Posts Tagged ‘canoe trip’

A Fire Reignited

I’m not sure what happened after I returned from the Yukon.  It was the experience of a lifetime (and I promise that I will get around to telling you all about it), but when I got back home my drive to explore was gone.  Maybe it was because I’d squeezed a couple of years worth of tripping into 30 crazy days.  Maybe it was because I’d travelled to my dream destination…what else was left?  Whatever the reason, I surrounded myself with all of my favourite comforts and hunkered down for the winter, only emerging to hunt for food and yarn.  I built myself a nest insulated with cowls and mittens and casseroles.  Last weekend, I peeked my head out and for the first time in months, I saw the light.NOLS Yukon

The fates aligned when I was asked to attend the Wilderness Canoe Symposium here in Toronto for Rapid Media and do a little write-up for their website.  I loaded a daypack with my thermos,  iPad and camera and off I went, not knowing exactly what to expect.  I arrived to what can only be described as a party atmosphere.  Attendees traded stories in the lobby like old friends, and they probably were.  It can sometimes feel like we trippers are a dying breed and when we find others of our species, we hold on tight.

wilderness canoe symposium

I took my seat and the presentations began.  As speaker after speaker recounted their unforgettable trips and spoke passionately about their causes, I admit that I became emotional.  Clearly my experience in the Yukon had affected me more than I had realized.  All I wanted to do was flee my chair, grab my gear and my family and run away into the forest.  I felt the desire to be on trip more strongly than I ever had before.  I texted as much to Fraser and I’m sure that I could hear his sigh of relief all the way across the city.  He’d been patiently waiting for me to find that spark.  I hadn’t just found a spark though, I’d found a fire.

Backcountry Quesadillas – A New Recipe

So you’re looking for another recipe that you can eat on a backcountry trip?  Here is one that we tried out on our Algonquin canoe trip this summer and it was a big hit!




dehydrated black beans

dehydrated chicken or turkey (optional)

cheddar cheese

oil or powdered shortening


avocado or dehydrated guacamole


Rehydrate the dehydrated ingredients.  Assemble by layering black beans, cheese and meat between two tortillas. Heat up pan over fire or stove. Put oil or shortening in pan and fry both sides of your quesadilla until crunchy and cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and guacamole.


OLD LIGHT cheddar keeps for a super long time and doesn’t ooze oiliness the way regular full fat cheddar does.

Buy a commercial soft taco KIT. The tortillas have unnaturally long expiry dates and are still soft after months of storage and the kit includes a packet of salsa so you don’t have to worry about glass jars or refrigeration.

A half-ripened avocado will ripen in your barrel and can be eaten days into your trip or buy a commercially prepared dehydrated guacamole instead. That will mean you can eat this meal on any day of your trip.

Short on time we had to settle for black bean humus instead of just plain black beans, and it tasted great!

Kids LOVE this meal 🙂

Last Minute Late Nights

It happens every trip.  We think that we’re prepared but we find ourselves up into the wee hours putting together the last-minute details.  Yes we’re still adding to our packs and we are supposed to hit the road in seven hours.  Just par for the course.  Sleepy starts…

As long as I’m up, I thought I’d share what our packs weighed in at for our Algonquin Park 20 day canoe trip launch:

Food barrel #1 – 59lbs

Food barrel #2 – 32lbs

Dry bag #1 – 35lbs

Dry bag #2 (Zach’s pack) – 21lbs

Luke’s pack – 31lbs

Day pack – 15lbs

Canoe #1 – 51lbs

Canoe #2 – 61lbs

We will be carrying (at least to start) 305lbs of gear, food and boats…plus pfd’s, 5 paddles and the fresh food that hasn’t found its way from the fridge into a barrel yet.  No small feat.  It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be wonderful.  If you’d like to follow our progress, check out our SPOT page to watch our progress real-time and follow my tweets on our Facebook page too.  See you in a few weeks!


A Family Divided – The Epic Trip

It’s finally time.  For six years now we have been loading our canoe with ever heavier cargo, namely two adults, two kids and enough

all together in one boat

food and gear to support us all.   Every year the gunwales sneak closer to the water and push the load limit capacity to its breaking point.  With a ten-year old that stands nearly as tall as his mom and a seven-year old not far behind, this is the year that we have to start a new chapter in the family trip log.  This is the year that we divide and conquer.  We will be taking not one, but two canoes into the backcountry.

portage conditions are not always ideal

This presents a whole host of challenges.  I have never, NEVER portaged a canoe!  I know.  How is this possible.  I have lost track of how many times I’ve been on a canoe trip, but I have always managed to skirt this duty.  Normally, I jump at the chance to prove just how tough I am, but portaging a canoe is one of those things that has intimidated me from the get go.  I’ve carried packs just as heavy, but something about trying to balance that thing up on my shoulders while navigating tricky terrain, arms held above my head and at the mercy of the mosquitos, has never appealed to me.  I could probably convince Fraser to run back and retrieve the second boat.  He’s good that way.  He’s always had to double back for an extra pack.  That wouldn’t be fair though and the guilt would get me in the end anyway.  I’ll be a trooper and start hauling my share.

waiting for Fraser to double back on a portage

This is going to be a “training” year.  In my last post, I talked about doing an epic trip.  Well purely coincidently, Fraser told me about

hauling my share

a trip that he would love to do.  He was thinking maybe two years from now, but my enthusiasm has pushed the date up to next summer.  I don’t want to give anything away, but the trip is going to take 11 days (it could be done in 9, but I like a couple of play days built-in), it involves 31 portages totalling almost 18km and means that we’re going to have to eat some freeze-dried food…blech 😛  Most importantly though, it means that I’m going to have to be well-practiced at portaging the second canoe!  Any guesses where we’re going? what we’re doing?

%d bloggers like this: