cabin and foot bridge to island.
Lat - 44°45'52.18"N
Long - 78°58'26.36"W

RAPID # 7 - Lat - 44°45'52.31"N
Long - 78°58’28.78”W
Class II to III depending on levels, at certain flows it may form low level dam type holes. In low levels just carry down the edge of the river. River left side is a little more gentle.

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You can see that in higher water the lower half of the rapid is washed out but the hole gets much more “meaty - er” with a good wash back on it.

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RAPID # 8 - Lat - 44°46'4.23"N
Long - 78°58’38.58"
Class IV; Take river right channel, Portage 10m above drop, river right, approx. 25m long.

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_________________
Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


Last edited by jedi jeffi on May 25th, 2016, 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 1:36 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2006, 4:25 pm
Posts: 3016
Location: Milton
Part III

RAPID # 9 - Lat - 44°46'4.13"N
Long - 78°58’52.88"
Class IV; DANGER - low level ATV bridge can not be run at higher waters do to no passage under bridge.
Portage River left channel, 30m above first drop; Carry up to ATV trail (10m); Turn right on trail (15m) and turn left just before opening to falls.
Approx. 50 m. long in high water; up to 100m in low flows.

First part of drop above the bridge.

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Drop at the ATV Bridge

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From the bottom.

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RAPID # 10 - Triple Drop
Lat - 44°46'3.78"N
Long - 78°59'2.28"W
Class III; could reach IV in extreme higher flows.
Runable chute river left side.
Caution:
Drops/holes on this rapid can have low head dam type holes in higher flows.

The holes from April 17.

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Portage now river left right above the rapid.
Could easily be moved to river right side with property owners permission.
Approx. 25m. long.
Just a lift over in lower flows - 10m.

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RAPID # 11 - Lat - 44°46'2.30"N
Long - 78°59’5.85"W
Class I, strong flow through narrows in high water.

Campsite and trail: Lat - 44°46'0.02"N
Long - 78°59'9.29"W

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This is where I found the older ATV trail and the flagged trail leading to the west past the beaver ponds. (inside the park again.)

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From here to Monck road, as of this date there are numerous trees down. In medium and high flows there is a good current and the bottom is solid in most places. The number of portages and lift overs will vary.

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Very interesting river, something that I did not really pay that much attention to in my younger days up there.
So doing this trip and gathering information what a less experienced paddler would look for did make for a very enjoyable trip.


Jeff

Google maps jpegs are in the album. I just highlighted the river with the rapids sections as opposed to trying to put everything in.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1142241160 ... directlink
If you go make a topographic map you can zoom in on river and play with the view toggles so the SAT. shot on topo info are shown together so you get a good view of the park boundaries.
http://www.giscoeapp.lrc.gov.on.ca/matm ... cale=en-US

_________________
Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 3:20 pm 
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Joined: August 19th, 2007, 5:40 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Timmins
Great stuff Jeff!
Been looking at a spring run to the Black for a while now... Still hasn't materialized.

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My Backcountry Website: www.explorethebackcountry.com



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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 3:26 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2006, 4:25 pm
Posts: 3016
Location: Milton
Best time to run from Monck to Victoria is now.... if you are a birder.
Has always had tons of wood.
From Victoria to Monck has some great 2/3 rapids.
From From Monck to the Black I remember one small ledge but it is washed out in high water.
And black flies, lord thundering........ black flies which is why we always ran it after ice out and before bugs.
Jeff

Edit more info here on the Ontario river wiki site
http://www.whitewaterontario.ca/rivers/ ... Head_River
My favourite stretch as a young teenager was the Victoria to McKenzie part.
Very interesting that the river actually goes through a limestone canyon.
In high water it is the first place I dropped into a river hole on purpose.
The stretch from McKenzie to Lake Dalrymple Road is the most popular now in the spring with WW boaters, that and the Quaker Oats farm on Monck for the Timmy who coffee and butter tarts. :D

_________________
Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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