The Missing Canoe

Temagami

We are off to our favourite camping spot! A piece of paradise on a beautiful lake that rarely sees another soul except for the odd wildlife that wanders through during the early morning hours. A special retreat that is worth the challenge endured getting there. With cart trails converted from old logging roads, portages from hell and bugs swarming through the swampy creeks and marshes it is worth every drop of sweat to get to. As with any remote location, extra care is needed to stay safe. This brings us to recount an incident that happened last year (2020) shortly after the first wave of the pandemic had dissipated.

Even the most experienced paddlers have had an embarrassing moment, but few will admit to it. Whether we tell the tale or not, we all learn from it. That moment is “the missing canoe”.

For us, it happened in another great location in Temagami on a day with little to no wind. After a full day of paddling, we were ready to establish camp on an island with a beautiful view of the lake ahead of us. Pulling our loaded canoe up onto the smooth rock we proceeded to unload our packs and haul the gear towards the centre of the island. The moment the canoe was empty and our backs were turned, a stiff wind made its way down the lake and gently pushed the canoe back into the water, only to blow it further away. A short but frantic chase ensued as the canoe seemed to fly down the lake as it skimmed along the surface. As hard as we tried we could not swim fast enough to catch it, and watched it vanish from our sight. Once we swam back to the island we resigned to the fact that we were safe, had all our gear and enough food to wait for days if required. 

With no cell reception to request assistance, the hours passed slowly. Finally, a canoe appeared at the opposite end of the lake, and we were able to get the attention of the paddlers by flashing our compass mirror. We were embarrassed but extremely grateful, as they transported us down the lake to find the lost canoe several kilometres away. We are now even more diligent in tying off the canoe as we step out, and securing it moments later by a rope to a tree no matter where we are. It is much more fun paddling a canoe rather than chasing after it!

Some hints to avoid losing your canoe!

1) Secure your canoe or kayak to a tree or rock, even if it is out of the water.
2) If in a current or strong wind, face the bow of your boat upstream or against the wind to safely exit the canoe.
3) Cell service is not usually available when in the backcountry! In the event of a potential emergency (and for peace of mind) consider taking an alternate communication device like a SPOT Tracker, inReach or Satellite phone.
4) Be knowledgeable of your surroundings at all times. 
5) Always have an emergency contact who has your route information and dates that you will be away.
6) Mishaps can happen anytime, but more so when overtired, overconfident or when exposed to weather/natural events.
7) In addition, read Transport Canada information on Mandatory Safety Equipment.


In The News

We were delighted to be interviewed by Global TV and CTV this past week interested in our recently published book: ‘Canoe for Change: A Journey Across Canada‘!  

To watch the interview with Maegan Kulchar of Global News CKWS Morning Show in Kingston click: Kingston couple documents their journey canoeing across Canada through a new book.  

OR with Annette Goerner of CTV Morning Live in Ottawa click here.

You can purchase a copy of our recently published book by visiting our website Canoe for Change: A Journey Across Canada.


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Books, Camping and Paddles!

Books!

The long wait is over! After sixteen months of work and the amazing support of many, our anticipated book order arrived at the door! If you want a sneak preview, check out the first twenty pages at Goodreads! To purchase your own copy, visit our website Canoe for Change: A Journey Across Canada.


Camping!

A rare sandy beach along the shores of Georgian Bay.
The Old Voyageur Channel. Narrow passages through corridors of rock faces resembling miniature canyons.   
Wind-bound at Big Rock Bay, Philip Edward Island!

The first significant paddle of 2021 under our belt, short as it may seem, was extremely rewarding. Ten wonderful days along the beautiful Georgian Bay coastline, Ontario’s inland sea.

Circumventing Philip Edward Island, paddling down and into the Old Voyageur Channel of the French River and back. Exploring every cove and bay we could find. One could get lost for hours absorbed in the sights of weathered islands and old-growth Pines. Pines that are firmly establishing their existence rooted into the smooth rock surface. We even located an old wooden boat hull submerged in a bay most likely the result of a violent encounter with a storm from decades ago.

The area is an exciting maze of islands called The Foxes, Hawk Islands and The Chickens among others. The land here is extremely sensitive, unregulated and not maintained in any way. It is important to accept the responsibility to protect and respect these islands. As in the past, we follow no-trace camping leaving sites cleaner than we find them, allowing others to continue to enjoy the beauty of the area.

We are glad to have returned and explored this area in greater detail with our canoe. The last time we were here was during our cross-Canada paddle and we never stopped to admire the majestic scenery, except for the occasional glance over our shoulder.

Camp kitchen set up on the shores of Cedar Lake, Manitoba.

When we paddled across Canada, people would frequently ask questions about what food we would take, how to prepare it etc. Following is what we learned, which works well for us:

  1. Fresh food is dehydrated and vacuum-sealed for freshness. It is possible to dehydrate anything from carrots to pasta sauce to bananas! Dehydrated food is lightweight to carry, does not spoil and stores well in bear barrels. No need to hang food in trees!
  2. A sarong that serves as a table cloth keeps the camp kitchen organized with less chance of losing something vital.
  3. A small stove is used to cook food ninety per cent of the time. In remote locations with less chance of restocking fuel, food was cooked over a fire. The goal is always to always leave no trace!
  4. To save precious fuel, food is cooked in a pot until it reaches boiling point and then the heat source is removed. The pot is placed in a Hot Pot Cookware Insulator (much like a tea cosy) leaving the food to cook/steam itself to perfection! (Note: brown rice or quinoa must be cooked a bit longer.)
  5. Four servings are always cooked at the end of the day. Two are eaten at supper and two are saved for lunch the next day. Cold food is delicious as well!

Check out some recipes here!


Paddles!

Upon our exit from Georgian Bay at the Municipality of Killarney, we had the absolute pleasure of meeting Mike Ranta! Mike is a solo paddler and has accomplished three canoe expeditions across Canada! Of course, he could not have done any of his trips without his faithful companion, a pure-bred Finnish Spitz called Spitzii. Mike was honoured with the Governor General’s Award Meritorious Service Medal in 2020 for melding his passions with advocacy work for youth, veterans, and first responders.

When Mike is not paddling, his latest project is building the world’s largest paddle! The Big Dipper at the water’s edge in Killarney is indeed an amazing sight to behold! The paddle is 107 feet long, 17 feet high at the blade and has a built-in compartment for a time capsule.

Mike assisted us with route logistics for our own paddle across Canada and we can’t thank him enough for being a positive influence and an inspiration to both of us! What an amazing guy!


Gorgeous Georgian Bay!

Crown Land and Provincial Parks in Ontario are now open for backcountry camping! And outdoor enthusiasts couldn’t be more ready! A change of plans and a last-minute decision to paddle for a couple of weeks around Georgian Bay near Killarney in hopes to still our restless souls for the great outdoors. Greeted by pink granite rocks, watching the sunsets over Georgian Bay and paddling through the incredible collection of islands, quiet inlets, rocky and wide-open spaces, this is truly a beautiful corner of Canada. During the final leg of our cross-Canada canoe trip, we vowed to come back to explore further! We couldn’t be happier!


While we paddle, we wait in excited anticipation for our book order which is scheduled to arrive by the end of the month! ‘Canoe for Change: A Journey Across Canada’ is now on FriesenPress Best Seller list! To purchase your copy please visit our website here!

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Rolling on the River! Check out the article published in Our Canada Magazine’sJune/July 2021 issue: Paddling with Purpose!


Book Launch!

Exciting News!

We have published a book called ‘Canoe for Change: A Journey Across Canada’! After our exciting adventure of paddling from coast to coast, we felt inspired to share our remarkable journey! To reveal the incredible experience of being connected with nature and discovering the culturally rich diversity of this great nation and its peoples. Come and paddle with us – experience the journey!

Canoe for Change: A Journey Across Canada is available in hardcover, softcover and eBook by major online retailers throughout North America. To find out how to purchase your copy please visit our website here!


Buy Book


News from Canoe for Change!

They say it takes many months of work and dedication to write a book… and they are right! With extra time spent at home during the long pandemic lockdown, we took on the project of writing a book called ‘Canoe for Change‘. Writing about the amazing experiences of our coast to coast canoe trip enabled us to relive the adventure through pages and pages of journal entries and hundreds of photos. Like paddling across Canada, becoming ‘co-authors’ was an adventure of learning and self-discovery!

Stay tuned for when ‘Canoe for Change‘ is published in the not-to-distant future!


10 Adventures

We were delighted to speak with Richard of 10 Adventures in Calgary about what it is like to paddle in a canoe over 8,515 kilometres on Canada’s magnificent waterways as a husband and wife team! We invite you to watch the YouTube conversation and video clips!

If you want to dream and learn more about incredible adventures on every continent on earth, listen to Richard’s great collection of Podcasts/Videos where he speaks with people passionate about the outdoors! Also, check out some of the amazing trips the team at 10 Adventures has to offer including self-guided hiking and walking treks. Thank you Richard!


We continue to champion our favourite organization, Loving Spoonful, and the amazing work they do to connect people with good food. Their vision for a healthy, sustainable, food-secure community is more important than ever.

When asked to submit a story by ‘Our Canada’ Magazine, we jumped at the chance to write about why we raised awareness and funds for Loving Spoonful. ‘Rolling on a River: Paddling with Purpose’ is included in the magazine that is filled with stories of regular Canadians like us. Canadians from coast to coast who bring our country to life through vivid images and photographs! Our Canada Magazine, a subsidiary of Reader’s Digest, is available at your newsstands now!

superheroes_victory_garden.jpg
Victory Gardens were created during wartime to encourage people to grow their own vegetables, herbs and fruit at home or in neighbouring parks. The food was used to feed themselves and also to boost morale! Loving Spoonful has recently developed an exciting and similar campaign called ‘Garden for Good‘. If you are new to gardening, why not start small with a patio or window box container to grow some of your own produce! Check out the information and tips on Loving Spoonful’s website and find out more about a sustainable food culture!

If you are able, Loving Spoonful would appreciate your support!

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The Untamed Beauty of Wabakimi Provincial Park

Even though Carol and Glenn have spent the last 3 years paddling their way 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 floatplane, train or canoe. On day 1 of their adventure, Carol and Glenn took an exciting floatplane ride from Wabakimi Canoe Outfitters & Ecolodge and were dropped off in the middle of a lake! Full of excitement they began their journey! Continue reading “The Untamed Beauty of Wabakimi Provincial Park”

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! Continue reading “Thank you!”

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.