Mid Fall in the Barron Canyon

Last Monday (2007 October 22), Bob and Diana went on a day trip by canoe through the Barron Canyon on the Barron River in Algonquin Park. It was a repeat of the trip we did six months ago (see Early Spring in the Barron Canyon), but this time the objective was solely to take advantage of a beautiful fall day. Shortly after 9:00 a.m., we started at the launch point just above Squirrel Rapids and travelled upstream, portaging around Cache Rapids and paddling through the canyon to the foot of the Brigham Chute portage. After backtracking a short distance and eating lunch in the canyon, we retraced our morning route to arrive back at the start point a bit after 3:00 p.m.

2007 October 22

Squirrel Rapids access point on Barron River

Bob preparing the canoe at the Squirrel Rapids access point. When we came this way in the spring, the water was right up to the base of the cedar trees. (Comparison here).

Barron River approaching Cache Rapids

On the Barron River, approaching Cache Rapids.
It was a beautiful day, clear and sunny. When we started out, the temperature was around 6C, but soon began to warm up as the sun rose. Much of the time the river was glassy calm, with only occasional light winds.

portage around Cache Rapids on Barron River

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The portage around Cache Rapids. The trail is a little rough and rocky in places, but not too bad.

Poison Ivy on portage around Cache Rapids on Barron River

Poison Ivy on the portage around Cache Rapids — very colourful in the fall. If you're sensitive to Poison Ivy, you need to be careful throughout this route; the plant is quite prevalent. Be especially careful where you set your packs down (or where you sit) at the upstream end of the Cache Rapids Portage and the downstream end of the Brigham Chute portage. There are also patches of Poison Ivy along the north shore of the river in the canyon.

Barron River near Ignace Creek

A swampy area along the shore of the Barron River, near the mouth of Ignace Creek.

cliff face Barron Canyon

Scattered birch trees provided spots of yellow in the canyon, complementing the orange Xanthoria lichen on the cliff face.

Barron Canyon

Looking upstream towards the highest elevation along the northern rim of the canyon. The walking trail visits the cliff edge at that point.

Barron Canyon

The walking trail to the canyon rim runs partway along the top of this cliff. In the middle of the day at this time of year, the sun does not reach the bottom of the canyon for most of its length. The shadow of the southern rim of the canyon is very evident in this photo.

cliff face Barron Canyon

The northern cliff face of the canyon.

lunch stop in Barron Canyon

Our usual lunch spot was in the shade, as was most of the river shore. We did find one place that was illuminated by the sun shining through a notch in the southern rim of the canyon. It was a bit cramped, but pleasantly warm.

fall colour in the Barron Canyon

A spot of colour visible from our lunch spot.

cliff top Barron Canyon

The top of the canyon.

canoe in Barron Canyon

While enjoying the sights at te bottom of the canyon, we were being photographed from the top. Just by chance, we met the photographer at the takeout at Squirrel Rapids and he kindly sent us a copy of this photo. (Photo courtesy of James Sherlock, Eganville.)

cliff face Barron Canyon

The southern cliff face of the canyon. Although it was in the shade, the rock was illuminated by sunlight reflected from the north wall.

Barron Canyon

Looking downstream towards the lower end of the canyon.

Cache Rapids on Barron River

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Back at Cache Rapids. The flow in the river was much less than in the spring, as can be seen by comparing the same view from April. Most of the small creeks and waterfalls we had observed in the spring were completely dry or showed only traces of water. Hardwood Creek was the only falls with any significant flow.

Achray Road

Heading home. Like the morning drive in, this part of the trip involved dodging the ridge left in the middle of the road by the grader, and keeping an eye out for the many trucks hauling logs out of the park.

By late afternoon, the temperature had reached 25C at Petawawa (and on our front porch) — only three degrees shy of the record high for the date.