This time of year is one that can make, or break a person! Demands are everywhere and the stress levels can reach breaking point unless you take a moment to sit back and unwind and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
It’s fun to look back and see what you accomplished over the year and compare this to the goals you wanted to reach.
January saw me drive to London, in a snow storm, to buy a white water canoe as running rapids was on my list. April 1st saw me in the river (and I do mean IN) followed by another run on my birthday, and then again with a band of crazies for the end of the month.
May brought me to a white water weekend at Palmer Rapids with Paddler Co-op, and I still laugh today when I think of Melissa saying that fun water level was around 60 to 65 cms. When I asked what current levels were at she replied, “About 292!”.
There were several attempts to get trips put together but something called life seemed to get in the way! As a result several day paddles hit the books and some new places were found. Any regrets….not a one! I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason.
I wanted to do a big river this year and while neither are the Missinaibi or Dumoine, I was very happy to paddle the Mattawa River and delighted to return to the French River, both as key heritage waterways.
The fleet changed over the year and this year we expanded to 10 canoes. I was happy to assist with a paddling for cancer cause and I’m thrilled to say I will return for the 2018 event. Personally, I challenged myself more this year and feel that I’ve grown in my skills sets and confidence.
So while the year isn’t closed off as yet, I have to mention a highlight for 2017 in that I paddled on December 9th in a snow fall and did manage to encounter some ice. So all in all, this year has given me the earliest and the latest I’ve been on the water and included some new routes to explore.  Thanks to everyone who was a part in helping, joining in. or providing that pat on the back for encouragement….it was very well received and I’m grateful.
This year has been considered a big success so now is the time to start planning on making 2018 an even better year.  Think I’ll write everything down over a Scotch while sitting in my hot tent in Algonquin Park on a snowy New Year’s Eve.



Sitting in the examination room, the doctor came in and after introducing herself, she had a look at a spot on my cheek and announced, “Well, that will be coming off!”  I thought, OK, at least I’ll have some time to build myself up for it.  That idea didn’t fly either as the procedure will be done on Aug., 2nd.

So let’s back up a bit here and put things in perspective.  July 29th, I’ve registered in the Mattawa River Canoe Marathon and as I had the opportunity to preview quite a bit of the route; it promises to be a gruelling test.

This past weekend we had an opportunity to visit the Bruce Peninsula National Park with each of the kids having a guest along.  The park itself is beautiful and while the staff went way out of their way to maintain the status quo, it was obvious they were fighting an uphill battle.

I’ll come back to the park but I wanted to get Izzy in the canoe, in the water just for a few minutes as he did such a fine job on dry land.  Some of the kids appeared to be excited about canoeing and that almost faded as quick as the sun.  In fact, none of the three canoes even left the trailer.  It seemed there were stronger voices calling than those from the woods.

Upon registering at the office, the park staff informed us of strict rules regarding noise, alcohol consumption, and site etiquette.  Trail signs cautioned about trucking out your own garbage due to the fact there were no containers.  Upon arriving at the shoreline there was a posting warning about alcohol, cold water and its affects on the swimmer, and one that caught my eye regarding cliff jumping and how it was not only dangerous, it was illegal!  Along the trail, Izzy had to go and with baggie on leash, his efforts were collected.  It looked like I was the only one for the day to do so.  At the shore we witnessed one group receive numerous tickets for alcohol related offences from a park officer while three others were in the general area.  Entertaining to say the least was the fact that a steady line of thrill seekers were jumping off the cliffs in the background from various heights.  Beauty from a well known and frequented landmark or another in the wilderness enjoyed a more private setting?  Even Izzy showed enough with the constant parade of people and dogs.  He’s not the best with strange dogs while leashed but he did an amazing job over the weekend.

I don’t mean to appear negative as the Bruce was a great trip!  It’s just that I’m wondering what the biopsy will show as there is a history of issues within the family.  I’m wondering how to get Izzy out in the canoe and where would be the best place to try it out.  With a mandatory safety meeting for the canoe marathon at 5:00 on Friday and normal work hours beyond that, I’m wondering about the plausibility of meeting the requirements.  I think about whether I failed at introducing the kids to camping and canoeing or whether it’s just a stage of our lives.  That having been said, the kids combined to get the camp set up in record time and the big blue went together fantastically.  I see the guy who walked in front of me with his family to view over the harbour.  I see him jockey for position to capture his photo which is when he stepped on Izzy.  The man told me I should control my dog and  I told him my dog was on a short leash and possibly he should control his feet.

Few bugs, gentle breezes, and good food with a lot of laughs made the weekend a great trip with the shoreline at Indian Head Cove and the Grotto and one that won’t be forgotten.

In a while I hope to look back on this one and laugh at the mole hill I thought of as a mountain.  For tonight, it’s just that I’ve got a lot on my mind.