Since the Achray Road had just reopened and Sunday promised to be a nice day -- the rest of the week, not so much -- we headed into Algonquin Park. We didn't have a particular agenda. We took the canoe but as it turned out, it was a bit breezy for it to be a pleasant paddling day, so we never launched; our various explorations were on foot.
For the most part the road was in reasonable shape, but not up to summer standards. But there were a few axle breakers that you wouldn't want to hit at speed and the shoulders were washed away in other locations. Hardwood Creek had washed the road out completely and a temporary one lane bridge was in place. The road was closed just beyond the Achray turnoff because of further washouts. This probably has the side benefit of keeping paddlers away from the lower Petawawa River until it has had the chance to settle down somewhat.
In general water levels were high, but at least for the Barron River, slightly lower than they had been for the first few days of 2017 May.
The local rivers are running high. Both the Ottawa and the Petawawa are above or near record levels.
The control dam at Rapides des Joachims is essentially wide open even though the head pond is perhaps six feet below summer levels. They need the capacity to catch the massive outflows expected from central Quebec that are still to come.
For a while, the Petawawa River was threatening the bridge in the Town of Petawawa, prompting its closing. However, by dumping large quantities of blast rock down the shore embankment, they have stopped the shore erosion and the bridge has reopened.
When I was photographing the high water on Corry Lake (Approach to Ice Out and High Water), I got a rare opportunity to photograph a Common Loon - Gavia immer - at quite close range, much closer than I have ever managed in a canoe.
In a normal year, the Ottawa River is largely ice free by April 15, often earlier. This year, there wasn't a sign of open water, even out in the middle until a few days ago. But now Spring is coming with a vengeance. The Ottawa is rising and opening up, although it has a long way to go; the local creeks and the Chalk River are in full spring flood. To the best of my recollection, I have never seen the Chalk River as high as it currently is. It's northern edge is lapping the old rail bed beside Hwy. 17.