paddling season - getting engaged.
Amazing, another year has already come and gone. I recall writing the first Year In Review blog post last January. I even remember feeling pleasantly surprised when I looked back at all those trip pictures to refresh my memory. In the span of a year, it's absurd how much I forgot, let alone remember with pictures to remind me. Even now, as I look back on all the trips in 2011, I find it to be almost cathartic. Canoe trips have been for me (and I'm sure many of you), a treasure trove of powerful emotions, experiences and memories that are a pleasure to relive in our minds, just as long as we don't forget them!
Massasauga: Not only discovering a more scenic route,
but another way to bypass the portage.
Photos: Maral Kodjayan
Quetico: Good times, great memories, and an
incredible place to go on a canoe trip!
At the end of June, I now set off east with some other friends to Quebec for a 2 week whitewater trip down the Coulonge River. It goes without saying that we had lots of fun running rapids, but the oppressive heat and buggy conditions sometimes made it a bit challenging to enjoy at times. However, we were pleasantly surprised by how scenic the area was despite the numerous cottages and lodges along the way. Unfortunately, despite trying our best to slow down, we finished the trip much earlier than expected, which then prompted the next outing. Not wanting to waste the time we had off, a couple of us headed to Algonquin for a few days. It was ironically, a vacation from a vacation! What can I say?
Algonquin: Solo, dragging my canoe through the mud,
and wishing for once it was frozen!
With a few weeks to get things ready, by mid-August, we now headed in the opposite direction, west towards Quetico Provincial Park. Participating as An-Artist-In-Residence, I was also granted permission to use the never-before-paddled Nova Craft Cronje that was given to the park to commemorate their centenary. Some of the comments I got as other paddlers saw me take the canoe from the visitor centre made me chuckle. They knew it wasn't coming back in the same condition. I was pretty certain they knew something about the park that I didn't at that time. In any case, despite the canoe coming back with many notable marks, each member of our small group came away with lasting impressions as well. It was hard leaving the park, but even harder to deal with wistful longings to be back in the wilds of Quetico during our long 2 day drive back.
My next outing was supposed to be a whitewater outing on the Madawaska River, but unfortunately as you know, it got cancelled last minute. Without skipping a beat, I then headed out again at the end of September with a good friend back to Haliburton. We had some tough weather conditions, including lots of long portages, but our complimentary skill set and combined experiences still made the trip enjoyable, even when our first campsite was accidentally taken!
Haliburton: Despite the weather on this trip, moments
like this truly make it all worthwhile.
By November as the season was coming to an end, I quickly took the opportunity to head out on a couple more trips. One with Anita to Killarney Provincial Park where she got to experience the "crown jewel" of Ontario`s wilderness with its towering mounds of white quartzite. Lastly, I headed out on a solo trip at the end of the month to Algonquin. Always a great way to reflect back on the past year's trips and even hope for a 'white' paddle out to close the season. No luck on the latter as I finished the trip soaking wet under a steady rainfall. So much for the climactic ending to finish the 2011 paddling season!