We are in the part of the Trent-Severn that is referred to as the Kawartha Lakes. It starts with Lake Katchewanooka. There are several lakes in this region that are connected by the canal locks. Beautiful area. There is also a great Kawartha ice cream that is made here. We never underestimate the power of good ice cream. 🙂
Along the way to our next overnight stop, we pulled over at the Youngs Point Lock to see a store called the Trading Post. It was written up in several of our Looper books with a high recommendation to see it. Sure enough, it was fun to see. A little bit of everything there. It was there that we found The Executioner. It looks like a small tennis racket. It has a battery in it and when activated, it becomes a hand held bug zapper. It has come in VERY handy on the boat.
Buckhorn Lock wall was our next destination. It was getting more crowded at the locks, although at this time we didn’t know why. When we got to Buckhorn, we were entering from the lower level and we asked the lock staff if there was room for two boats (our traveling buddy boat – Tug O’ My Heart and us) at the top. Yes, right then there was. We exited the lock and saw the space about 75 yards ahead. Before we could get there, two canoes came around the bend towards us. We heard the lockmaster over the loud speaker tell them to move right and hold – right into our intended space. We moved a little bit forward and suddenly saw not two – but twelve canoes/kayaks coming towards us. We couldn’t stop and hold because of boats behind us, so we had to move on. As we exited the lock area, we saw two Le Boats coming towards the lock. We’ve mentioned them before – rental house boats that look like bumper cars at the carnival. If we let them get past us, we’d probably lose all chance of getting a spot at this lock wall. Quick decision – we radioed our friends behind us and both of us did a 180 degree turn and headed back – hoping that the canoes would have moved out by then. We reached the spot and it was empty. Again, we both did 180 degree turns (so we’d be headed in the right direction) and started moving into the spots. As I was swinging out a line to tie to the wall, I heard a CRUNCH! Looked up just in time to see one of the Le Boats turning almost sideways in the lock channel and hitting first a cement wall and then some rocks. Whew — dodged a bullet there!
Next stop – Fenelon Falls. We got to the lock and found out there was no room at the top (where the electric power is available), so we settled for the bottom. We tied up to the wall at the bottom with our buddy boat. We enjoyed the sounds of the waterfall and just had to walk a bit farther to get to town. Lots of fun.
We were going to move on, when we found out this was going to be a long weekend for Canadians; hence the crowded conditions at the locks. We were curious as to the nature of the holiday. Seems that every person we asked had a different answer, or no answer at all! The best we could conclude is that it is a Civic Holiday. Because summers are fairly short in Canada, the government wants each of the summer months to have a three day holiday for the citizens to enjoy. Ed also believes that because it is a Civic Holiday, every Canadian with a boat believes it is their civic duty to be out on the water with that boat – or at least that’s how it seemed. Word was that there wouldn’t be space at any of the close by locks, so we decided to stay where we were. Fenelon Falls was celebrating the Founding of the Town, so celebrations and events were scheduled all weekend. We found other Looper boats at the top of the wall – quite a big group of us. Great little town. The Visitor’s Center had a Scavenger Hunt to introduce visitors to the various attractions and stores. Over the long weekend we enjoyed Lumber Jack contests, animal pelt exhibits, First Nations People presentations, a reinactment of a battle from the War of 1812 and fireworks at night over the water. By the way, the Americans lost that particular battle, and we were a little afraid they might replay that battle and run us out of the lock with the canon that they were firing! We were lucky to be able to move to the top of the wall on our 3rdand 4thnight there. The electrical hookup was welcome as the temps were rising and we could finally turn on some AC in the boat.
The town had all kinds of fun decorations out for the special holiday. Pool noodles were used to create “flowers” on light poles. Ed fit right in with his Hawaiian print shirt. We found some unusual butterfly benches in one of the parks. This one had a quote on it that touched our hearts… “Life is a Dance, A beautiful dance, So stand up and dance, What are you waiting for, It’s all about the dance.” – Jeremy McConnell
Reconnecting with people we’ve met along the way is part of the fun of Looping. Everyone does their own thing, but there’s always a good chance of meeting again. We hadn’t seen Cathy and Steve from United 771 since we had dinner at the Culinary Institute on the Hudson River. We connected again at Fenelon Falls and enjoyed another great dinner together at an Italian restaurant in town. We call them our “fine dining” friends as we seem to go to the classier restaurants when we are together.
On subsequent visits to other towns, people would often make reference to that long weekend, and it seemed that each location was celebrating something different. Guess it really didn’t matter – the people were all just happy to have a holiday!