Six Mile Lake: Gibson McDonald River

For our annual Canada Day canoe trek in 2001, my sister and I tried a route closer to home: the Gibson River McDonald route near Parry Sound. We chose that more novice route because for the first time there were three of us coming: Judy was three months pregnant. (Which really meant that she ate for two, paddled as one and I did all the portaging.)


Three Chute Gorge

The 56KM route loops through Six Mile Lake, the Gibson and McDonald rivers, Georgian Bay and McCrae Lakes. From our starting point in Six Mile Lake Provincial Park, Judy and I had a bitch of a time navigating our way out among the islands and fingers of Six Mile Lake and into the passageway to Gibson Lake. It wasn’t until we stopped at a local marina and bought ourselves a laminated map of the lake, (as well as some pasta and bug spray that Judy was supposed to bring – she blamed it on the baby.) that we successfully found our way.

We made up the lost hours zipping through Hungry Creek and Gibson Lake before settling into a campsite on Gibson River where we tried out my new MEC Tarn3 tent for the first time on a warm night.

Our second day found us portaging a couple of rapids including the Three Chute Gorge where we stopped for a swim. Unfortunately for me, my favorite sunglasses found their way to the bottom of the Gibson River after we aborted running a swift and tried madly to ground the canoe ashore. Judy made it. The canoe made it too. Sort of. But as I jumped out the back end to help push the canoe higher, the canoe and I both got caught in the stream and ended up splashing through the swift. No harm done.

Our trip highlight came on our third and final day when after a morning shower cleared up, we decided to paddle the final 15KM back to our original boat launch on Six Mile Lake. We made it to within 2KM before the winds that had been helping us along for most of that morning finally turned against us and forced us to take shelter in a little island cove. Thankfully we were only marooned for about half-an-hour before a local cottager took pity on us and towed us in to safety.

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