French River Canoe Trip 2002

The Vineland Scouts and Venturers explored the historic route of the voyageurs during their annual canoe trip  in northern Ontario. Each year our scouts plan and train for the annual canoe trip. Each scout had to attend a canoe training camp and earn the right to attend by learning a variety of skills including: knots, lashing, cooking, camps skills and much more.

Setting off for a day of paddling.

We left early in the morning to travel about seven hours to our put-in at Pine Cove Lodge on the Upper French River. We paddled with a stiff wind for about two hours to our first destination, the Five Pine Rapids. Since the main site was taken we moved on to a site on the main channel situated on a rocky point across from some high cliff. Once we set up camp some of the scouts decided to try some cliff jumping while a couple of us started supper (a hearty chicken stir fry). It was quite exciting to jump from the granite ledge into the clear cold water. Later it was a perfectly clear night and the stars were brighter than we had ever seen before. Everyone was tired and it was an early night after a cup of hot chocolate and hot apple crumble.

   

Cliff jumping                                                Building rock structures

An early morning breakfast prepared us for the paddle downstream around numerous island to the Rainy Rapids on the far side of Commanda Island. This small series of rapids and swifts was the first moving water some of the scouts had ever canoed. The second set of rapids looked like a bit more than we could handle so we lined the canoes down.  

   

Running the Rainy Rapids                                       Lining the canoes

We headed farther downstream to Point Edward where there is a rather tricky small rapid that caught some of the leaders by surprise and they took an unexpected swim! We set up camp on the top of the bluff beside the Blue Chutes and we spent the rest of the day swimming and canoeing in the rapids. We had decided to pack in some frozen steaks for the fire that night. It was a nice treat, and we sat up on the rocks and watch the sun set and moon rise.

   

Swimming in the Blue Chutes

Another crystal clear sky welcomed us in the morning. Fresh picked blueberries were a great treat with our oatmeal. After packing up we made the short trip back upstream to the other side of Commanda Island where we set up camp just upstream of the portage on the Big Pine Rapids. This beautiful site was ideal. The scouts again spent a large part of the day floating and playing in the rapids. Some even tried their hand at fishing and we caught a couple of nice smallmouth bass. We fried up some smoked sausages on the fire along with some fried rice for supper. At dusk we enjoyed some hot chocolate around the fire before we all headed for the tents.

Having a break in camp.

Our last day was a short portage and a two hour paddle back to where we park our cars. The scouts quickly packed up the gear and we were off to the French River Trading Post for a lunch and an icy cold drink. Rather than stopping on the highway on the way home we headed straight to Scouter Mike's where we enjoyed  a couple of Pizzas we preordered and had delivered and enjoyed "several" tubs of ice cream. It was a great way to end another fantastic trip.

The Vineland Scouts at the end of the trip on the beach at Pine Cove.