This week is National Paddling Week in Canada so I thought I’d dedicate to this post to canoeing. I have to admit that, while I enjoy all outdoor activities, canoeing is definitely my favourite. In many ways it reflects the life itself. It teaches you to keep your balance, to work together with your partner to move in the right direction. Sometimes you have to brave the waves making sure you don’t capsize. And at times it’s about staying still, going with the flow and enjoying the world around.
So here are some of our most memorable paddling moments.
Paddling like voyageurs at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park
This is our younger son at the age of two trying paddling for the first time. While camping at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, we decided to take part in the park program about voyageurs. We got to learn all about voyageurs, paddle a large voyageur canoe, and wear oversized voyageur shirts, except for our son because they didn’t have a shirt his size. Luckily, they had a paddle that was just right for him!
Thanksgiving weekend canoeing on Lake of Two Rivers in Algonquin
On our first trip to Algonquin, we decided to go for a paddle on Lake of Two Rivers. The sky looked ominous but even though I mentioned several times that we should turn back, my husband insisted on going forward. It all ended in a huge rainfall and a huge fight. Now we can laugh at it and remember fondly how our clothes smelled of smoke for month afterwards because we had to dry them over the fire.
Kishkebus Canoe Trail at Bon Echo Provincial Park
I took this picture years ago with my point-and-shoot camera. Now I can see all the technical drawbacks and how much better it could be if I had a DSLR. But sometimes it’s not about technicalities, it’s about the feeling of the moment: gliding over the sky, the perfectly mirrored world, the serenity…
Canoeing on Lake Superior
Canoeing on Lake Superior can be risky: sudden weather changes, big waves, strong winds, freezing cold water. We were lucky to get the calmest, smoothest paddle possible and spent most of the day on the water. It was one of the most surreal canoeing experiences. Because the water is crystal clear and you can see the bottom way down below, you feel as if you are suspended in the air, almost flying.
Barron Canyon canoe trip
When we decided to try a backcountry canoe trip, we chose the Barron Canyon canoe route in Algonquin. After several days of paddling and portaging, we finally reached the Canyon where we could relax and let Barron River carry us down past the beautiful wooded cliffs. Ahhh, canoeing heaven!
Romantic getaway at Massasauga Provincial Park
A few years ago, our children were away on a dance tour in Florida. So what did we do? We went canoeing, of course, at Massasauga Provincial Park. That’s our idea of a romantic getaway.
Canoeing with alligators in Florida
This winter we were lucky to go canoeing in Everglades National Park in Florida. Trying to get through a mangrove and seeing alligators sunning along the shore was exciting but other than that canoeing in Florida was not that different from canoeing in Canada.
To read more about our camping trip to Everglades and see more pictures of alligators, manatees and other wildlife, click here.
Kayaking at Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick
Yes, technically it’s not canoeing but I couldn’t write about paddling and not include the Bay of Fundy. Home to the highest tide in the world, it offers a paddling experience like no other. Hopewell Rocks is one of the most famous sites in the Bay, where, depending on the time of the day, you can either walk on the ocean floor or paddle high up between the rocks.
Foggy morning at Kawartha Higlands
On our trip to Kawartha Highlands last year, my son woke me up early so we could go paddling together while everyone else was still asleep. It was a beautiful quiet morning, even more special because I got to share it with him.
For more pictures and a full trip report, go here.
Finally, Roman sleeping
This is one of our favourite canoeing memories. When he was younger, our son would always fall asleep in a canoe. He slept through rain, sun, waves and strong winds. Must be something about the rocking motion.
For more canoeing stories, check out these posts: