Friday, June 3, 2016

LOVESICK LAKE - JUNE 1 & 2, 2016

Another perfect spring day full of sunshine and a light breeze lifting one’s spirit to new heights. After a crew meeting on Sir Tugley Blue over homemade muffins, Greek yogurt, strawberries and blueberries, we were underway across Pigeon Lake by 1000 hours. Our cruise took us through Buckhorn Lake & Buckhorn Lock & Lower Buckhorn Lake continuing our passage through the Kawartha Lakes. Next came Lovesick Lock and Lovesick Lake, favourites of my mother when my parents cruised the Trent during the late 50’s up to the 70’s.  

Lovesick Lake gets its name from the legend of a young First Nations man who fell in love with a beautiful Irish girl. When his pursuit of her was rejected, the grief stricken man went alone to die on one of the islands on this tiny lake. After some days, when he was at the point of exhaustion, he was found by his friends and persuaded to return home. According to Samuel Strickland, who first recounted the story, and to every writing who has told it since, this is how the lake happened to be called Lovesick. 

The Lovesick Lock is in a stunningly beautiful location. There is no road access, so after the lock closes for the night, it is among the most peaceful locations on the waterway. A local bear will make an evening and morning excursion across the lock gate making its rounds foraging for food.

We continued on past the Youngs Point Lock and on to the town of Lakefield, where we tied up at the lock for the night and enjoyed a lovely happy hour in the shade of some maple trees along the wall. Lakefield is a lovely town with all the services a boater would need, all within walking distance. 

House Boat Alert: Part of the tourist attraction of the Kawartha Lakes is House Boat Rentals. The are very accommodating in terms of size and amenities. However, they are very boxy and their pontoons are very shallow in the water, meaning the wind can easily catch a house boat making them very difficult to handle. Adding to that challenge is the fact that most renters have minimal boating experience so it can be a recipe for disaster. So, for the regular boaters on the Trent-Severn Waterway, when they spot a house boat, they think “House Boat Alert”, especially when entering or exiting the locks, which are very tight spaces to begin with. Lock Masters do a great job in coaching the skippers of house boats through the system and other boaters do their best to help to, while doing their upmost to protect their own boats too. “Life in the slow lane”.

Thursday June 2, 2016
What was to have been an all day rain day turned out to be quite respectable. A 5am thunderstorm and light showers around 8am were followed by quite a lot of sunshine. So, after a terrific breakfast at a local Lakefield restaurant called “In A Nut Shell”, we headed off on our way to Peterborough. Highlights of today included 

Today is another day of heavy weeds in the canal. Our friend Bert who cottages on Stoney Lake advises the heavy weeds are due to huge numbers of Zebra Muscles in the lakes and canals who filter the water of almost everything allowing the sunshine to penetrate further into the water encouraging the weeds to grow. Also, last fall, the ice was slow to cover the lakes and canals, also allowing the weeds more time to grow. Anyway, emptying the main engine water strainer is becoming a daily morning routine to help ensure good engine cooling occurs.

Peterborough’s Trent University is built on a perfectly lovely setting on the Trent Canal which we passed by this morning. Students were sitting out in the morning sunshine reading or talking to classmates. 

We enjoyed the experience of going down the Peterborough Hydraulic Lift Lock. Every time we do this, it is still a thrill. It’s construction was completed in 1904 making it 112 years old. It’s lift is 65 feet making it the largest lift lock in the world. It takes only 2 minutes to complete the transfer from one level to the next. The view from the top is spectacular - almost like being at the top of a very large ferris wheel. The structure around the lift lock is made of solid concrete with no rebar, which is kind of unusual. 

We spent a lovely evening tied at the Ashburnham Lock on Little Lake near the south east part of Peterborough. The lock is in the midst of two parks with beaches and playgrounds. It also happens to be a particular beautiful section of the Trans Canada Trail, which as its name implies, goes coast to coast.

Peterborough Hydraulic Lift Lock

View from top of Peterborough Lift Lock from our boat

Happy hour at Ashburnham Lock in Peterborough

The fleet moored at Ashburnham Lock, Peterborough

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