Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Following the river

Recently I've posted photos and a bit of video taken from a bridge over the Beaver River where it is broad and slow moving as it winds its way through the valley floor near where I live. On Sunday I had the opportunity to go exploring along one of my favourite routes, which is called Lower Valley Road and see how the upper river and its surrounds fared through our very strange and snowless winter.

The first photo shows what the river looks like near its beginnings, springs and creeks flow into the riverbed upstream from this spot - but you can see its shallow and quickly moving and is barely six feet wide. A bit further along I saw several cars parked as anglers tried their luck where holes had been dug by fast moving water. It has pushed aside dirt and mud from tree roots and made havens for rainbow trout to wait in between laying eggs in the nests they construct with their tails in the gravel topped by fast water.

Fishing season opened here last weekend.

But there were also several people walking and exploring - it was a supremely beautiful day. My dogs heads were out the windows of the car, noses twinkling for the entire trip.

The road follows the river. But the river has cut deeply into the floor of the valley and so the road is above the river bed in many places and hilly. From its inception in the highlands the water rushes north and down as it heads for Georgian Bay. If you look closely at the left side of the road in this photo, you can see one of the anglers cars. And the high banks of gravel and sand beyond are exposed where snow and rain have not allowed roots of grasses and shrubs to dig deeply enough to hold any soil.

Further along I noticed deep in the cedars edging the river, a tent blending in with the surrounding  bush, but standing out, two colourful ATVs and a couple of people sitting by the river enjoying the peace and the sun. Camping isn't encouraged along here, but who would notice these two and who would care at this point in the season either?

Then the floor of the valley widened and I came across a red brick farm house and across from it - a blue clapboard cottage. Such a difficult road in winter I mused as I saw a kid's bicycle leaning against the porch of the old homestead... still actively being used obviously.
Further along still, I saw for the very first time - in all the years I've lived here I never noticed it - or at least it didn't stick in my memory - a beautiful lake created in the middle of the river and along it several lovely homes. Down a short winding hill and I looked to my left to these slate blue buildings wondering if the sheep were out - I saw white wooly creatures and decided that today was a good day to get a picture. As I parked the car, the dogs watched resigned. They'd had enough by this time since I wouldn't let them get out of the car and explore all the lovely scents that blew in through the windows.

I crossed the road and called out to a person I saw working behind the fences. Could I take a picture of the sheep. She walked out and laughed - "They're goats - and certainly - open the gate and come in." So I did.

This is a small herd of angora goats, the one in the lead whose horns are big and curling is the boss. The herd has just been clipped and their hair has been taken into the house on the small hill that is part to this tiny farm where it is cleaned and spun into yarn. I learned all about this while chatting with the owner.
I also learned that she had purchased her first goats from my oldest friend, who raised goats 40 years ago and continues to spin and weave as does this new friend. What a small world we live in! I am still smiling over that connection.

And then I saw the first baby of the spring - two weeks old, too shy to come close to me but sweet and fuzzy as she danced away running bleating to her mother.
In the flat of the valley I always look with delight at this small hydro generating station...literally turning water power into electricity. Two great pipes draw water down from a man-made lake at Eugenia, high on the bank on the left. This station has provided me with electricity when towns around and about are blacked out for hours or even days when storms or accidents take down power lines elsewhere. It's small, and it's old but it makes me wonder why we aren't harnessing more of our water power? Canada has afterall a huge percentage of the worlds fresh water, and then there are the two coasts.
And a final glance at the river's fast moving water as I leave this section of the river. It sparkles and glitters in the sun, is inviting to anglers, to amateur explorers, probably not to swimmers as it is always pretty cold even though it's not very deep here. But it was a fabulous afternoon, re-visiting one of my favourite parts of the Beaver Valley, making a new friend, and generally enjoying a sunny Sunday...Did you have a great weekend as well?


  1. What a beautiful day and adventure you had. It looks like a really pretty area. A fellow down the road has a large herd of angora goats. Their wool is unbelievably soft and warm.

  2. Hello there Bill - yes it was a simply amazing day. That's a trip I love to take, over and over, it's never the same, and always something interesting to learn or see. So sorry I've been without internet access lately - I'm changing providers cause I miss your fabulous blog and those of other new friends on the 'net.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.