I purchased my kayak in the spring of 2012 from Outdoors Oriented at their Pack and Paddle day they have annually. It’s such a great idea! They set up a bunch of booths and have some of the line reps come out and they have a bunch of their boats at Jordan Harbour for people to test them out. It’s definitely hard to try a boat in a store and this is a great solution for that!
Since I’ve purchased my kayak, I have never taken it out paddling past the warm season. I don’t have a reason why, I just never really think kayaking and cold weather at the same time.
But this year is different! Last weekend, on a very chilly Sunday afternoon, mid November, I decided to take my boat out for a paddle to Richardson’s Creek.
When I’d purchased my boat, that lovely spring day, after taking it for a paddle and falling in love, I also met some very nice people at the Peninsula Paddlers booth.
They are a paddling club in Niagara that organizes all types of outings all over the area for their members. Now that I had a kayak, I needed people to go paddling with and learn where to go in the area, so I joined up and paddled with them for the first year I owned my boat.
One of the paddles I did with them was here, at Richardson Creek, and that is how I first initially learned about this gem, right near my house, even though it feels like you are out in the middle of nowhere.
You can also find out information on the paddle, where to launch etc, in Jamie Bingham’s book Paddling Niagara Guidebook. I had to use the book this morning to refresh my memory on where to put my boat in before heading out, as I couldn’t remember the exact details.
Basically, you head towards Henley Island and once you go over the bridge, there is a gravel road to your right. You go down it, through the gates and park in the lot and there is a dock that has been put there by The City of St. Catharines.
I had my snow pants on, it was -2 and very windy and I didn’t want to be cold at all. This was my first paddle since my knee surgery and I was a bit worried about getting in and out of my boat, so I first practiced in my backyard and had no issues. All bundled up, I headed out in full winter gear and I was so happy I went!
Once you put in, you have to cross an open body of water where the rowers usually practice. When I was here with the paddling club, we had to wait for the right time to cross when the boats were not nearby and then paddle quickly to get to the creek before the rowers returned. They have strict rules for paddling here and they must be obeyed!
Today, however, I did not have to worry about that happening at all. The rowers were done for the season and I was the only person on the water here today! A big perk of paddling in November and I loved it!!!
Once you get into the creek, it is pure paradise! The wind disappeared, even though there were 35km gusts and the sun came out. The water was mirror like during most of my time here, making for some delightful photos!
I tried a few live photos here and there as well. They are a bit more challenging in a boat, to hold the phone still.
In one area, I came across a few geese and then upon paddling further down, a large amount of them appeared!
I had to sit in my boat and wait until they all filed out of those tall reeds and into the open area of the creek, and then swam through the area I had to go through as well.
I waited patiently hoping they would move on and let me pass. I wasn’t a huge fan of geese. I had discovered even more so, on my trip to Mew Lake this year, how unfriendly they can be. Click here if you’d like to check out my post called “Geese Gangs & A Bear”. It’s a good one!
Thankfully, they moved along and I was able to continue on down the creek.
I was delighted because the scenery on this creek was absolutely stunning and every time I went around a bend, I would be amazed at another gorgeous view ahead of me!
The sun was shining and I was warm and cozy in my winter gear. The only thing that was getting chilly were my hands as I had to keep taking them out of my gloves to take pictures. I would have to remedy that with a good pair of texting gloves, and I was pretty sure Outdoors Oriented carried them.
Sadly, I came to the end. I did my best to get my boat through the shallow area so I could continue on, but I kept getting stuck on the creakbed as the water was not deep enough.
I turned around and started to make my way back from where I’d come.
The geese once again made a huge ruckus as I passed but just sat at the side of the creek this time on alert. I avoided eye contact and just paddled through as quickly as I could, hoping one of them didn’t hiss at me like the last one I encountered at Algonquin.(haha, avoid all eye contact! like I’m on the subway or something? lmao!)
After about a half hour paddling, taking my time to stop for pictures and check if the great blue heron was still at his perch (he was not) , I arrived back at the dock. It was good timing because just before crossing the open water of Martindale Pond, the sun went away, the wind picked up and the sky turned really dark.
When I had pulled into my parking spot earlier, I noticed a garbage bag full of trash. Another set of photos for #CleanUpOurParks . The saddest thing about it was the garbage can was literally just outside the parking lot gates, less than 100 feet away?
With my boat back on my car, I was ready to head home and warm myself up. It had been an amazingly beautiful paddle and I couldn’t believe I’d never been out at this time of the year before. It had even snowed a few flakes when I’d first arrived and I didn’t melt or anything! Shocking!
I really hope you enjoyed my post and pictures from this gorgeous little creek in St. Catharines, Ontario. If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please leave a comment! I love to hear from people and share experiences and it’s always nice to meet the people that read my posts!
And speaking of people that read my posts, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to someone who has been supporting my blog via twitter and social media for several months now! She is always quick to retweet, post a gracious comment and offer compliments that make me blush! Thank you Cathy LeBlanc for your amazing support. It’s people like you, that make it worth it for me to take the time to write these posts. Thank you! I appreciate you!
Camper Christina 🙂