Bonnechere River Trip

Algonquin Park, May 10 to 15, 2005

Introduction

At the late March trip planning meeting, Nigel had asked us if we were all a bit deranged. Two months later, standing in dense bush on a slope leading down to the Bonnechere River, while having a Blair Witch moment, I realized he'd only been partially kidding.

This is the story of six Y Canoe Club members' attempt to travel the length of the Bonnechere River, from its source at McKaskill Lake in Algonquin Park, all the way to Round Lake. We'd expected to do it in six days.

In a nutshell:

Lessons

I think most of us would agree that the park should either take the red canoe route line off that section of the Bonnechere, or leave it there but make the warning on the map a bit more dire. Even if you cleared the portages, this section of the river would always be - even in spring - a long walk in the woods with canoes.

Please note: for a more route-oriented, less qualitative account of this trip, see the Upper Bonnechere River, Algonquin thread on MyCCR. Look for the posts by The Navigator.

Thanks

To Terry, Scott, John and John for being solid tripmates, for keeping cool and for being considerate to the vegetarian. To Nigel, the trip leader and my canoe and tent mate. Thanks for inviting me on the trip and thanks for all the research, planning, preparation and - indeed - leadership.

Warning

Consider these pages more of a cautionary tale than an enthusiastic recommendation or how-to guide. The trip was planned to fine detail with every precaution taken and we're all quite experienced canoe trippers. But still - things could have gone horribly wrong at any point and for any reason.

If, despite what you read here, you still want to bash your way down the Bonnechere River, I cannot stop you. Though I advise against it. Experience and planning can mitigate against risk but cannot eliminate it.

So again, I say, don't do this unless you know what you're doing. And even then, first ask yourself if you're a bit deranged.