It seems like forever since the last time I was as excited about a trip.  That trip was to the French River with my cousin, Tom, and it guaranteed some wild river travel, some monster fish, in addition to other sideline adventures such as diving for equipment after a massive FAIL at running the Big Pine rapids in a motor boat.  There’s a story for another day.  Well somewhere along the line I had mentioned I was keen on a 50th trip and sure as heck, I got called out on it!  So a very special thanks to Shawn Ryder for pulling the trigger on that one, and yes Shawn, there will be fishing, for sure!

One thing lead to another and soon there was a great deal of interest in a trip without a final destination confirmed.  One included another, one suggested another, and very soon we had a group of diversified and worthy contributors on multiple levels coming forward.  Of a number of choices, a final destination was selected and so the planning began, courtesy of the Mad Hatter,yet another story for another day!

So right now, the, “Yup, We’re in” responses are ringing loud and proud and my heart rate is escalating just imagining being a small part of this adventure.  This one has everything from soup to nuts and as Matt put forward, “These people who paddle and blog and enjoy the outdoors; can you imagine the different aspect of writings from everyone?”

It’s been raining all day and the trailer is loaded with a few canoes as you can see.  Steve and I have been back and forth sourcing a canoe for his family and Emma and I have just had a chat as to which canoe she wants to take as she will be my paddle partner so that leads to a question of interest.  What combination of canoes will the Canoe Collector be taking?  “Red” the Chestnut, is in the garage and the trailer shows a 16′ Nova Craft Prospector, a 16′ Swift Algonquin, and a 17’6″ Swift Winisk.  Apparently we have some potential for big water plus some “out of this world” scenery ahead of us so I welcome your input and your guess as to the end combination of canoes.

“Rainy days and Mondays always bring me down”.  The Carpenters did such a great job on that tune and with it being a Monday with rain I have to admit to a down side.  Tom has been gone, both too soon, and for too long now, so I’ll take a moment up there to reflect and I know he will be looking out for Karin and the kids.

So people….two canoes will be going north for our family and your job is to guess the correct combination.




Today marked our first foray into the world of Crown Land camping/outings. It was just time to get into the water with some recently acquired canoes and test out our Kelly Kettle base camp that we bought through ManCamping.ca so the trailer was loaded with canoes and north we went.

On arrival, Steve jumps from his truck and states he used to come here when he was a kid and had camped on the very island we were headed for. That was great news, indeed, but the laughs really took a quick turn for the worse when we looked at all the garbage under foot.

A light breeze out of the north, every one in their canoes with PFD’s in place, and it was off to the waves we went. A leisurely pace was established (courtesy of the wind at our backs) and we saw a few nice campsites from the lake. The island had been discussed and it was pretty much a given for our soup test site and so the island it was on our tour of the shoreline.   OH MY GOD!  Garbage was rampant and a very obvious disrespect for God’s nature provided for us was every where!  The crazy thing was there were two garbage bags unused, that we filled and took out with us. Christina, you have definitely got the right attitude towards this and we felt good about doing what we did.

SOUP TIME!!!!!   Wow and double wow is about all I can say.  Kelly Kettle says they do this and they do that and guess what?……..they do it!!!  This big boy ate up a litre and a half of water and spit it up, boiling hot, in just a hair over 4 minutes.  The whole unit nests and stacks in as compact a manner as it’s shape will allow but my vote is 100% effective and 110% as for value provided.  The different sizes allow some measure of variance for the tripper, hiker, or car camper alike.  We bought ours through ManCamping.ca and loved the service.

Each of us has a goal and a style for camping based on the knowledge we choose to seek out.  The learning we seek gives us the guidance we “need” to complete our trip according to our goals.  What we saw today was evidence that some folk just need to raise the bar on their goals.  Easy is just that and soon there is no room left for others to follow, however, when you lead by example, there’s always room for others to follow and learn.

It’s a matter of choice…..!




Should I or shouldn’t I?  Whether you do it or not, a choice has been made.  There’s a big difference in settling for something and striving for it!

Yesterday, the plan was to get up to Huntsville to meet up with the folks from Wilderness Canoe.  Talk about a choice!  Their choice was to fly over from Scotland and do a 16 day canoe circuit through Algonquin Park.  The seven of them have considerable skills and with their outfitter of choice, this will literally, be a paddle in the Park, however, this trip is the stuff that creates lifetime memories.

I had packed up some essentials and my gear to fit a flexible day as I really, had no idea how this would play out.  Matthew and I had prearranged a meeting spot and time but with never having met, I saw in my mind the sidewalk greeting, “Hi, are you…., no..Hi are you…..?”.  Well I’m pleased to say that it worked out much smoother than that and after introducing ourselves we were off to the  Schat Bakery and Cafe for a coffee and a baked goodie.  After shooting the breeze for a while I was able to give Matt a lift back to their Oxtongue River base and met with five of the six others on this expedition.  Smiles were every where and it was obvious these lads were going to have fun.

Oh yes, we were talking about choices.  Anybody that runs the 400 knows that a Saturday of a long weekend, Barrie, is not the place to be.  Anybody that knows me well, knows that Dave, and early Saturday morning, are not normally found in the same sentence.  Well, I broke the habit and the tires were turning shortly after 6:30.  The new trailer and a new tie-down set up, along with many years of highway driving made me take a few chances to stop and check that all was good with the trailer and canoe and with traffic very light I soon found myself at Tim’s in Orillia.  Coffee and doughnuts are an integral part of any road trip,……yes?

After wiping the icing sugar off my face, I jumped back in and we were off.  It seemed like seconds and a favourite sign of mine,  “……..Canoes-6Kms.” came into view and I made an easy choice to pull in.  Swift Canoe and Kayak was having an end of season sale and although they weren’t even open the lot was humming with people.  I was admiring some of the Badger paddles on the rack and made another choice, but that’s a story for another day.

Well, Matt and his charges will be on the water headed into the Algonquin interior, Carmen and the folks at Swift will be busy helping another customer, and the merchants of Huntsville will be excelling at customer service.  Make certain you see the storefront sign from Soapstones Soap & Skin Care, on Main Street.  All in all, it was a fantastic day and along the way home I decided to hook onto Hwy 35 south and head down through Dorset and back into Bracebridge on 117.

Matt, I followed your recommendation and got the hull wet on our Swift Algonquin.  Not a long one but on the water just the same.

Now about that paddle…….some choices are going to have to be made!


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