Ken Whiting of Paddle Tales journeyed to Ontario’s Petewawa River in Algonquin Provincial Park for six days of paddling, fishing and kayak camping. He was joined by James McBeath of Jackson Kayak and Brendan Mark of Heliconia Media.
Ken says the Petewawa is “one of the most amazing multi-day whitewater river trips in the world. It has challenging whitewater, epic scenery, unbelievable backcountry camping and world-class muskie fishing.”
Take a look at their trip, divided into two videos. Here’s the first:
The section they traveled started at Lake Traverse, well known for its great muskie fishing. The three paddled two fishing kayaks and a raft, each one paddling a different boat on each day.
As the water narrows from the lake into the Petewawa, there are several Class II and Class III rapids sections along the way, plus the Class IV Crooked Chute. For those not skilled enough to handle the rapids, portaging around them is always an option.
There are plenty of long calm stretches, too. The group’s strategy was to fish their way down the smooth waters until nearing the rapids, then paddle or portage them.
Here’s the second video of their trip down the Petewawa:
The crew takes on Rollaway Rapids quite soon into Day 3. Ken explains why scouting rapids before you kayak down them is important: “A fallen tree is the single biggest danger when you’re running rivers, and it happens all the time. That’s why you scout rapids—even rapids you know well…A fallen tree makes a Class I or II rapid a very serious issue.”
Fallen trees create strainers—these allow water through but capture everything else, including people in kayaks!
After navigating Rollaway successfully they made camp at one of the most beautiful campsites along the river, surrounded by high cliffs. They took advantage of a nearby hiking trail to get panoramic views of the area.
The Petewawa is one of six major rivers that run through Algonquin Provincial Park. Learn more about backcountry camping with your canoe or kayak on the Petewawa and in Algonquin Provincial Park on this page.
(All photos courtesy of Paddle Tales)
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