Author: SR

When I was a kid, camping was a favourite past time for my family.  Like many people, I can remember summer days spent by the lake doing all the fun stuff you do while camping.  The fishing, the swimming, playing with other kids you knew or just met, late nights roasting marshmallows and listening to the adults chat around the fire.  One of the things I remember is when my grandparents would join us on a camping trip.  As fun as camping was, seeing my grandparents made it that much more special.

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BY: Mike Burns

I always enjoyed my solo canoe trips, but at “down” times, I get a bit lonesome. I would see other soloists with dogs and would get a bit envious. I see some dogs in the bow sitting proudly. I see dogs swimming at the campsites, and I would see dogs on the portages carrying packs. “I want that!” My older dogs at the time were never trained to go in a canoe. When they passed on, it was time for a new best friend. I put my wife on a mission to get our 2nd new dog. She picked out a female 6 months previously and our 2nd next dog, I told her, was going to be a tripping buddy. She came across a rescue organization that had a 3 month female Golden Retriever/Shepard mixed. She was last to be picked with no markings. Pure black. We picked her up with a full family introduction with her “sister” Jill.

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Mention the Channel Islands to most North American kayakers and their thoughts probably turn to an archipelago off the Californian coast, but what about the original Channel Islands? Located off the coast of northern France, they sit between the arms of Normandy and Brittany, a unique mixture of English and French.

Jersey, the largest, is my island home. Large is a relative term as it is only 9 miles long and 5 miles wide. Within this compact 45 square miles, there is some dramatic coastal scenery, set against a rich historical background, which stretches back approximately 240,000 years. The kayaking is made all the more interesting by the twice daily rise and fall of the tide, with a tidal range which reaches 12 metres on the larger springs.

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By: Mike Burns

Is ‘Canoe Building Addiction’ a thing?

“Why don’t you sell some of your canoes?” Good question. My wife says, “Just sell one!”, but I can’t! From the start of the building process to using them on trips all over Ontario, each canoe means something to me.

I started my first canoe back in 2006 after seeing a friend’s cedar stripper for the first time being loaded up on an Algonquin Outfitters shuttle boat on Lake Opeongo in Algonquin Park. I was in awe. I drilled my friend with many questions about his canoe for the next 3 days. I’m making one! Continue reading

By Jen Wirch

The background: 

If you have ever been on a canoe trip, you know that the planning starts with 3 main questions:

  • where are you going?
  • how long are you going for?
  • who are you going with (or will this be a solo trip?)?

For me, the issue has always been ‘who am I going with?’.  Having returned from living abroad 6 years ago and re-immersing myself into camping/canoeing/hiking etc., I lacked ‘outdoor friends’.  I could usually convince my friends and family to car camp but the backcountry was asking too much.

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By Leanne Hennessy

“I arose early in the morning while the sun was still pink in the sky, rubbing the sleep from my eyes and stumbling from the tent. Stepping out onto the pink granite rock shelf hugging the shoreline of Georgian Bay around Hincks’s Island, the cool breeze caressed my face. I closed my eyes and smiled. I took a long, deep breath in. The day was still fresh and new, but it was going to be a hot one, I could tell, as the sun began to rise high into the sky and heat the land. The water was gently crashing into the rocks, with a rhythmic lull that mesmerized me, and I watched as the birds flew effortlessly, gracefully, dipping here and there over the water against a backdrop of an endless, blue sky. I observed the rocky cliffs across the way, standing steadfast and resolute as they have for millennia, unchanging, and wondered about the generations of people who had paddled this route before me, holding their hopes and dreams in their hearts and in their paddles. Suddenly, I knew that I had been part of this story. I WAS this story. I AM this story.

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Algonquin Park has a history of logging, famous artists, vacation resorts, fishing and, of course,
canoeing. There is the history everyone knows, and then there is the history that not everyone knows.
One example is the Brent Run. I don’t remember the first time I heard about the Run, maybe
someone just mentioned it in passing, but when it came time for my yearly Father’s Day canoe trip, I
did some research into it.
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A long day of paddling can take its toll on your energy level, so you need to keep it up by eating. Granola bars, trail mix, and jerky are some of the quick and easy fuels you can use to keep yourself going through the day.

I love to have a bag of jerky handy when I am paddling because I prefer not to stop for long periods of time opening up a pack to get out gear to make lunch. For me, jerky is a quick and easy grab food that I can eat while paddling or portaging. A couple pieces of jerky and a few swigs of water work for me.

Since I bought a dehydrator many years ago, I prefer to make my own beef jerky as opposed to getting the store bought stuff, and I have a few favourite recipes that I use.

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Everyone has certain foods they enjoy on a canoe trip or just out for the day paddling. Two items I bring that everyone seems to enjoy are bannock and jerky. These are two things that can be very simple or you can get all fancy with the ingredients. When I bring out the big bag of beef jerky, it disappears very quickly. When I make bannock to go with dinner, there tend to be a lot of mmmmmmm’s.

In Episode 130 of our podcast, we talked about my recipes for bannock and jerky. For your viewing and tasting pleasure, here are those recipes. If you try them out, let us know what you think.

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Having travelled across Canada more than a couple times and having lived in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario, Central Ontario and Southern Ontario, I love being able to show people some of the places I have been and some of the sights I have seen. It is great seeing the looks on their faces and hearing the “oohhs and aahhhs” when they see something new. It is even better when your teenage kids look at something you show them and utter the words “Wow! That is cool!”

I love to drive. I love to get behind the wheel of the truck, hit the open highway with the map in hand and just drive. Apparently I get that from my grandfather. Hitting the road at 3 or 4 in the morning so we are well on our way and out of the city by the time the sun comes up, apparently a Rowley family trait.

One day when the kids were young, I told my wife that if her parents could watch the dog for the weekend, we would pack up the kids and hit the road for a spontaneous road trip. Getting home later that evening, I opened the door and found suitcases ready for a 3-day excursion. After a few hours sleep, the truck was loaded with gear and kids and we were heading north.

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