Paddling the Nipigon River is EZ!

August 25

This week’s adventure brought me to the Nipigon Marina for some kayaking.  With the Celebration on The Great Trail coming up this Saturday, it was the perfect opportunity to explore our portion of the Trans Canada Water Trail.  In late summer of 2016, an EZ Dock was installed at the marina to make it easier for people to launch their kayaks and canoes.  It’s perfect for paddlers of all experience levels, from the beginners who have never been in a boat, to the advanced paddlers! Everyone will find boarding, launching and recovery a breeze.  The Township of Nipigon received funding for the launch, a composting washroom, and signage from Trans Canada Trail through the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy.   It’s all part of setting up access point infrastructure for the Trans Canada Water Trail.

I have been kayaking quite a bit out at camp, but this was a first when it comes to kayaking at the Nipigon marina, as well as using an accessible dock launch.  We got down to the marina around 9:30, unloaded the kayak (well I watched as the boys unloaded the kayak), put on my lifejacket, then set off.  It wasn’t a windy day so the water was calm, other than the current.  My paddle started at the EZ Dock – at the end of the marina – and I made my way past all of the docks, and under black bridge into the lagoon.  I personally found that when paddling in and around the lagoon I could feel the current the strongest.

As the most northerly port in North America, the Nipigon Marina is the perfect place to stop.  With a deep-water channel, all the way to the fully serviced marina, boaters are invited to cross the 49th parallel and receive their certificate commemorating the occasion.  The marina is also set up with camp sites, washrooms, water, pump outs and more. It’s the perfect place for someone who likes to boat or shore fish, hike, or bike.   Or just enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Look for pelicans, loons, ducks, bald eagles, and blue herons while you explore the marina.

I really enjoyed my kayaking experience, and would love to do it more regularly, but first I need to learn a bit more about kayaking equipment, skills, and tricks.

What to know?

  • Paddle: the size of paddle you’ll need depends on your height, paddling style and the width of your boat so make sure you get some advice before you pick up one.
  • Life Jacket:even if you can swim,  you must wear a lifejacket! Look for a low-cut model that fits tightly while still giving you enough room to move your arms freely.
  • Wet Suit/Swim Suit: I took my chances and just wore my regular clothes, but if you don’t want to chance getting all your clothes wet, a wet suit or swim suit is a good idea.
  • Paddling: Place your hands on the paddle shaft a little further apart than shoulder width, The basic paddle technique is a forward stroke. Place the blade in the water near your toes. Pull the blade back alongside the kayak then lift the paddle and perform the same move on the other side.
  • Rolling: Its always a possibility that your kayak could tip, make sure you know how to get out of the kayak safely and efficiently. Safety first.

If you want to come out and have a paddle on the river, there is no better time than to come out this Saturday at 6pm.  Along with other communities across Canada, we are having a Celebration on the Great Trail!  FREE food (while supplies last), canoe rides, facepainting, activities for the kids and an outdoor movie screening of the amazing documentary “Painted Land”.  If you don’t know too much about it, google it.  I’ve seen it, it’s pretty awesome.

Until my next adventure, exploring the edge.

-JZ