Norfolk County’s Active Living Ambassador Amélie Chanda goes on a paddleboard adventure down Big Creek. Step by step, she explains the best way to have a fun day! With a little planning, you can make this trip a highlight of your summer:
I love adventures and I certainly have been looking forward to fit in one more before the end of the summer… Big Creek is an amazing location in Norfolk and one of my favorite destinations for a paddling adventure. Yesterday was the day to make it happen!
We planned to paddle from the put-in on highway 24 to Port Royal. This trek is too long for our kids so we made a plan to drop the kiddos at grandparents and have a fun day together. We packed a healthy lunch, tied our boards to the truck and got ready to head out for the afternoon!
We decided to take 2 vehicles this time so we wouldn’t have to do the trip in both directions. We parked a car at the Port Royal drop in. There is a great parking space there at no cost. We then headed to the start point. (Hwy 24, about 2 km pass hwy 59). This is a fairly easy place to put in and again, parking is not a problem.
This first section of the creek was challenging to navigate. The water levels are low right now which means more exposed logs. I had to lay down a few times on my board to get under some fallen trees. Personally, I love the challenge of getting through the natural features. A little sense of accomplishment every time you get across without getting wet!
If you decide to take the adventure on a kayak, some of the most challenging points will be slightly easier. On the paddleboard, the fin gets on the way from time to time. Canoeing the creek with low water levels would be demanding. Expect to portage at quite a few locations between hwy 24 and the 2nd concession. The edges are clay based which can be very slippery so be careful!
The scenery is just amazing! Navigating through the Carolinian Forest makes you believe that you are in a tropical place like the amazon The backdrop slowly transitions to spectacular marshes as you get closer to the Long Point inner bay.
Booking a guided kayak tour may be the best way to discover this gem. You can book a tour through Long Point Eco Adventures and explore with a knowledgeable guide. If you want to go on your own but need equipement, reach out to Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company. They will suit you up with the perfect gear before your embark on your.
Each concession is easily identifiable with its bridge. Remember that most of the land along the creek is privately owned, do not trespass!
We have our little usual spot which is perfect for a picnic lunch! About 2 hours into the paddle, it was time to refuel our body with some yummy food! I packed some tasty Greek Quinoa Salad along with some tuna salad on sprouted bread and some sweet locally grown cantaloup from Matz Fruit Barn. This was a great meal to refuel our bodies.
Up to that point, we were just cruising down stream, not working too hard, just enjoying the ride. The current was strong enough that we did not need to paddle much to keep moving forward. The few hurdles slowed us down so we were ready to step it up on the 2nd half of the trek. After lunch, it was time to work harder and get some distance in! The waterway was quite open for the last half so we paddled harder to the finish line! The creek is mostly clear from the 2nd concession on.
The 4 hour trip was a blast. We had lots of time for good conversation, connection with nature and definitely time to recharge my batteries. I truly enjoy spending time outdoors, it fuels my soul. I always feel refreshed even if hard work is required to complete the expedition. The sun, the wind, the water; they make me feel alive!
I encourage you to check out this incredible location. If you are looking for a longer adventure, you could also put-in at McDowell Road. This could be a 12 hours trip only suitable for the experienced paddler. Bucket list for 2018?? (Maybe!)
Few extra tips:
- If you are going with kids, consider starting from the 1st or 2nd concession.
- Bring lots of water, snack, lunch, sunscreen, bug spray and your enthusiasm!
- If you are not experienced, consider booking a guided tour through LPEA
- Look for wildlife, it is an amazing place for bird watching and to meet other locals!
So get off the couch and start exploring Norfolk County! I encourage you to post your pictures of you being active in Norfolk by using the hashtag #GoNorfolk. Empower others to move in Ontario’s Garden!
I will be live Sunday September 10th at 10:30 from the Norfolk Tourism’s FB account featuring Elevation Mountain Bike Camps and Clinics. Tune in to find out about fall mountain biking in Norfolk County.
Amélie Chanda is a Norfolk County based wellness coach with a passion for active living. She works with individuals and organizations that are ready to make a commitment to a healthy life. She provides support, tools and motivation to help her clients reach their health goals. In 2017 she launched the #GoNorfolk community initiative to empower people to get off the couch and to explore Norfolk County. She is now the Active Living Ambassador for Norfolk County.