Last Run


Last Run
by Chris Bullen

On November 10th 2003, I was missing the open water already I had not been in the boat since the Kingston Messabout in September. I had the day off and needed to winterize the boat. The sun was shinning and the wind was low so I started to think of taking one last run. It was 7°C or 48°F. I took the boat up to Lake Simcoe about 15mins up the road from home.

Lake Simcoe is part of the Trent Severn Waterway connecting Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay and is southern Ontario's largest body of water excluding the Great Lakes. The Trent Severn has 45 locks on it so if you like to go up and down that’s the place to be. Lake Simcoe is 19 miles long, 16 miles wide making a total area on the order of 325 sq. miles with a shoreline of 144 miles. Lake Simcoe is KNOWN for downright scary storms when the wind picks up. Make no mistake; this is a lake to take serious. If the weather is bad you stay put.

At the time of the first European contact in the 17th century the lake was called Ouentironk ("Beautiful Water") by the Huron natives. It was renamed for John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada in the late 18th Century.

I went to launch at a ramp in Cooks bay the southern end of the lake. I was surprised to see ice in the bay! I had a brief second thought but decided I was here so let’s go. Its hunting season and the duck boats had sufficiently broken a path through the ice. I launched and went to the main part of the lake. The sun was warm and the wind very light so it was a pleasant ride.

I have never been on the water this late in the season so I was surprised to see all the ducks and loons in there fall grey plumage instead of the black with white dots. I had just seen an article on this other wise I would not know that they were a common loon. I can get very close to them in the summer but they were very nervous now and dove under the water before I could get close.

I did see a cruiser out there so I was not alone but it’s a big lake and I did not want to break down. After circling a few islands I decided to head back south and went down the Holland River. This river splits down the middle of prime agriculture land. More topsoil here then anywhere else in Ontario a very large portion of vegetables are grown here each year.

All in all it was a quite fun ride and will have to do until next spring. Its now 5 days later and it 0ºC or 32ºF and we have had or first snow storm. I guess its winter.