Orillia to Swift Rapids Lock 43

We departed Orillia July 28 mid-morning. A pleasant run with only one lock, #42. We held up at the upper side of Lock 43, Swift Rapids and spent the night. It was a delightful spot, a very nice park, with some local cruisers also spending the night on the lock wall. Swimming for Molly, and some socializing with a puppy. There’s a hydro plant there, and interesting to see the structure there, and realize there’s nobody running the plant; it’s remotely controlled!  Swift Rapids is remarkable in that there is essentially no road access. There actually is a road, but it’s 11 miles of bad road, to coin a phrase, so lock staff comes to work by boat. One of the college age young women came from the upper side of the lock, and does her commute by jet ski! We had a very pleasant evening, quiet except for the rush of water on the spillways, but a very serene spot. Morning came bright and chilly, not a breath of air, so the small lake behind us was mirror-smooth, and had some steam rising as the sun came up! What a view from the back door!

At 47 feet, Swift Rapids is the highest conventional lift lock on the waterway. We were locking down, as we had been since Kirkfield (Lock 36), so entering the lock wasn’t remarkable, except for the depth sounder which was reading 53 ft! The doors on the lower side of the lock are massive, and it’s a long way up when the lock drains! It’s also the newest lock, so the technology involved in the operation of the lock makes it very smooth and fast. It’s a fascinating experience!

We timed our departure from Swift Rapids to make the 1st (9AM) locking, since the day’s run would complete our transit of the Trent-Severn along with transiting the Big Chute Marine Railway and the final lock at Port Severn, so we wanted to get a good start.

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