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Shortly after passing by the village of Burritt’s Rapids and its tiny church, we came upon a small ranch where some beautiful horses supervised our progress down the river.  We observed blue herons and possibly a bald eagle overhead (spotted by Kathy).  Mike, Jenny, Keith and Dinh had the opportunity to get close up with a very active pileated woodpecker who was completely oblivious to the four canoeists less than ten feet away.
 
Water conditions were unusually low on the Rideau River.  We attempted to paddle up the river to the bridge near Nicholson Locks but were thwarted by low water levels.  At Lower Nicholson Locks we had the whole area to ourselves and had a relaxed picnic lunch on the lawn beside the lock station.
 
There is a very easy trail (a lawn) along the north side of the Canal to Upper Nicholson Locks and further up to the weir that separates the canal from the river.  Here, most unusually, there was no water flowing over the concrete abutment in the river.  Mike, Sherine, Sabine and Paul crossed the river bed on foot and then traveled back to the bridge using a path on the north side.
 
Shortly thereafter, we returned to Burritt’s Rapids paddling into a light headwind.  Unfortunately, while the restaurant across from the Burritt’s Rapids lock station was open, the small store where ice cream used to be sold was closed.
 
This trip was an enjoyable way to start the canoeing season: beautiful sun, perfect temperature for paddling and a relatively short paddling distance (11 kms in total).  More significantly, the only portaging involved getting the canoes from the cars to the water and back again (maybe 60 metres each way).