Paddling Ontario’s Mississippi

My Wonderful Kayak Trip on the Mississippi River and its many lakes

Bob Kelly with Kayak Day 1

Bob Kelly gets ready to launch

ME: Hi, Bob Kelly here, at 76 still fit—chased my 19 year old granddaughter Caitlin up Kilimanjaro two years ago. I write, but I focus most on my family, Liz, volunteering and kayaking. The former continue to chase or push me as they did on this venture.

Having worked, lived in or visited 137 countries, Canada remains the best—in all its precious pristine beauty and its humanity.

A significant part of that is the Mississippi River boating/camping system right in our back yard—I love it. Visit my website

MY GEAR: A 16 year old 15.5 ft Aquaterre “ride on top” with hatches capable of holding 100kgs. It is unsinkable as proven often on my 2001, solo 9,000 km kayak trip from Sandpoint, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia. (I was younger then).

MY MOTIVATION: Having kayaked from Innisville down Lake Mississippi and River to Ottawa in 2002, I often thought of paying this river its due by traversing its entire length. Following my solo trip and other adventures, however, I just never “got around to it”. In April, 2013 Liz and I visited Alex Broadbent of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) for detail to better enable me to consider the possibilities.

Alex—MVCA’s resident map maker and most experienced Mississippi canoeist—was most responsive and sparked the idea of my logging information about the route to help the MVCA could bring additional up to date information regarding the canoe/kayak route, its portages, camping, promise, difficulties and inhabitants, -humans and of nature.

My first plan was to start as close to the headwaters as possible and do the trip in one stretch, camping along the way. “The best laid plans of mice and men” intervened, however, and for reasons of other volunteer commitments, “foreign” travels, visits from friends from abroad, and appeasement of concerns of my family, I decided to do the trip stretch by stretch. Alex launched me in at the western starting point, Lake Mackovy, the most practical spot at that time of year.

For the remainder I usually drove to my planned exit or pull out point, left my pet 66 Mustang there and have either my partner Liz, or granddaughter Caitlin, drop me at my starting point. Alex helped as well, particularly on the day of our great “portaging” adventure.

For ease of reading and following the “system” I have organized these posts based on “west to east: from Lake Mackavoy to Innisville”. In fact, I did not do the different stretches in geographic order due to timing and transport but have added the actual dates paddled.

FYI: the Numbers (e.g., P1.) represent the portages as clearly detailed/numbered in the Mississippi River Canoe Route brochure.

Read all Paddling the Mississippi Posts

May 24, 2013 Sheridan Rapids Bridge to Highway 511 

May 27, 2013 West Dalhousie Lake to Sheridan Rapids

June 25, 2013 Highway 509/Miller Lake Bridge to Dalhousie Lake

June 20, 2013 Mud Lake/River Rd. to Miller Lake Rd, 509

June 12, 2013 Kashwakamak Dam to Ardoch and River Rd east of Mud Lake 

June 4, 2013 Mazinaw Dam to Kashwakamak Dam

May 30, 2013 Mackavoy Lake to Mazinaw Dam

May 20, Highway 511 Bridge to Innisville via Highway 7



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