I wanted to try something new, something in Southwestern Ontario, but still remote. That criteria is not an easy thing to find. After much research, sifting through trip logs on the local canoe club's websites and harassing locals, I decided to try the Big Otter Creek.
The creek is a tributary of the Thames River system, it starts somewhere near Norwich and snakes through Tillsonburg until it finally empties in Lake Erie in the town of Port Burwell. This trip focuses on a 27km stretch between the small towns of Richmond and Vienna. On the selected route, the scenery is of dramatic sand bluffs as high as 100' tall and thick carolinian forest.
Cost: $0 There are no parking fees on either side of the trip.
Trip Length/ Difficulty: Advanced due to strainers and trip length. The take out is 27kms away from the launch with no opportunities to shorten the trip along the way.
This is not an easy trip. We encountered as many as 15 strainers, some were very treacherous. When the water is running high enough to run this river, the currents move at a fast an relentless trip the entire way down the river. While there are no rapids or waves, the entire trip is riddled with obstacles. It is highly recommended you do not take this trip lightly. You will need advanced rescue skills and full safety gear including throw ropes and extra dry clothes.