June 21, 2014

Day 279 - June 20, 2014: Kirkfield Hydraulic Lift Lock 36

Our luck has continued with more great sunny and calm weather, and we headed out this morning to cross three more lakes in the Kawartha area. Sturgeon Lake is straight and narrow and well populated with elegant year-round homes along both shores. We were again impressed by how immaculate they are cared for and the extent to which the owners landscape and build large matching boat houses.

This family must love their boats!
Crossing Sturgeon Lake took us to Lock 34 and the little tourist town of Fenelon Falls. This town is known for its natural falls, named after Abbe Fenelon who fell over the falls in the late 1600s. A Canada guidebook describes this town as “The place to spend your summer vacation if you want Health, Happiness, Good Bathing, Good Boating and Good Bass Fishing.”

We tied up, walked the three-block downtown, and found a Thai restaurant for lunch. Lock 34, in Fenelon raises you to Cameron Lake, and entering the lake we saw a group of kids having great fun jumping off an abandoned railway bridge.

Anne at Fenelon Falls
Main Street, Fenelon Falls

Kids having fun jumping off the abandoned RR bridge
We have been to the most westerly point on the Great Loop (Mississippi River), the most southerly (Key West), the most easterly (New Jersey), We have been at sea level (Atlantic Ocean) and crossing Cameron Lake and going through Lock 35 into Balsam Lake put us at the highest water level on the Great Loop which is 840.6 feet above sea level. So from now on we will be locking down to reach the Great Lakes at 576.8 feet.

After crossing Balsom Lake we entered The Trent Canal, which is so narrow a sign requests that if you are over 40 feet in length, you should call in a security warning on your VHF radio to ensure that other boaters will be cautious and aware of your presence. The bottom and sides are shale rock and the depth is not much more than six feet throughout. We saw places where two 40 footers could not have passed each other without damaging props. The scenery reminded me of the Dismal Swamp in North Carolina.

The Trent Canal

Rocks along edges
The Trent Canal leads to Kirkfield, the site of a second hydraulic lock which is essentially the same design as the Peterborough Lock. The lock is lower at 49 feet but much more exposed, and this time we came in at the top and were dropped down to a small secluded park where we spent the night on the lock wall. It was fast, smooth and just as exciting as before. Later, a large cruise vessel, the Kawartha Voyageur, came through, and it helped us appreciate the immense size of these chambers.

Entering top of lock - looks like you can go right over the end
View from the top

View near the bottom

Kawartha Voyager entering the lock

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