Day Trips

Kayaking Costello Creek

Costello Creek MapI love my canoe and that it can carry us as a family together into adventure. But I have to confess, I’ve always wondered what it was like to paddle a kayak. Emma has also wanted to try it as she’s gotten older, and watched kayakers paddling with speed and ease. So when the opportunity came up to try kayaking through an Algonquin Outfitter’s day trip package, we jumped at it!

We chose a self-guided Kayaking trip from AO’s Opeongo Lake store, with Costello Creek as our destination. This was the perfect opportunity to get some basic tips at the Opeongo dock, and then get some paddling practice along the slow-moving creek. We were excited to try this new-to-us activity and enjoy seeing this bit of Algonquin from a different perspective. Costello Creek is familiar to anyone who’s travelled the road to Opeongo Lake. Who hasn’t craned their neck to try and spot some wildlife along the waterway as they’ve travelled that road? And how many photographers have stopped to get the perfect shot of this scenic spot? We’ve done both of these things, but seeing it from the creek point of view made this well-known area seem like a brand new location to me and Emma.

I’m a pretty experienced paddler in the canoe, and Emma is building her skills each year. But as a canoeing family, Emma’s spot in our boat has always been the “princess seat”. Perched in the middle of the canoe since she was around 4 years old, her job was to enjoy the view and maybe dip her paddle on the water a little bit. As she’s gotten older her job has almost always been to make sure a wiggly dog doesn’t move around too much or worse, jump out of the boat. When a dog isn’t present, her job has been to enjoy the view and paddle every now and then.

Emma isn’t really a big fan of this arrangement. She doesn’t like the unexpected shifting and rocking of the canoe when one of the adults changes position, or if the dog wiggles too much. She gets bored with not having a “real job”.  As she’s gotten older, she’s wished to be in greater control of the boat. We’ve often wondered if kayaking would provide her with the sense of control and ease of paddling she wanted to experience.  It turns out, our 2-hour trip on Costello Creek gave us both a taste of how much fun paddling a kayak can be, and how easy it is to control and maneuver your boat on calm water with just a few pointers and a bit of practice.

Before we got in our boats, we received a brief lesson on how to get into and out of the kayak without tipping it, as well as how to hold the paddle properly. Apparently, it is common to hold the paddle backwards without even realizing it. And apparently, it’s a big pet-peeve of experienced kayakers when they see folks on the water holding the double-bladed paddles the wrong way. Emma took this lesson to heart. Me…. Not so much. I think I paddled for at least an hour before my loving daughter pointed out that I was holding the paddle backwards. And reminded me of the little lecture we received at the dock. And that maybe I should pay more attention when being instructed to do something I’ve never done before. *Sigh*. She’s probably right about that.

Despite my faux pas, our day trip along Costello Creek was completely tranquil and a lovely way to experience this little piece of wildness just minutes off the Highway 60 Corridor.  We were thrilled to try out kayaking for the first time in such a peaceful, slow-water environment and appreciated getting a few tips before we set-off from the dock.  Would we try kayaking again? Well… don’t tell my canoeing friends, but the trip along Costello Creek definitely piqued our interest and has got us hooked in trying kayaking again!

Other Useful Links

Photo Gallery

Costello Creek Secret Lookout Trail

Costello Creek, Algonquin Park



Gayle Labuz

“Get Outside. Go Explore. Do Stuff!” Gayle is an outdoor/lifestyle blogger who wants to inspire people to get outside, go explore and do stuff. She’s a hiker, camper, paddler, snowshoer and geocacher who loves to get outside with her daughter and husband. Gayle’s blog, Sometimes Eventful is all about her adventures with her family in Ontario’s outdoors. Gayle is also the host of the #WeGetOutside Twitter chat, which runs every Tuesday from September to May.

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