The Untamed Beauty of Wabakimi Provincial Park

Even though Carol and Glenn have spent the last 3 years paddling their away across the rugged terrain of Canada, for months at a time, their canoe adventure in Wabakimi Provincial Park was no easy feat!

Wabakimi Provincial park is a rural and untamed section of wilderness starting about 4 hours north of Thunder Bay.  The park itself is over 5 million acres, which is twice the size of PEI. And the only way to access Wabakimi Provincial Park is by float plane, train or canoe. On day 1 of their adventure, Carol and Glenn took an exciting float plane ride from Wabakimi Canoe Outfitters & Ecolodge and were dropped off in the middle of a lake! Full of excitement they began their journey!

Carol and Glenn spent 16 days paddling a remote route, without seeing a single soul. Plus, they completed 67 portages during this short period of time! And for some of the portages, it was nearly impossible to find the path. Check out the picture below of Glenn trying to figure out the portage route. Somehow, Carol and Glenn always figure out how to find their way no matter where they are!

Since, Wabakimi Provincial Park is so expansive and challenging to access, the portages are not maintained frequently. The portages are also not marked. Luckily, with Carol and Glenn’s wilderness skills and training from their adventure across Canada they figured it out! Here are a few other pictures of the portages and the many challenges they faced.

Glenn carrying their canoe through an open rugged forested area.

In the above picture, Glenn is carrying their canoe across the passenger bush train to access Wabakimi Provincial Park. However, due to COVID it was not running, but Freight Trains were still active. Glenn made sure to look both ways before crossing.

Carol and Glenn trying to figure out this one!

After a few portages, Carol and Glenn started to discover old (axe cut) blazes on trees. Blazing is an Indigenous method of marking a trail and/or portage which was a welcomed sign for them.  The above picture, shows all of their items for 16 days (not including the canoe) that also needed to be carried through the multiple portages! This time, Carol and Glenn did not have the luxury of using their canoe cart as it only works on smooth surfaces like roads or flat paths. However, each and every portage was worth it as they got to see beautiful views and natural landscapes such as these:

In Wabakimi Provincial Park, campsites are not marked and are used very infrequently.  Carol and Glenn had to be very careful about where they placed their tent because storms, heavy rain and high wind come fast! They always made sure they were not under dead trees that looked like they were about to topple over!

Of course, they always found a great place to camp, some camp spots being more interesting than others! One day, they placed their tent on Caribou Moss. Caribou Moss grows in arctic and northern regions around the world. It grows on the ground and on rocks. It looks like a foamy, gray-green spongy mass, and grows to be 2 to 10 centimeters high. Another reason why it is called Caribou Moss is because Caribous love to eat it!

And sometimes there was just enough room for their tent! As you can see in the picture below there are a lot of fallen branches and trees surrounding this camp spot from previous destructive storms.

There were many islands to camp on as well! Whenever Carol and Glenn have the chance to camp on an island they do! One day, they had located an island they wanted to camp on. As they were getting closer, they saw one very large black bear swimming. They stopped to watch to see (from a safe distance) what this bear was up to. It was swimming from island to island most likely looking for berries to eat!  And one of the islands is where they had planned on camping. Carol and Glenn decided to go to the mainland to camp instead for that particular evening! Below is a picture of Carol preparing breakfast with fresh berries! You do not need to be a bear to enjoy these berries!

Carol and Glenn have returned safely and happily to their home in Kingston with many wonderful memories of Wabakimi Provincial Park! I am sure they are already planning the next trip!

Adventures in Wabakimi Provincial Park

Even though Carol and Glenn just completed their Canoe across Canada journey this past fall, they are definitely not throwing in their paddles yet! They are always intrigued, inspired and enthused by new areas in their home province of Ontario, that they have not discovered yet! This adventurous couple is always looking for their next voyage!

Wabakami Provincial Park is an expansive beautiful area of land about 4 hours north of Thunder Bay!  The wonderful outfitters of Wabakimi Provincial Park helped Carol and Glenn set up this amazing journey. Check out their website below by clicking here Wabakimi Outfitters.

Carol and Glenn spent two days driving to Wabakimi Provincial Park. The first night they spent in Kapuskasing and the second night in Thunder Bay.  Finally, yesterday they arrived at the outfitters in Wabakimi Provincial Park to start their journey. The lodge and views were already gorgeous! And their minds full of wonder, curiosity and nervous excitement about what the next few weeks will bring. They spent a relaxing evening and night at the outfitters to ensure they were ready for day 1.

   

 

However, they did not start paddling right there! They had to take a seaplane to get to their starting point. Check out a few pictures before the ride. The canoe was strapped to the side of the seaplane.

With slightly nervous but very excited smiles, Carol and Glenn boarded the seaplane to start their adventure early this morning!

As they flew over where they would be canoeing, Carol and Glenn saw some wonderful views from above.

Today Carol and Glenn started Day 1 of their paddling adventure in Wabakimi Provincial Park! Just like in their canoe across Canada adventure they dehydrated all their own food, packed similar gear and look forward to what each and every day will bring. There are some grueling portages to come but they will take them on with positive attitudes and determination!

Hopefully, I can make another post shortly; Otherwise, it will be at the end upon their return to the outfitters! Stay posted!

Enjoy the Paddle!

Thank you!

As we look back on our cross-Canada canoe odyssey, one of the most rewarding memories we have is our interaction with our fellow Canadians.  From the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean we experienced boundless generosity and kindness.  As it is impossible for us to show our eternal gratitude to each and every one of you, we hope that this ‘thank you’ will find its way to you!

Thank you for allowing us to camp on your front yard, private land, beach, wharf, pow-wow ceremonial grounds, sacred pilgrimage sites, in your trailer, cabin or gazebo. Thank you for giving us a warm meal and a bed to sleep in; for allowing us to do our laundry or take a much needed shower. Thank you for allowing us to relax in your sauna!  Thank you for taking us into your homes, trusting us, giving us shelter, giving us encouragement and sharing our common bond of being Canadian. Thank you for chasing us down to give us food, fresh fish, home baked bread, fruit or vegetables whether you were in your boat or in your car. Thank you for sending, receiving and holding our pre-packaged dehydrated food supplies. Thank you for waving at us when we were walking down the highway with our canoe, honking your encouragement, giving us directions and providing weather reports.  Thank you for stopping to chat with us, cheering us on and giving us hope. Thank you for helping to carry our gear over a portage, to the shoreline or to a campsite.  Thank you for being interested in our trip, offering us your assistance, loaning your weather radio, and being concerned for our safety and our well-being.  Thank you for fixing, mending or repairing our equipment.  Thank you for asking about our cause for food security, sharing your ideas for a food-secure Canada, and your generosity in donating over $29,000!  Thank you for taking us sight-seeing, telling us about your community history and for sharing your own amazing stories.  Thank you for giving us an early morning coffee, hot water, drinking water, wine or a cold beer!  Thank you for looking after our home, vehicles, and plants while we were away.  Thank you for giving us cards, sending emails, following us on Facebook, Instagram or our website blog – your words of encouragement kept us going! Thank you for waiving parking, mooring, or campground fees.   Thank you for driving us or lending us your vehicle to get supplies!  Thank you for assisting us in times of emergency and getting us back on track. Thank you for slowing down in your motor boat or vehicle when passing us; to the coast guard for steering us out of the shipping lanes and to government personnel for getting us over, though, and around borders, dams and canal lock systems.

We did not have a support vehicle following us as we paddled and portaged across Canada.  However we had an amazing home support team!  Without them our job would have certainly been more of a challenge than it already was.  Thank you to our one and only sponsor, DFC International Computing for creating and maintaining our website.  The website was an invaluable resource that gave insight of our journey and most importantly our cause!  Thank you to our Uncle John Mowle for providing us with statistics, point-of-interest information, detailed maps and data on upcoming hazards.  The reassurance of being prepared for the route ahead kept us safe and gave us peace of mind. Thank you to our daughter Rachel Vandertol, our home office volunteer who assisted with website editing, weekly website blogging, and troubleshooting.  Sorting through hundreds of texts and pictures took patience and dedication which Rachel excels at!  Thank you to our brother Paul VandenEngel for his diligence in tracking us and being on call, day or night, to rescue us if needed.  Many hours were spent by Paul, and his wife Denise, to pick us up after the completion of each leg of our three year journey.

Each of these incredible people spent hours upon hours of time and dedication assisting us in their own special way. For this we will be forever grateful!

A very special thank you to Loving Spoonful for believing that we could actually paddle across Canada!  Thank you for encouraging us, believing in us and allowing us to represent our combined passion for food-secure communities. Being able to access affordable, healthy fresh food is a right that each and every Canadian should have. That right is why Loving Spoonful works so diligently to connect people with good food across Kingston!  Kingston is so very proud of you and so are we…….

Glenn Green and Carol VandenEngel

 

Canoe Adventure Story Events – Everyone Welcome!

 

Kingston Frontenac Public Library – Isabel Turner Branch – Tuesday, November 5, 2019    7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Kingston Frontenac Public Library – Calvin Park Branch – Saturday, November 9, 2019      2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In September retirees Glenn Green and Carol VandenEngel achieved their goal of canoeing across Canada and raising thousands of dollars for Kingston’s Loving Spoonful. Come hear what it’s been like!

Come hear Carol and Glenn talk about their experiences – including heavy weather, isolation, capsizing, bears and wolves – and how they provisioned themselves with fresh local food dehydrated at home then shipped ahead along their route.  Their presentation also highlights the amazing scenery as well as the warmth and generosity of the people they’ve encountered along the way.

Both sessions of this program require free registration:  Register Here

Check out the ‘Kingstonist’ article:    Canoe for Change paddlers share their experiences at KFPL

 

Spearhead Brewing Company  – Thursday, October 17, 2019   7 pm to 10 pm

Join Loving Spoonful for a welcome home party, along with Carol and Glenn for a pint and a snack while you enjoy listening to stories and see photo’s of their epic Canadian coast to coast canoe trip! From portaging 400 km over the rocky mountains to conquering cresting waves on Lake Superior! Spearhead will be donating a portion of beer and food sales for the evening in honour of CanoeforChange.ca campaign.

Home But Not Finished!

Carol and Glenn made it to their hometown of Kingston, ON this past Thursday! They were joined by Carol’s mom Truus and her brother Paul!

In the picture below, you can see them in the canoe! This canoe was also Carol’s childhood canoe! Her love for the outdoors started at a very young age!

Upon their arrival, they were also joined by members of the Cataraqui Canoe Club and Trailhead Kingston employees!  Who have supported Carol and Glenn through out their awesome journey! As seen in the picture below!

When Carol and Glenn landed at the Cataraqui Canoe Club, Loving Spoonful was there to welcome and cheer them on along with other members of the community!  As they finally finished their across Canada canoe adventure!

Media Attention!

Kingston’s local TV station, CKWS was there to greet and interview them! Watch the news report that went nation wide on  Global News TV 

Also, you can read an article published by the Kingston Whig-Standard for the home-comers! Kingston Couple Completes Cross-Canada Canoe Trip

Listen to the interview by CBC Ontario Morning Show with Wei Chen

Enjoy the antics of the dynamic team of Monica and Al radio interview with Carol and Glenn as Canoe for Change Returns to Fresh Radio

Watch Limestone Lens, Kingston’s very own weekly news magazine program interview Carol and Glenn at Canoe for Change, An Epic 3 Year Paddle Across Canada!

Even though Carol and Glenn are finished paddling, their passionate and dedicated journey of supporting and teaching others about healthy food security for all Canadians still continues!

They have a goal of $25,000 and they are almost there! You can still donate to Carol and Glenn’s cause and help them raise funds for Kingston’s LOVING SPOONFUL by clicking on this link! DONATE

Loving Spoonful is set to have a welcome home party at Kingston’s Spearhead Brewing Company on Thursday October 17th at 7 p.m.

Carol and Glenn will be sharing stories of their adventures and encourage anyone to come! To join them for tapas, craft beer and most of all a good time!

Arriving in Kingston on Thursday!

Carol and Glenn are happy to announce that on Thursday, September 19th at 2:00 pm they will be arriving at the Kingston Canoe Club!  Loving Spoonful is organizing a welcome home greeting upon their arrival and anyone is welcome to join!

They are so excited to be reaching their home town and to be completing their goal of raising awareness for the importance of equal access to healthy food security for all Canadians!

Loving Spoonful is an organization very close to Carol and Glenn’s hearts.  They strongly believe and share the same beliefs as Loving Spoonful does! Carol and Glenn understand and are passionate about the importance of eating healthy fresh foods; to be the best person both mentally and physically that you can be!

If you would like to donate to Carol and Glenn’s cause by contributing to their $25,000 goal for Loving Spoonful you still can!

Click on this link and support Loving Spoonful! DONATE

Last Wednesday, Carol and Glenn left Glenn’s Uncle John’s house on the Ottawa River with Petrie Island as the days goal!

3 years ago they started their journey at Petrie Island without knowing what this amazing adventure would have in store for them! At 5:30 pm they reached Petrie Island! Which completed their across Canada journey!

But are they stopping there? NO! They are still paddling all the way to Kingston, ON! Below are a few pictures of their time at Glenn’s Uncle John’s house!

 

Wednesday was a combination of portaging and paddling the Ottawa River. The portaging took place along the Trans Canada Trail all the way to downtown Ottawa and through Parliament! They jumped back into the Ottawa River at downtown Ottawa to have the wind at their backs briefly! For the last 2 hours they battled the winds all the way to Petrie Island!

When they arrived at Petrie Island, Glenn’s daughter Mallory and her husband Patrick, along with their two kids Esther and Rupert, were there to greet them!  Carol and Glenn spent the night at Carol’s daughter Rachel’s house! They were able to reorganize, regroup and refresh for the last week of paddling on the Rideau River.

Thursday morning marked the final leg of their journey home!  Carol and Glenn were joined by their friend Rob. Rob is a Meteorologist and has given them extremely helpful and invaluable advice over the last three years! He spent a few hours paddling with Carol and Glenn in his kayak. They went through 2 locks together and had a blast!

The picture above is of Rob helping Carol and Glenn load up their Canoe at the head of the Rideau River to start their paddling adventure together last Thursday!

After having a great day with Rob, Carol and Glenn continued on until they reached Black Rapids.  They were super lucky to have hydro and a real washroom to use!  Below is a picture of their campsite.

Carol and Glenn have been enjoying their journey down the Rideau River! Yesterday, they had to portage quite a bit because of the strong winds! In the picture below you can see how windy it is by looking at the corn stalks!

Yesterday, Carol and Glenn portaged their way through North Gower. Enjoying the peacefulness of the country side!

 

Carol and Glenn made it to Clowes Lockstation yesterday! Which is just 3 km before Merrickville!  They enjoyed sitting at Upper Nicholson Lock and had some great antique views along the way!

 

If you would like to join Carol and Glenn as they get closer to Kingston check out their website to see where they are located!  They love to have company along the way! Click on the link to see where they are! FOLLOW US

Keep on Paddling!

Thursday is so close!

The Ottawa River

A week ago today, Carol and Glenn reached the Ottawa River!  They are getting so much closer to their home of Kingston, ON.  And reaching their goal of $25,000 for Kingston’s Loving Spoonful!

If you would like to contribute to Carol and Glenn’s cause, click on the link! Every bit helps and every bit is greatly appreciated!  DONATE

Even though they are getting closer; it is not getting any easier! There are always challenges along the way to keep each day different from the next.  Which always keeps Carol and Glenn on the edge of their seats!

Carol and Glenn happily made their way past Deep River, Petawawa and Pembroke last week, but in quite a bit of fog! As you can see in the pictures below.

 

Even though there has been a lot of fog, it definitely adds a calming mystic sense to their journey! The picture below is of cliffs just before Petawawa, on the Ottawa River where Glenn and Carol stopped for lunch.

There is one part of the Ottawa River where Glenn and Carol were going to have to portage 60 km due to massive rapids! However,  instead of doing that they decided to take the much more exciting and fun way right through by rafting! They booked a rafting tour with Esprit Rafting in Quebec.

As they rafted on Saturday, Esprit transported Carol and Glenn’s gear and canoe for them!  Even more helpful, before the big rafting event, they were able to use one of Esprit’s hostel cabins, bathroom facilities and a camp kitchen!  This was especially appreciated as it began to downpour just before they got to the camp.

The picture below is of Carol and Glenn arriving at Morrison Island which is just after Pembroke! This is where the rafting began!

Carol and Glenn had an awesome time rafting!  They also got to pass through 2 channels of the Ottawa River, saving themselves from some very grueling portaging! (Picture to come)

This evening Carol and Glenn are camping at Glenn’s Uncle John’s house. He lives on the Ottawa River! Uncle John also sends Carol and Glenn progress reports each week that tell them the distance they have gone, advice for the future and what to expect! Tomorrow, they are heading to Petrie Island where the journey all began in the Spring of 2017!

Tomorrow evening they will be spending the night at Carol’s daughter Rachel’s house (me the author of the blog) for some delicious food, wine, beer and hot showers!

Keep on Paddling! You are almost done!

Getting Closer to the End!

It has been an exciting, challenging and rewarding past 10 days for Carol and Glenn! These last days have been full of difficult portages, bear sightings and absolutely stunning scenery!

While packing up to leave one of their incredibly beautiful campsites on the French River, Carol and Glenn spotted another black bear checking them out! Again, it was from a safe distance! But seeing a bear always raises hairs on the back of their necks. Check out the picture below!

The French River has been beautiful and challenging! Check out the pictures below!  The first photo is of one of many breath taking landscapes.  And the second photo captures a little insight as to how challenging the portages have been with all the rocks!

 

Carol and Glenn have to be extra careful while portaging as they do not want a sprained or broken ankle at this point in the journey! Especially, when they are so very close to being totally done this amazing quest across Canada! All in support of raising funds for Loving Spoonful.

While on the French River, Carol and Glenn were blessed with many picturesque morning views. Check out the pictures below of the mist on the water.  And the calmness they were able to experience. What a rewarding way to start the day!

 

After leaving the French River, Carol and Glenn entered Lake Nippissing.  They were only on it for two days as it brought them to North Bay. But what a challenging day it was!

Just before they made it to North Bay, the wind picked up and caused 3 footer waves and rain! Since Lake Nippissing is shallow (40 feet at its deepest), the wind creates much larger waves. What Carol and Glenn have learned is that the size and shape of a wave depends on how big the body of water is and its depth.  Shallow lakes tend to have waves that are steeper, closer together and break more easily. And are the MOST difficult to paddle in!

Above is a picture of a wonderful bay Carol and Glenn had lunch in!  They found refuge from the intensity of Lake Nippissing to recharge before getting to North Bay!

When they finally reached North Bay,  they had a 10 km portage through the city! And of course they stopped at a laundromat and parked their canoe to catch up on some much needed laundry.  They also stopped to get fresh local fruits and veggies!

While in North Bay, Carol and Glenn felt the welcoming and generous love of their fellow Canadian neighbours once again! They were invited into a couples home for dinner that they previously met on Lake Superior!  ottO was the guide of a kayaking group!   ottO remembered that Carol and Glenn were going to be passing through North Bay and kindly invited them over for a delicious dinner.  ottO also gave Carol and Glenn his weather radio to borrow on Lake Superior as theirs had broke! This was an invaluable resource at the time! And they were extremely thankful and grateful! Check out the picture below.

Below are a few pictures of Carol and Glenn portaging through North Bay. They had a 10 km portage from Lake Nippissing to Trout Lake!

 

They only spent a short time on Trout Lake before reaching the Mattawa River!  The Mattawa River had some seriously technical portaging for Carol and Glenn to complete! The most technical portage Talon Chutes Portage.  was by far the most challenging yet in their cross-Canada canoe trip.

But they still managed to cool off and go for a welcomed swim after!

Now Carol and Glenn are on the Ottawa River! Getting so much closer to their destination and feeling more motivated than ever!

Keep on Paddling!

Manitoulin: A Very Special Place

Carol and Glenn have made excellent progress over the last 8 days! They have had calm weather, clear skies and the wind at their backs (for the most part). They are very excited to have left all of the Great Lakes behind them!  And they even managed to get in the news again! Check out the link below!

Kingston paddlers stop in Little Current as part of three-year Canadian odyssey

Right after Carol and Glenn left Sault Ste. Marie, they had 5 days of perfect paddling and beautiful campsite finds!  This wonderful weather allowed them to cover 200 km on Lake Huron.  Which put them at their half way mark for their last Great Lake! Below are 2 pictures on Lake Huron, the last one being close to Manitoulin Island.

 

Even with the excellent conditions, Carol and Glenn are still getting up early! The picture below is of them at 3:30 in the morning, eager to get a head start on a day that required 100% effort and determination. Both smiling with the love and passion of their mission!

Carol and Glenn continue to feel the amazing generosity and sincere care of people they meet a long the way!

3 weeks ago, they met a man by the name of Harald, who was kayaking in Pukaskwa National park with a group of others. They enjoyed chatting and getting to know Harald!

Without knowing, 3 weeks later, Carol and Glenn received a message from him, inviting them into his home.  Harald and his partner Laurie, even found a place for Carol and Glenn to stash their canoe! After, they drove them to their home where they could shower, be wined and dined and to spend the night.

Harald and Laurie even set up the interview with Alicia, the reporter from Little Current in the above article! As they left this wonderful place, Manitoulin Island, Laurie took a picture of them paddling under the Little Current Swing Bridge. They will always remember this special little place.

After leaving Little Current,  they paddled and sailed into the gorgeous Georgian Bay.  The wind was in their favour all day and they happily put up their sail making excellent time! Below is a picture of Carol and Glenn paddling in the Georgian Bay area.

The first morning in Georgian Bay was very exciting for Carol!  As she was getting things ready in the morning. she heard rustling in the bushes.  A young black bear appeared! They both looked at each other (from a safe distance) and Carol slowly backed away. Carol went to find some pots and pans to bang to hopefully scare off a very close mother bear!  She could not see the mother bear but knew she was close by.  Below is another picture of the striking area of Georgian Bay.

After leaving Georgian Bay behind them, they are now on the French River!  They are very happy to be on the French River as it means they are getting closer to their final destination! BUT they find themselves paddling upstream once more! It is never a dull moment for Carol and Glenn but they do take the time to sit and enjoy the beauty of Canada.

Keep on Paddling!

Lake Superior a Thing of the Past

Carol and Glenn’s last day on Lake Superior was no easy feat.  They woke up at 3 am, packed everything, had a delicious breakfast with coffee and were on the water by 4:30 am!  Nervously, they left with a 7 km paddle in the pitch black from one point to the next.  However, to keep their minds off this task, Carol and Glenn had an amazing view of the Milky Way.  They also got to witness the annual Perseid meteor shower! They saw at least 20 shooting stars between the 2 of them!  After 11 hours of paddling, on Saturday, August 10th, Carol and Glenn happily and with some relief, finished their time on Lake Superior! Below is a picture of them happily watching the sunset on Lake Superior.

On Saturday afternoon, they pulled up to Doug and Catherine’s house on Lake Superior.  Doug and Catherine are friends of friends they made while paddling on the South Saskatchewan River last year!  Without even knowing Carol and Glenn, this amazing couple had gotten in touch with them and arranged for them to spend 2 nights at their home!  Even more, they had given Carol and Glenn a list of campsites to look out for on the north shore of Lake Superior which helped them significantly! Below is a picture of Carol taking in the beautiful view of Lake Superior from Doug and Catherine’s place.

While at Doug and Catherine’s place, Carol and Glenn had the chance to go shopping for supplies and also pick up a box of supplies that Carol’s brother Paul dropped off for them!  With all of these new supplies, they had to organize them to make sure they had everything ready for the last half of their canoe across Canada adventure, EVER!

After spending a glorious 2 days with this wonderful couple, Carol and Glenn had to say their good byes and start paddling again!  Carol and Glenn continue to be amazed, grateful and appreciative of how generous Canadians can be! After leaving Doug and Catherine’s they arrived in Sault Ste. Marie in good time!

Before actually entering Sault Ste. Marie, Carol and Glenn had to go through a set of locks called the, Pleasure Boat Canal Lock (as seen in the picture above and below).  It was just them and a few ducks waiting!  There is only one set of locks and it by passes a set of rapids, not that Carol and Glenn wouldn’t be up for the challenge!   But they just got off the intense waters of Lake Superior, better to keep it dry!

As of yesterday, Carol and Glenn are on Lake Huron.  They will be paddling along the northern shore and exiting into the French River.  Along the coast there are many islands which will provide their canoe protection from the wind and waves.  After their first day on Lake Huron, they found this gem of a campsite!  It was on a rock but covered in comfy moss! What a way to start this Lake!

This morning, Carol and Glenn enjoyed a beautiful sunrise while starting their day early on Lake Huron!

Keep on Paddling!