Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Peaks in Gatineau Park, Quebec: Colours and Cold Water!

Fall peaked during the Thanksgiving weekend in the National Capital Region of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario/Gatineau, Quebec). The air was warm, in the high 70's (27 C), but the water in Gatineau Park lakes has already become too cold to swim in without a wet or dry suit.

Even in a wet suit, it is not a comfortable five minute dip to test paddle gear or practice cowboy scrambles - not shocking, but not enjoyable either. It's a big change from water temps in July, August, and September - which were still cool at best. Next paddle, I'll bring a thermometer and plunge it a few feet down to see how cold the water is.
Gatineau Park set a record this year for the most beautiful fall colours I've ever seen along with record crowds and traffic jams in the Park to match!

No matter what the season, I find Maelstrom Kayaks beautiful both on and off the water. And so does everyone else. People keep coming up to me with the same comment: "What a beautiful kayak!" From the shoreline, the water, or a gas station as I fill up.
Maelstrom Vital 166
I never tire of looking at a Maelstrom Sea Kayak on the water . . . moving or not, especially in the fall. It is my favorite season to paddle in Canada.
Maelstrom Vaag 174
I love the feel of my Maelstrom Vital 166 in both flat and bumpy moving water. It is sleek, fast, and manoeuverable in flat water, so I don't get bored. When the water starts to move and get bumpy, the boat instantly picks up and gets playful. It reminds me it's time to get going. It's ready to play.
But I always marvel more at the design of my Maelstrom Vital 166 when it's strappped up on the car.

It's such a skinny, low volume boat. Every time I look at its narrow girth, I wonder how I can feel so stable and comfortable in something that sits with so little in the water. Although, in gusty wind and confused chop, I do sometimes feel waves sweep over the back of my boat and roll over the cockpit from behind or from the side. When I reach for the skeg slider on the left, it is sometimes completely submerged with waves rushing past it.
The September and October highs will soon be followed by the November lows in the National Capital Region of Canada.

Low temps and grey colours. November around here is when I park my Boreal Baffin and Maelstrom Vital 166 sea kayaks, unless the weather convinces me otherwise (it never does), and it's time to cook! Yes, eat and cook up some ideas for trips elsewhere!

Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of October's best!
Can you see the deer in the centre of the image peeking out from the forest and blending in with an old stump?

This is what your Greenland Paddle (GP) looks like underwater in the afternoon October sun.
You can pick out deer from the water when they flick their ears or show their white tails. Otherwise, they look like tree stumps.
Coming Soon: Poison Ivy and Your Pet.
Yep, we have to think about this stuff in more ways than one, and year round, especially if you travel.

The BaffinPaddler


  1. Hey BaffinPaddler! Great Fall colors! Autumn splendor is breaking out all over down South too! Be sure to check out my latest paddle at Lake Holt! I like the Fall, but it does bring an end to my paddling for a few months. Maybe one day I can invest in a dry suit and get into a year round paddling schedule?

    1. Hi Mike, you are so lucky that your paddling season only ends for a few months down south. Things tend to freeze up here in Canada for a little longer.

      But a break from paddling only makes us love it more! Yes?

      Cheers from Canada!

  2. We are headed up there for Thanksgiving (Oct 8th 2012)! I hope this fall is as beautiful as it was last year in your photos....if not, that's okay, though!

  3. Hi Martha. I hope so too! Best wishes for your trip.