Take a wildly authentic adventure on the York River

By Chris Drost

Clive Emery, owner of Trips and Trails Adventure Outfitting in Bancroft has been sharing his love of paddling in North Hastings and area for 28 years. Hastings County has its own “ wildly authentic brand.” If there ever was one person in the County who represents that brand perfectly, it is Clive, a down-to-earth fellow with a lifetime of knowledge and experiences to share.

From his shop at 254 Hastings St. North in Bancroft, Clive really does have everything you need to get out on the water for a North Hastings adventure. Whether your preference is canoe or kayak, Trips and Trails has all the safety equipment and paddles you will need for a day out in the sunshine on the beautiful York River.

Clive has been running his River Trip North and River Trip South adventures on the York River for as long as I can remember.

For the River Trip North, Clive offers shuttle service for you, the canoe, kayak and gear, to the drop off point at the bridge on South Baptiste Lake Road below High Falls. All you have to do is bring your lunch, wear a bathing suit and bring along your fishing pole to make this an adventure to remember. By road, the drop off point is only a few minutes away, but the York River is very winding and so it will take about three hours, depending on stops for swimming or a picnic lunch, to make your way back down to Clive’s shop which is conveniently located right on the river. This adventure is suitable for all ages it and runs daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The River Trip South is a bit more adventurous and is suitable for intermediate to advanced paddlers. It is a six-hour trip with daily departures. Trips and Trails will shuttle you, your kayak or canoe to the departure point below the dam in Bancroft and will pick you up at the end. Be prepared for one portage of 600m around Lavallee Rapids. The river is fast in the first stretch for those who like to paddle some fast-moving water, but the river gradually widens and the current slows as you paddle through the rugged landscape of the Canadian Shield. There are many opportunities for viewing wildlife along the water’s edge. Pick-up is at the bridge on Hwy 28 east, just before Egan Chutes.

What Clive describes as his most popular adventure offering, is what he calls “The Overnighter.” On the day I stopped by for a photo, Clive had just seen a group of 14 off on this trip. It requires paddlers to bring their own food and camping equipment. Drop off is just above Egan Chutes where after a short paddle there is a 600m portage at Egan Chutes, in all its wild beauty. After paddling further, there is a 400m portage at the Middle Chute and then down the river, a final 400m portage at Farm Chute. The spot to camp along the sandy shoreline at Great Bend is what I would describe as idyllic, a very memorable place at the foot of the last chute.  This is the perfect place for a swim after the portaging. The next day there is an eight-hour paddle through Kings Marsh, an abundant wetland and great spot for wildlife viewing, before the pick-up point at Trails End in Slabtown.

If this were not enough, Trips and Trails also offers additional paddling adventures and cycling excursions. The wildly authentic adventures don’t have to stop when winter arrives. Trips and Trails offers Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and skijoring. To find out more, Clive would be happy to answer your questions. Call 613-332-1969 or 613-334-8044 (cell). Email info@tripsandtrails.ca or visit the website at www.tripsandtrails.ca