We paddle the Spanish River every September, starting from Pogamassing (which is just a wood sign in the middle of nowhere). To get there, we load all of our gear up in Sudbury at the Via train station onto the Bud Car. It's a 1-2 hour ride to our put in point. The trip is through a Provincial Park; passes are required which we obtain from Agnew Lake Lodge along with all of our rental boats and paddling gear.
The trip is 85km from start to the finish at the lodge. On day one we encounter lots of little swifts and some quick moving water which makes for an easy paddle. We encounter one set of rapids one the first day which has a portage around it but it is easily run for an experienced canoist. Once through we continued on to our first campsite, just south of Spanish lake about 25-30k from our put in.
The campsites are well marked along the way as are the portages so it makes it easier for newbies to know when to take out. If you hear the rumble ahead look for the signs!
Day two we paddle about 5-6km to the Elbow. A short while later we approached the Little Graveyard rapids, 3/4 of this can be run by intermediate canoeists. The last section can be run only if you are an experienced paddler. However, there is a portage along the entire set of rapids, if you are feeling unsure. We decided to line the boat along the last section and then stop for a lunch break and some fishing.
We then make our way to the Big Graveyard Rapids which I don't recommend running, I've seen boats folded around rocks and abandoned there. It has a short portage to the left about 100m long. The last large rapid in the area is the Cascade Rapids. We decided to line and pull the boat around this set aswell. With a 1.5 meter drop I didn't trust that the boat would survive in that size of a rapid.
We usually stop to fish the rapids, we've had great success at them in the past. There is also a campsite here but the noise from the Rapids may become a little too much, for some.
About 5-6k down we paddle up on Agnes Rapids. There is an island in the middle and we stayed to the left side of it. It's probably a class 2, not overly difficult but has some rocky sections. In higher water, it's pretty smooth but this year it was a bumpy ride.
Our last set was Cedar Rapids, it can be lined on the left but with large bowling ball rocks makes it very tricky. It's a good run with some decent standing waves. A definite adrenaline rush!
All of the big rapids we paddled were on the second day and we had paddled about 25-30k. There are still plenty of chutes and swifts but nothing tasking....except the shallow areas where your boat can get hung up.
Great scenery from our last site and the rest of the paddle into day three. The paddle through Agnew lake is quite nice and about 5k to the Agnew lake lodge where we take out.
Overall a trip that is done in 3 days would be less daunting to run in 4 days. But great regardless of weather and water levels. It keeps us coming back every September.
This is a multi-day, trip. It takes careful planning and preparation to be able to successfully complete.
You will need enough food for the days you will be gone as well as the tickets for the Bud Car.
Do not attempt this trip unless you have whitewater, portaging and back country camping experience.