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28/52 – Adventure

July 14, 2013

28/52 - Adventure
My in-laws gave us some money at Christmas and very expressly indicated that this cash injection was to be invested in our wants.  Their gift wasn’t to be applied to debt or to be used to pay down our mortgage.  The only instructions we were given was that we were to do something frivolous with it.

We weren’t entirely wonton.  We saved a portion of it.  And with the other half, we bought a canoe.

I’m not sure that most people would consider a canoe frivolous. It’s definitely not a need, but when you think of the word “frivolous” a canoe is certainly not the first thing that would comes to mind.

Otto and I have been together for 10 years now.  We fancy ourselves, very loosely of course, as outdoor people. We like to swap stories of wilderness adventures that we had before our lives became entwined. But all we’ve managed to eek out since is car camping trips.

Admittedly, we have kids.  Car camping + kids = the best kind of camping I can sanely manage.

The big kids have done interior canoe trips with their summer camps. They claim that they’re accomplished in the canoe.  We headed out with them on a lake a few years back, on an admittedly windy day, and their paddling skills weren’t really on par with they thought their paddling skills were. I knew it would be a few years before I could take either of them in a canoe and maintain my sanity.

And with the arrival of the Doodle, well any family back country camping was put on the back burner for a few years.

But last summer, as we took our annual labour day car camping trip to Charleston Lake, we realized that we have a baby who loves sleeping in tents. We also have a toddler who prefers to be outdoors as much as possible.  Actually, now that she can open the front door, she just tells us that she wants to go outside and regardless of whether we say yes or no, out the door she goes!

We’ve always wanted a canoe, we’ve always wanted to get to interior camping trips in the wilderness, and we thought that purchasing a canoe at this point in time in our life was pretty frivolous.

Our canoe is red. It’s an ultra light kevlar prospector canoe. It only weighs 48 pounds or so. It’s lovely. And it’s a tripping canoe.

With Bubaloo at summer camp, and Bella working, we ventured off as a family of three into the backwoods of Algonquin Park for a long-weekend canoe trip.

As far as canoe trips go, this one was pretty simple.  We intentionally booked a trip without a portage.  Actually, we just took a short hour-long paddle to our campsite.  We wanted to be able to leave as quickly as possible should it turn out that the Doodle couldn’t manage the back woods.

As it turns out, the Doodle loves canoe tripping!

Paddling the canoe, fishing, sleeping in a tent, making a fire and roasting lots of marshmallows. She loved swimming naked in the lake, sitting perched in the stern of the canoe while I paddled behind her (and Otto sterned the boat), and swinging in the hammock with me. She loves her life jacket and the little stash of smarties we packed her that she would hoard them in her sweater pocket.

The Doodle loved walking around our island campsite in the carrier and taking trips to explore the thunder box (which she never used). She was a trooper when it came to dealing with the mosquitoes and horse flies, and even the very loud bull frog which took up residence at the edge of the lake right in front of our tent. We saw a dead moose in the water and she still talks about it till this day.

We all took long, glorious, mid-day naps, and curled up together in the tent as the sun went to sleep and the stars came out to play.

There were only two campsites on the island, and these were the only two sites at this end of the lake, so we saw very few people. It was as close to being in the wilderness alone that you can get with a toddler.

I’m so glad we stretched ourselves and got back to our roots.  And I’m so glad that we have a child made for outdoor adventure.

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