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Paddling the Mighty Moira River

A dog sitting in a canoe on a river. Find out what it's like heading out for a fall paddling adventure on the Might Moira River north of Belleville!

Join a paddling enthusiast and his four-legged friend as they venture up the Mighty Moira River for a fall paddling adventure.

Wow, what a day on the water; it was a double Yahtzee on the weather for my recent paddling adventure! And when the weather hits just right, that sweet sweet fall weather, getting in my canoe equals big-time enjoyment. For me, it’s all about river paddling, when the currents are real slow and the river meanders with plenty of wildlife. This particular section of the Moira River that I explored checked all of the boxes.

A house with a canoe on top, in front of a red-brick house. Find out what it's like heading out for a fall paddling adventure on the Might Moira River north of Belleville!
Canoe? Check. Dog? Check. I think we’re ready to go.

On this particular trip, my furry companion and I were loaded up and headed north, just a short drive north of Belleville. A boat launch with lots of parking  just off Highway 37 at O’Brien’s Bridge and I’m on the Mighty Moira River in no time — finally! And it’s just us, not another soul to be seen. I might as well have been 1,000 km away from anywhere. Check another big box for having the river to ourselves.

I’ve been trying to get on this river ever since I moved to the area five years ago, so today was long overdue. It doesn’t take long before Dog and I are off and up the river. My preference on day trips is go up against the current first. However hard the paddle is, it’s better to get it done off the hopper and leave the afternoon for the leisure cruise back down.

That wasn’t an issue the day we ventured along the river. It was leisurely the entire trip, a total of 12 km in five hours being a pretty slow pace. I am sure some current existed but it sure wasn’t noticeable. Another bonus of fall river paddling!

I was impressed with the size of the river, with heavily treed banks on both sides, passing HR Frink Conservation Area on the way up and Thurlow Wildlife Area on the way down. Those trees looked great for hammock breaks and keeping an eye out for plenty of wildlife.

A hammock hanging between trees beside a river. A house with a canoe on top, in front of a red-brick house. Find out what it's like heading out for a fall paddling adventure on the Might Moira River north of Belleville!

A realization that came quickly on this paddle is that every 0.5 km or so, I’d spot something that pushed me to keep going. It’s that ol’ chestnut going into the unknown, that feeling of exploring new territory. What’s next? What’s up ahead? Let’s keep paddling. I realize there might be nothing more exciting up ahead worth the effort — but there might be. So if I am totally okay with either result, it means I’m winning the day.

I sure felt like I was winning the wildlife game on this paddle. With zero boat traffic, the spottings were many; the largest Great Blue Herons and Kingfishers I’d seen in years were putting on a show for us up and down the river. There were many turtle logs with space at a premium, practically stacked on top of each other; it’s like packed AirBnb bookings in August for turtles up here! I wonder if there are turtle Super Hosts running the best logs on this river?

A Mute Swan family and a busy Muskrat were certainly highlights for Dog. I don’t know for sure if Dog is living his best life but he’s doing a fine job of keeping up to me while I try to live mine.

A dog in a canoe on a river. Find out what it's like heading out for a fall paddling adventure on the Might Moira River north of Belleville!
The travel companion, sniffing out other signs of wildlife.

You know something else I like doing? Getting the shot, without telling anyone or anything what to do. No coaxing, pushing or scaring. Just slowing down, relaxing and waiting for it. Most times it doesn’t happen but on those rare occasions, it happens and when it does, it feels organic and well-deserved.

What a gorgeous day, hopefully one of many more to come on the river Moira!

OUTTAKES

I must credit Quinte Conservation which has an excellent Canoe Guide for the Moira and Skootamatta. I will most certainly be referring to their maps and info in my future explorations.

I am only in year five living in this area, and other than a few mini day outings in The County, I have yet to come north and dive into the Mighty Moira. By no means am I an expert of the region — I have, however, been solo-tripping all types of water these past 40-some years and I can tell you there’s nothing more exciting to me than finding those new spots and having them pay off. You know the spots I’m talking about, where the skies open up and a choir blasts out that Hallelujah to just you!


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Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.

© 2018 Bay of Quinte Region | © TripAdvisor 2016

Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.