Any one familiar with this beginning?  “Hey, I’ve booked a site on a route none of us have been on.  You in?”  One came back, “I’m in, for sure.”  Another came back as, “The 14th, I don’t know.”  Everyone leads a busy lifestyle and I for one, appreciate that and I never compare anybodies definition of busy!

My son, Liam was very interested in going and was packed up quick quickly in comparison with other trips.  This one was to include three different lakes and four  portages totalling almost one kilometre.  Not a formidable trip by comparison but, remember, we’re not comparing, and this style of trip is relatively new to me, especially as the trip planner.

So the night before departure one announces he may just be able to put it together and the other is having a major test around the house and I figured he would be a casualty when it turned out he was just delayed.  He still beat me up there proving some things never change.

Haliburton Highlands Water Trails is one area that I’ve already dipped my toes into, thanks to my good friend, Christina Scheuermann, a.k.a. CamperChristina.com.  I was invited up for a nights stay back in May and I had a really good feeling about the area.  This trip would involve a bit more work ie. the portaging but I wanted to give it a go.

At the Big East access we met up with one of the guys and transferred gear to the put in and made tracks for the first portage.  We took our time winding along the shore line and hit the first portage.  Well marked at the take out, we pulled gear from the canoes and headed up the hill.  Nice gentle slope on this one from Bentshoe Lake to Lower Crane Lake, and well defined!  Gear stowed away we headed for the campsite as we reversed the route.

One of was using a topo map with a large scale and the other using a 1:15,000 scale map, offered widely.  After a quick tour of the wrong area of the lake we arrived at our site.  OK, now picture this if you will.  Some bugs were out but this is Ontario, right!  We landed and rolled the canoes for the night and started bringing packs up the rock slope which was about 12 feet above the lake surface and on a steep face back to the lake.  Did I mention that the rock top was directly in the face of the wind and offered some well received relief from said bugs!  First thing of order was to set the tents and determine whether we’d set up the Eureka Bug Zones we brought or just set a guide tarp in case of rain.  The clouds were rolling and building and as I’ve found the best way to stay away from rain is to go ahead and set up a tarp.   Done!  (p.s. No rain).

It was a very hot day and no one was terribly hungry so we kept drinking water and talked about what had happened since the last meeting. Kevin Callan has mentioned about the proximity of some sites on this system being too close to the roadways as it allows for some who may not appreciate what they’re given with the backcountry in Ontario, and we definitely saw signs of that.  At the same time credit has to be given to the staff and supportes of the HHWT’s as the sites we passed appeared very clear of garbage.

Enjoying the setting sun and the gentle breeze, Liam turned to us and said, “Here comes Steve.”.  Sure enough, he’s made it up for the evening with his daughter.

A mix of the heat, muscles that hadn’t been used for a bit and the onslaught of mosquitoes coming as the breeze died off, we hit the sheets.  We had run a very clean campsite and opted to park the barrels with a pan or two on top.  It wasn’t an hour by the time one pan was off the barrel followed by that familiar chuckle of the Masked Intruder.  This little guy was so brazen as to visit one of the tents and actually press his nose against the secreen.  Amazing how quickly a raccoon can travel when his nose gets the finger flick.

Sunday greeted us with a smoky haze of fog over our bay and that heavy air which meant she’d be a hot day slugging.  Breakfast bannock on an un-tested pan and yup…she burned a bit, but not enough to back away from all that shredded cheese.  Another pan offered a collection of bacon, rehydrated potatoes and onions and some crumbled sausage, while yet another pot offered up some oatmeal, which has been a go to mainsaty throughout time.  Liam satyed busy refilling the water bag to filter water for the days trip.

Off we went to new waters and trails and we weren’t disappointed.  This is an area of beauty. Close enough to test and not a major test of abilities.  The water levels were down considerably and we had to ram our way over some logs but it was a fun trip.

This one made me aware of my sons’ abilities and capabilites.  He is a very strong paddler and takes advice and applies it.  On the way home I asked him if he’d do it again and he relied, “Sure, but only if it’s a longer trip.”





Alright folks, it’s time to get honest.  Yup, the uncomfortable kind of honest where you actually have to be, honest!

Let’s go camping!  Let’s, actually means “let us” suggesting the plural!  What happened when I asked a couple of my closest paddling buddies was, “I’d love to, but…..” and I get that so I shoot off a note to a good friend and asked her what she was doing and if she’d like to get together.  Turns out she had already booked a site in Haliburton Highlands and as we’d been back and forth on a few other get togethers; this one turned out as the click.

CamperChristina is a “go to” gal for any season in the out of doors and truth be told, why would you not want to gain knowledge from an experienced woman of the outdoors.  Well, the answer may astound some while others may see it as super transparent.

I like people and can get along with the larger percentage!  Solo camping has been in front of me before and it didn’t work out that well.  For some, solo camping is just camping while for others, solo is a big deal.  I actually talked to myself a few times on the way up…..right to the point where I passed my cut off and thought, “Now, there’s an excuse.”

In the parking zone and a double carry put me on the water at the put in and as I scoped the waterscape before me I thought, “Why on Earth would you consider missing this?”  Thanks to Shawn Ryder and he knows so therein lies the importance of the mention.

No new gear except the Pilot canoe from Composite Creations and off we go to meet and camp with someone for the very first time on a lake I’ve never been to in a canoe I haven’t paddled with gear…. in a rain storm.  Ah, I can just feel the calm!!!!  Here we are in a new environment with a new’ish canoe and you’ve still got the semi-solo jitters!

Semi solo.  Think of it for a second.  The guys or the girls heading out on a trip and all the comraderie.  Fast forward to one person doing the packing, food prep, gear lines and safety check……all while they’ve been down this road and didn’t appreciate it!  Respect and commitment is what drives us forward.  Not just the test of the word to another but rather the word to yourself!

In transit the road actually dries track bare and the put in site looms.  Canoe in and gear stored and the lake is dreary at best.  None the less a job is at hand and the paddle bites on the first leg of the journey.  Instantly the phone ring goes silent as does the media alert.  The new alert draws attention to the shore line for activity and the waterline for the prevalent loons.   Within a paddle stroke you’ve distanced yourself from the outside world!

Another humbling lesson in the fact that the site is immaterial; it’s the destination that matters.  It matters most that you decide to go!  The benefit comes latter from those you share with and gain knowledge from; the most expensive thing you can own is a closed mind!



There’s a comment we hear every time we go through the photo archives, right?  Recently I made comment about backcountry canoe camping  and I dug out some photos from about a while back and brought them up against the more recent snaps.  “Where in the heck did all that grey come from?”

The French River has always had my heart!  It has some of the nastiest bugs I’ve come across and it is said that the bigger ones come equipped with landing lights.  It features our Osprey below the Blue Chute, and please respect our ownership of said bird!  This is a river that you can watch ebb or flow over a long weekend.  The electrical storms are vicious.  The cool evening midnight breeze along with the sound of the rapids in the background as you float, leg locked with 3 or 4 canoes, swirling in an eddy pool under a canopy of the galaxies is a gift you can never be told about; it is one you must experience!

The French has taught me considerably!  Respect of the water and of the land surrounding this fabulous river.  Respect for those who’ve travelled the same path in a different time and the importance to protect the waterway for those to come.  She has given me new experience, new friends, and has provided a base for our children to form their opinions.  I remember a night, many moons ago, where I emerged from a Woods canvas tent, damned near frozen.  One, who was with us, told me how to prepare a bed under the pines and to this day, I remember it as one of the best sleeps I had in the bush.

Please take a moment and share some of our experiences in the heat and in the rain and the cold; from low water to near flood conditions, but always in good company!

So wherever you plans may take you, please enjoy, respect, and thank those who’ve been before you and those who’ve offered something for you!





We enjoyed a really good time at the Outdoor Adventure Show – Toronto and after seeing a lot of friends and visiting with some great exhibitors, we decided it was time to hit the road.  One of the prime targets for this years show was with Agawa Canyon so I could treat myself to some leather.

I had already purchased one of their Boreal 21 saws and by the way, if you’re looking for something light weight, easy to assemble, and something that will absolutely chew up wood…..stop looking!  Now for a smidge of honesty, OK?  I’ll be Frank and you be Earnest!  It’s ok (lower case) to stuff your saw in between a barrel or your tent and sleeping bag but damn, it’s a mark of pride to wear your saw in a place of honour on your pack.  Plus it’s leather!  Beautiful leather, if I might add!

Many foot steps later, we are collecting ourselves and our treasures from the show and, “OUCH”, Karin suffers a twist in her shoulder and down go the bags!  Liam and I scramble to help, however, Karin in full mother/wife/woman mode, says she’s good to go and the bags all get changed up and away we go!

A gorgeous afternoon drive home and we decided it would be a dinner cooked outside so into the store parking lot we went.  Truck parked and K on her mission, Liam and I decided to peruse the spoils.  I said, “Hey Bud, can you pass me up the leather scabbard, please?”  Liams’ response was deafening, “It’s not here!”  I was out of the truck in a heart beat and bags checked, jackets moved and seats re-checked.  The search yielded nothing. I was back in the truck and checked the console, the door pockets and while I checked Karins door pocket my hand passed over her purse.  I thought to myself, “She didn’t have her purse in the show so that’s out!”  Back to the back seat for another parcel check.


Oh my goodness and may someone show forgiveness on me for what followed!  I honestly think we had the only “hot air Ram” in Barrie!  Enter Karin, stage left!  “You wouldn’t have believed the line ups!”, she said.  I countered, “You get everything you wanted, because my leather scabbard is back in Toronto at the show!”  I calmly reached for a tissue to wipe the foam from my lips!

I’m from a time when you did NOT go into a womens purse!  Your Mom’s or your wife’s, when she told you….you brought it to her and she could dig. So to hear Karins voice when she said, “No silly, it’s here in my purse!”, it had that bittersweet quality to it.  I made sure one chop was done to her liking.




Well, well, well! Another Outdoor Adventure Show – Toronto has come and gone but when it left this year; it did so with a greater impact and a deeper feeling of respect!
I talked at length about the show with my wife Karin, as she attended the show again this year, along with our son, Liam.  I wanted to speak with someone with smarts, someone articulate, and with good taste and shortly after I realized who she married, I knew she was the one! 
As I love to ramble on and promote outdoor functions, the OAS has now suffered through two years now of my attending the show and also promoting via my social media outlets.  We ran some ticket give a ways and as a result I’ve actually met some really great people through this function.  My main contact was with a young lady, Mona, and all I have to say is what a firecracker!  My big regret from the show is not having met her face to face.  She was right on with every aspect and went over the top to get things functioning very smoothly!  I was only successful at catching her up once.  I called in one day and she said, “Oh, I was just emailing you.”  I replied, “I know”…..and the silence was deafening!  It’s the stuff that goes on in the background that makes the front end operation look so smooth, so hat’s off Mona!
As a camper (when it suits me) and a canoeist (when I can stay in the canoe) and an experienced woodsman (excuse me, do you have a bandage….no a bigger one….that’s it?) I’m headed for the Outdoor Adventure Show – Toronto.  “Canada’s ultimate outdoor adventure and travel event.”  Exactly what expectations had I?  Keep that quote in mind!
The three of us get inside and grab our media credentials and it’s SHOW TIME!!! Being on somewhat familiar ground we enter and stopped!  Holy Smokes…the place is packed!  Karin goes, “Gameplan” so we decided to fake left and dash right.  The overhead banners were very well placed and highly visible from almost any vantage spot.  Liam was my photographer for the day and for his first shoot, I think he did very well. I had a few targets in mind and as a guy, I’m always open “SQUIRREL” sorry, to new gadgets/ideas/locations and functions.  Karin does exactly what she wants and moves at her own pace which keeps me in perfect check and yields an untold plethora of surprises when all the bags are emptied out.  I just love that girl!!!
It was finally decided to head for the hills and so we dashed through the parking lot to the truck and on the way home I said, “Man, was there ever a lot of destination booths.”  Karin said, “Yes, and I thought there were a lot of scuba booths.”  That’s when Karin shouted out, “Tell them to keep that quote in mind!”
Ok, so we have the boat show, we’ve got the this show and the that show but I’m talking about “Canada’s ultimate outdoor adventure and travel show”!  Of course diving is an outdoor adventure!  Let’s all head off to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, said many of them at the show.  Ever been to the Azores?  They’re at Booth A2  Axes?  Aisle 2.   The big thing everyone, is that the SHOW WAS PACKED!  This is a multi faceted show with the impetus on being outdoors, healthy, with a family orientation, and it came off in first class style!  They offered speakers from every section and they were nothing short of dynamic.  Some of the exhibitors had their own “specialists” which lent a “show within the show appeal”.  From start to finish this show has, and continues to deliver on the outdoor adventure theme.  It’s really your choice as to which adventure you will embark on.
For next year I’m seriously considering going head to head with the likes of Jim Baird, David Lee, Christina Schuerman, the Jennings Gents, and offer the OAS my riveting talk of “How to put up your hot tent on the 3 year plan”.  Ya, I agree, a few more tweeks needed, Yes?
Put this show on your calender for next year and get out and see what the outdoors has to offer!  Remember, the big limitations, are the ones you put on yourself!


What a year to plan and celebrate getting out in to the great out doors and supporting the Ontario Parks system.

Back in 1893 it all began with the first provincial park, Algonquin and now we are able to enjoy some 340 parks that account for 8% of the land space in Ontario.  That’s bigger than Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined!  Now that’s big!

That is surely something to get out and enjoy and celebrate that we have such a resource available to us all.

How will you celebrate the 125th anniversary?




Well the New Year brings about a lot of planning and this includes a critical review of what worked and what didn’t work over the past year!  An integral component was missing in the photography department and that was me!  I wasn’t in any action shots!  When you feature a dry suit company you can rest assured they want to see their product in action!  Some trips featured moving water and what more fun can you have than capturing all features of a trip through the rapids.

Andy Phillips from Composite Creations referred me to someone after talking with me about the predicament.  Well, today was the day for a shopping trip to ramp up the gear and provide another angle to the coming and going of our trips.  On the way down the 400 highway I thought to myself, “Things are starting to come into focus for this year.”

Across the Gardiner Expressway and off at Kipling.  Across Evans Ave. to Eastwick and a quick left onto Oxford and here I was; right out front of The Complete Paddler.

A selection of watercraft on the racks out front and as I walked up the drive, the door made it abundantly clear the “paddling” was spoken, here!  In I walked and the first person I saw was Kelly McDowell, President.  Kelly was tied up with some customers but it was a great feeling when he kind of hesitated and gave that, “Hey, I know you” look.  In fact, it was last May when Kelly and I were last together at the Palmer Rapids River Festival.

I panned around the store for a bit and admired the various craft available on display. There was everything from the classics, being a pair of cedar canvas jewels, one being a Chestnut and then we went through the SUP’s to the folding kayaks and canoes to the Abitibi and Bluewater canoes and right through a wide variety of tandem and solo kayaks.

It was the accessories department in electronics that I was interested in and I was not to be disappointed.  The display rack held about a dozen of the SJCAM SJ4000 WiFi sport camera.  The video showed a kayaker putting the camera through its paces and the video was very smooth.  The blues from the sky were spot on and overall the other colours were very bright while remaining realistic.  I’d read somewhere that the SJ’s had some kind of bounce to the videos, however after spending quite a bit of time watching the various runs the paddler took, I figured I’d be thrilled to turn out some comparable videos.

How does this camera fall into the plans for this year?  Very simply put, I can have one camera facing forward while the second faces aft and it looks like a lesson in editing is on the horizon.  This will ensure action shots from all around the canoe and that’s exactly what I want.  This camera offers a reasonable expense for what looks to be some fantastic capabilites so I’m confident it is going to be a worthwhile addition to the gear department.

Now as far as the history lesson goes, Kelly and I were talking and through the course of conversation he mentioned this building we were in was actually the Evergreen Canoe store for Toronto.  In the photos you will see a block wall tothe right of the barn doors that say “SHOP”.  Behind the block wall was the wood working shop where the gunwales etc. were built and behind the shop doors is where the hulls would come in to have the wood applied to finish the canoes!  Talk about a walk down memory lane.  Evergreen was, and still is, a much sought after canoe!

With the open water season approaching I’m going to have to become very familair with the operation of the video cams as well as the editing process.  A special thanks to Andy for steering me on this one.  Kelly, it was a real pleasure seeing you again today and I thank you for all your input and assistance.  These are two guys that really go to the wall for paddling and fully understand my need to get my drysuit from Mythic Gear out in front and preferably above the surface.

Thanks to all for your continued support and I’m really excited about what we may bring to you this coming year!



December 9th in the face of yet more snow north of us what other choice did we have? Canoeing? ABSOLUTELY!!!

Jay Naismith rolled up early this morning with his signature Sawyer for soloing….see how smoothly that sounds… and switched it onto the trailer where the Expedition from Composite Creations sat waiting to get out of the gate. More on this jewel later!!!

I don’t know how many of you have winter canoed or winter canoe camped but there’s a few added features to consider such as snow, ice, snow covered firewood, loosing weight by falling out of the canoe and freezing your arse off, so some added precautions were warranted such as a sleeping bag, ground mat, and a tarp as well as the cooking department and food…..just in case. Off we went to the secret location only to find copious quantities of snow and the road closed! DUM DA DUM DUM! As a highly skilled and professional driver I skillfully executed a 3 point turn with the trailer on……. No I didn’t! I backed in the laneway right at the closure and turned around.

Our first target launch only had about 40 feet of “I’m not going anywhere” ice out to the open water so we passed on that and found a spot to safely park a short distance from the river. The piece of gear that made me most pleased to have was my dry suit from Mythic Gear. This was a no “dry suit – no trip” for me! I’m also pleased to state that I successfully portaged the canoe and 2 relatively light packs for quite a distance…by using my throw-bag line and towing her over the freshly fallen snow. Ok, it was downhill so I won’t say how many times I stopped on the way back.

There’s such a rush I feel when your gear is stowed and you bend over to get in and give the canoe that shove to get into the river. Today was even more special as I’d, actually, we had never done this before. This late in the season, this much snow, (which was still falling), plus there was ice everywhere. The first major laugh of the day was at Jay’s expense as he made a perfect turn and back paddle right under an overhanging conifer and enjoyed one of the longest snow showers I’ve ever seen. Definitely not the last laugh of the day.

The only sound was the kiss of the water to the hulls of the canoes and the swish of paddle shafts carving the way. I swear, you could hear the snow flakes hitting the packs! Jay knew the route and lead the way around the first point towards our first portage of the trip and what a sight! Likely a half kilometre of solid snow covered ice. With private property lining either shore towards the dam it was time for Plan B. Off we went upstream after playing in the ice for a while. Honest to God, I’ve never seen anything like it…..fascinating! Some areas you could see the ice starting to form and other areas you just knew not to test. Well, with the exception of one! Jay seemed to veer, by will into the ice packs and one area I followed trying to capture a photo. That’s when my canoe stopped….and I mean stopped almost dead! I didn’t get the shot but I was able to back up a bit and take another attempt to free myself from the ice which did not break. The canoe came up on the ice and pushed the whole sheet like a hydro foil.

We proceeded up river for quite some time until we decided it was time to turn tail and head for lunch. Along the way we had time to both talk and reflect on our own thoughts. I’m convinced this is one of the prime features of paddling.

So as a trip conclusion I offer that we had good weather as the snow added one of those wonderland moments and the location was superb for a first winter paddle. The equipment performed beyond expectation between the new canoe and the drysuit with being layered up. I wish our daughter had been with us as she is soooooo much better at photography than I. At the onset of The Canoe Collector, I said I wanted to try as many new things as I was able to within my comfort zone. I wasn’t comfortable leaving the house this morning but you know what? Gear is still packed and I may just go back tomorrow!!! There’s risk in every thing so ask the question, get the qualified answer, pick up the proper gear, and throw it against the wall.

Today was one of the best paddles I’ve ever had!



Phone calls made and plans arranged for the transition of summer tires to snows!

Unfortunately it was for the morning after a get together for a Leaf game at friends and every cotton pickin’ time we go to watch a game, the Leaf’s loose!  Streak unbroken.  2 – 1 Canucks!

Sunday morning and everything quiet with the exception of Izzy whose tail is playing “Wipeout” on the bookcase at 7:35 AM.  A quick scratch of Izzy’s neck and the thought flashes through my head….”Where in the heck is the wheel nut lock?”  Sneakers and pajamas have never been stylish but in the relative dark they served the purpose perfectly.

I did the secret agent clothing change and started rolling tires and carrying rims to the pick up and arrived at my appointment location with scant seconds to spare!  “Ya, that’s going to be $149.00……wait did you buy the tires here?  You did, oh well then we can save you some more money here!”

Truck in the shop and my stomach grumbling as I sip my coffee while walking across a pretty much empty parking lot.  I’m going to give her a call!  Ya, Sunday and I’m sure she’ll be reading her book!  “Hey Babe, want to join me at Starbucks for a coffee and a brekkie sammich?”  “That’s great, I’ll wait for you outside.”

What a glorious morning dawned upon us this day!  Bright sunshine and almost no wind with temperatures around 0’C.

I went into the Starbucks and read their menu board to get a head start on what I’d like.  The young lady was prompt and courteous to take my order but I explained I was waiting on my wife.  I returned outside and waited for Karin to arrive and when she did we entered the store and the Calley greeted us with a “So now the other half is here”.  She took our orders based on some recommendations and off we went to find a table. As we waited for our orders to be filled, Karin and I both commented on how the staff here acted as a whole!  The smile was always in place and each one behind the counter interacted with each other to get the orders out.  We sat and munched our breakfast and it kind of turned into one of those cherished “date” moments….you know, while getting your snow tires put on!

I’ve always been an equal opportunity kind of guy.  Do it wrong and I’ll tell ya!  Do it right, and I’ll tell ya as well!  So the traffic takes a lull and I’m up to the counter….”Which one of you ladies is the Manager?”  Both faces are riveted on my face!

I told them that Karin and I had been talking about our experience and that the crystal clear and genuine greeting from Calley was exceptional.  Recommendations were offered and explanations were given!  The entire staff operated behind the counter like a pro football team on the field and as a customer, it was a joy to watch the interaction.  Even when I asked who was the manager, Calley continued to smile in the face of not knowing what was coming!  Professional, confident, and the kind of front line staff that most companies just dream of having!

So who’s driving this bus, you ask?  Who is making all this customer satisfaction take place?  The young lady’s name is Tanya Monk!  Karin and I spoke with these two and what came forward was amazing!  One states that she gets worried when she hits her start time and it’s announced that there may be things not available to offer.  The other mentions that it’s a responsibility to function as a team and to have EVERY customer leave happy.  Really?  Without telling all, I’m just going to state that if you want to attend what I saw to be a perfectly functioning retail coffee/sandwich operation, you need to visit Starbucks at 103 Mapleview Drive West in Barrie.

I just call them as I see them, but this morning was a great morning, the sandwich was exactly what you said it would be, it was a blast having a date with my wife, and you two provided the avenue for it.

Thanks so much!!!



“Let’s plan a shoulder season trip.”    “You’ll love the crisp morning air, plus you’ll sleep so much better at night!”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????

I had spoken of a trip into the fall and had been in touch with some I’ve travelled with before.  A target was put out along with an itinerary (rough) and away we went.  In the past I’ve bowed and bent with whatever seemed to be happening at the time but this trip was going to be different.  Different in the fact that it was going to happen.  Heck, the first time you went on a solo was due to the fact you were committed, yes?  And so it came to be that it was Thursday evening prior to a Friday departure……

For anyone who has done a trip/outing with me, the mainstay is that launch will be at T plus whatever time is necessary for me to finish packing.  Sorry, that’s just the way it happens.  “Dave” and ” Oh my God….he’s ready!”  is not likely to be heard in the same sentence around my place, however, I can pretty much assure you it will be an interesting and informative wait!

Canoes were loaded on the Thursday evening, including a gorgeous 12′ Pilot set up in a solo configuration, from Composite Creations, courtesy of Andy Phillips.  The combatants had spoken prior to the trip and it was determined it would not be a light weight, minimalist trip, right down to towing an extra canoe and carrying an 8 lb. lightweight (?) dutch oven to prepare cinnamon rolls for dessert!

Flexibility allowed for an 8:30 AM take off time from the planned 5:00 – 6:00 AM, which, quite frankly seems somewhat barbaric.   Next stop….Parry Sound!

The “Sound” was a breeze right down to the point where I made the U-turn to park and a car left out right in front of me providing a panoramic view of the Home Hardware store for those left in the truck.  Alban, here we come!  “You remembered to pack the TP, right?”  There’s no sense having soggy toilet paper, so $80.00 later I’ve got some Kirkland TP and some large freezer zip lock bags and we’re hot and heavy to the Pine Cove get off.

OK, let’s take a moment here to put some history down here.  It was 51 years ago that I took the same trip on worse roads and in a 14′ Thornes aluminum for my first trip into the French.  It’s about 22 years ago that Karin and I first went into the French in our cedar canvas and 2 years ago that we took our children into the French in a wind storm and rainy weekend for an overnight trip.  Overnight……really!  Their comment was that they’d go back if it wasn’t so windy and if we had more time!

Well, time we had, the weather offered the summer high temperature on the first day of fall and we had between one and a half and two feet below flood levels.  It was a glorious weekend and one that put out some great tests of personal growth, fantastic equipment (reviews will follow) and some testimonies from the kids that will stand the test of time.

Friday was a great day on the way in and it came to a group consensus as to whether we would continue on, or camp where we spoke.  Gear was shifted into place and camp was made!  Dinner consisted of some sore muscles, along with a salad of laughter, and dessert consisted of some wonderful memories covered in some delightful ambitions.  Good nights were said and we headed for bed in the sweltering heat that only a 40’C day can offer.

Heads on the pillows and Mom and Dad are listening for the bairns to be off for the night when Mom says, “There’s something wrong with the fire.”  The coals were checked and the light show continued.  Heat lightning came in for close to 2 hours, followed by a gentle rain until about 4:00.  We woke the kids so they could have a look at the sky and the multitude of stars it offered.

The looks on their faces absolutely made the trip!!!