Into the Islands
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
It was a sunny, breezy day when my lifelong friend Cam Taylor and I set out on a short paddle from Picton, Ontario, to the 1000 Islands region. Cam waited patiently as I assembled my Feathercraft collapsible kayak and, in due course, we pushed off from McFarland Conservation Area, just east of town.
We cruised along Prince Edward County's shores the length of Adolphus Reach, past Glenora Ferry and under Lake on the Mountain reminiscing about 'the old times'. Passing my childhood home, we recalled the fun we had there as kids. The four hole golf course my father allowed me to build as a 10-year-old golf enthusiast was long gone and the dock from which we moored every possible type of boat was in a sad state of disrepair.
The 'County', as locals call it (without pronouncing the 't'), of our youth was rural, a place most everyone wanted to leave. Today, the apple orchards have been replaced by vineyards and it is some of the most sought-after real estate in southern Ontario. How things have changed.
We passed an array of sizable new waterfront homes that fill forgotten pastures before entering Prinyer's Cove and stopping at "Camp" - summer home to more childhood friends. Over sandwiches and a cool drink, the comfortable chairs overlooking the Cove enveloped us as we soaked up the sun.
Pushing on, we passed Cressy and rounded the tip of Indian Point, the most easterly point of the County, crossing a narrow section of Lake Ontario to Amherst Island where we camped the night.
The following day, we continued to Wolfe Island, running the northern shore to a secret camping spot Cam had identified. The island is home to more than 85 controversial wind turbines that dot the landscape and shape its panorama.
We pulled our kayaks out of the water and set camp minutes before the sky opened and rain came down in buckets. After the deluge, we wandered into the fields for a closer inspection of one of the infamous turbines, debating the pros and cons, solving nothing. The day ended with a colourful sunset and a scrumptious dinner concocted with care by Cam.
Next day, we launched in morning sunshine and paddled along the north side of the island, stopping in Wolfe Island Village for a coffee and a stretch.
Conversation flowed easily as we continued the length of the island before crossing to Howe Island and following its southern shore. The Thousand Islands National Park is loaded with places to camp and we chose Aubrey Island for its westerly view for the night.
As is his passion, chef Cam prepared another delicious meal, accompanied by an assortment of cheeses, wine and a sunset vista.
The final day was a gentle meander into the islands, stopping at a friend's cottage near Ivy Lea. What a pleasure to have the opportunity to share time together on the water.
Watch a short video: https://youtu.be/WJ5J-fq2sRE