Part One — Ascent into Barron Canyon
Getting to Barron River Canyon was like tunneling into a picnic pavilion.
We came in by way of Grand Lake. It took two days and 10 portages. Steve, Ken and I paddled across bodies of water so small we barely got our hulls wet. We scrambled through four miles of boulder fields, lugging canoes and packs from one postage stamp lake or river segment to another — only to learn that there was another access point a short paddle and easy portage away.
But what fun would that have been?
Getting there is half the fun, they say. If that’s the case, no one had a better time than we did. Especially all those people who got there by by the short route — putting in at a parking lot near the inappropriately named Squirrel Rapids.
This is a diminutive set of rapids at the eastern boundary of Algonquin Provincial Park. How small are they? I couldn’t take a photo because I neglected to pack my macro lens. It would have been more appropriate to name them after a smaller life form, such as “Amoeba Rapids” or “DNA Rapids.”
In contrast, Barron River Canyon is spectacular — an intimate river valley nestled beneath 300-foot granite bluffs. It’s colorful walls, dominated by orange hues from lichen, echo in undulating reflections across the still water.
To be continued …