100 Wild Islands!

Wilderness Area and Nature Reserve – 100 Wild Islands, Nova Scotia

We had planned to head to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park for a paddling adventure. This outing would have encompassed a 23-hour drive to reach the western edge of Ontario near the Manitoba border. We had to stop and pivot after receiving a telephone call warning us the area was experiencing an above-average number of forest fires, which eventually led to the closure of the park. 

Our pivot took us to Eastern Canada, in particular, Nova Scotia along the rugged eastern shore, a mere 15-hour drive for us through Quebec and New Brunswick. The 100 Wild Islands are a little known gem of Crown-owned islands, a short distance east of Halifax. A fascinating paddle route with sand beaches, protected lagoons, seal and seabird colonies, and hidden campsites. This region of the Atlantic Ocean does have exposed areas once you travel beyond the protection of the islands that can be transformed from a quiet sea into a frothy maze of whitecaps in very little time.   

We navigated tides and ocean swells, negotiated currents and reflected waves for the next several days. Also, we experienced absolute calm water, warm temperatures and sunny days, including a morning of thick dense fog limiting our vision to only a few metres. After leaving the Coastal Adventures put-in site at Mason Cove, we paddled past Inner Baltee Island toward Baltee Island. The passage between the two islands is shallow water and a soft-shelled clam bed. Just past the eastern opening, we found a crescent-shaped sandy beach, a pleasant place to stay for the night. With warm clean inviting sand, we had the whole beach to ourselves and a small flat grassy area to pitch our tent just beyond the sand. 

Tangier Harbour

Moving forward, we paddled around Inner Baltee Island before crossing over Tangier Harbour to find the Carryover Cove that once served as a portage. However, an hour each side of the high tide there is enough water that one can easily canoe or kayak through the cut. It opens to views of vertical sections of cliffs of what is thought to be the oldest rock on earth, the ‘Tangier Dykes’. Tangier Dykes are believed to be parts of the bottom of the earth’s crust that have been broken off and transported by molten lava upward through fissures. The mixture of rock fragments and lava solidified before reaching the surface and subsequent erosion and uplifting have exposed it. What waited for us was a small pocket pristine white sand beach with turquoise water harbouring a campsite. Flanked on either side by these cliffs was a view of several small windswept islands at our front doorstep. A unique spot. 

Carryover Cove

The next several days, we witnessed Harbour Seals following our canoe curious about what we were doing. Eagles perched high in the trees keeping watch over their domain, while we viewed salt marshes, unusual for offshore islands. We spotted a deer passing silently as it moved along the edges of the unique boreal rainforest. We listened and watched as the tides changed the shoreline, exposing rocks and shoals only to have them disappear many hours later by crashing waves.

Cap Island, another interesting spot, had a small sand beach where we watched crabs trying to hide among the few rocks. The other side of the island revealed huge whaleback rocks scoured by the ice age, perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee while viewing Stoney Island and Gerard Island and the sea beyond. During the night we were listening to a symphony of sounds. A calliope of bellowing seals, screaming eagles, the chatter of what we assumed were otters, due to the amount of discarded crab shells and the rusty moaning of a distant unseen navigation buoy. To add to the mix was the occasional snoring and crashing wave, all of which kept us quite amused. 

Gerard Island

To find out more about this amazing area, obtain ‘Sea Kayaking in Nova Scotia: A Guide to Paddling Routes Along the Coast’ by Scott Cunningham. Or arrange a guided tour with Scott or Gayle at Coastal Adventures

During our 2017 cross-Canada canoe trip we camped on Chapel Island and wanted to revisit the Potlotek First Nations community while we were in Nova Scotia. Since then, the community has built Potlotek Greenhouse, which encompasses a greenhouse, geothermal climate battery and a sustainable in-ground heating system. Here they are growing a huge variety of produce all year round from herbs to kale and watermelons! Besides planting, harvesting and selling their produce, they were busy at work getting ready to greet school students that were going to learn how to grow their own vegetables by planting bean seeds. It’s great to see sustainability and food security at work here by these young people! Way to go! 

Tuesday, October 19th is the date! We are honoured to be a guest on the Canoehound Adventure Show! Be sure to tune in to YouTube at 7 pm!

Dennis Rogers interviews outdoor enthusiasts live every Tuesday where viewers can learn more about the great outdoors!

If you have not already purchased our recently published book or you would like to buy a copy for your family and/or friends, follow this link to our website Canoe for Change.ca

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The Spanish Forest

Winnie Lake

Biscotasing Loop

Off to the Spanish Forest region, northwest of Sudbury, Ontario! The weather forecast at home was once again calling for hot humid weather – what better time to get outdoors and on the water!

The trip would take us ten days and cover approximately one hundred kilometres. The route was taken from Kevin Callan’s book ‘Top 60 Canoe Routes of Ontario’. The author did a slight variation of this route due to low water levels he experienced that season; lack of water made it difficult for him to navigate and travel on many of the creeks that lay ahead and caused him to deviate from the original plan. For us the water levels were way up and things looked promising. We planned to complete the entire loop including a day of leisure as time allowed.

Starting at Biscotasing General Store looping south down Biscotasing Lake with its many islands into Indian Lake and Mozhabong Lake where the waters are emerald green and clear. We crossed over to Sinaminda Lake and headed north through the narrow openings of Sinaminda Creek. The region encompases one of the worlds largest old-growth forests consisting of large Red and White Pine trees that cover the spectacular steep rocky shores along the lake. Making our way into Alton Lake, Winnie Lake and Mishap Creek then into Houghton Lake following the lake as it runs parallel to railway tracks before flowing under the rail line.

Houghton Lake Railway Tunnel

Throw in the unmaintained portage or sometimes a missing or non-existent portage; an old snowmobile trail claiming to be a portage then add some marshy and mucky footing on the trails and all in all it was a great trip. One portage worth mentioning was a 700-metre trek through a swamp. In the pouring rain and burdened down with heavy packs we slogged up to our ankles in water following a moose track along a trickle of water through a peat-like bog.

Mozhabong to Dusty Lake Portage – nothing glamorous about this!
Attempting to locate a non-existent portage on Sinaminda Creek

Hot and hazy weather, frequent rain showers followed us for the first several days complete with a violent thunderstorm that caught us completely off guard just as we were trying to enjoy dinner one evening. We had arrived at Alton Lake mid-afternoon and spent the next hour searching for a spot to establish camp. With recent wind damage, some sites were non-existent with tree blowdown or overgrown from lack of use. We located the only site we could find, along the narrow arm opening of the west branch of Alton Lake and set up camp erecting tarps in preparation for another evening of rain.

A few days ago we met a great bunch of guys – a group of six paddlers including Dennis Rogers, the YouTube producer and celebrity of ‘Canoehound Adventures’. They had entered the Spanish Forest region from the south and were doing a variation of the route in reverse. We expected to cross paths later in the trip as they headed back south and we headed north. With our dinner prepared and almost ready to consume, a hot blowing wind from the south suddenly switched and started blowing from the north. With this sudden change, we heard an incredibly loud noise which caused us to look up at the narrow opening of the lake to witness a wall of rain bearing down on us. Seconds later the rain hit us like a wave, our canoe which we secured to a tree, was forced tight by the wind against two trees behind it. The rain continued to come in sheets, causing white caps to appear on the lake, and in fifteen minutes it reduced itself to steady rainfall. We quickly cleaned the meal dishes and retired into the shelter of our tent. About an hour later, with darkness approaching, we heard voices, and the group of six were making their way down the lake. They looked exhausted and soaking wet. It turned out they had been paddling and portaging for eleven hours and were on the water at the time the storm hit. It took little convincing on our part to offer and share our small site. They quickly assembled their tents and changed into drier clothes. We assisted by boiling a large pot of water and the group had a quick meal of hot soup. Sleep came easy for them that night. The next morning, while enjoying freshly brewed coffee, we shared stories, route logistics and spoke of our common love of this wild land.

Comradery in the wilderness is a great connection and we hope for a lasting friendship. Yes, the best trips are not without challenges and the easy uneventful trips sometimes one does not remember.

Dennis, Jay, Owen Glenn, Rick, Seth, Nash and 2 pooches behind the scenes, Wiley and Mollie

Check out Canoehound Adventures!

Canoehound Adventures is a website for people interested in canoeing, camping, bushcrafting and the great outdoors. Dennis Rogers has some really great videos you can check out on his popular YouTube Channel!

Chili – A Favourite Backcountry Camp Recipe!

Get the chill out of your bones on a rainy day with an easy to make Chili con carne recipe! With all dehydrated ingredients prepared at home, the meal is ideal to whip up for one of those challenging days in the wilderness when you are too tired to do a lot of meal preparation.

  • water – approximately 4 cups (909 mL)
  • 1/4 cup (57 mL) red quinoa
  • 1/3 cup (76 mL) of the folllowing dehydrated ingredients: red kidney beans, chickpeas, brown beans, black beans, corn, mushrooms, sweet peppers
  • 1/3 cup (76 mL) dehydrated tomato leather
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) of chili pepper
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) each of salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) of garlic
  • TVP, ground beef, or dried sausage  (optional)

At camp boil the quinoa for 7 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients bring to a boil and let rest for 20 minutes or longer.  Serves 4.

Tip: 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!

Check out more of our backcountry camp recipes here!

Canoe for Change: A Journey Across Canada

If you have not already purchased a copy of our recently published book or you would like to buy a copy for your family and/or friends, follow this link to our website Canoe for Change.ca

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Adventures of a Canoe Cart

Our canoe cart has a long history with us, and with this history many adventures. It is a piece of equipment we could not do without. We acquired this cart from a young man who thanked us for assisting him with his financial situation. We had previously rented a canoe cart for an excursion and mentioned to the young man how easy it was to reach our portage by pushing the cart down an old abandoned logging road to reach our designated water system. As gratitude, we were presented with a collapsible canoe cart with removable wheels. So begins our attachment to our canoe cart.

Wolfe Island Ferry, Kingston, Ontario

The cart made the logistics simple for us to do certain trips. On an outing with one of our granddaughters, we placed our canoe on the cart and walked to the Wolfe Island Ferry. Avoiding the long vehicle line, we stood and waited our turn with other pedestrians and cyclists to board the ferry, eager to start our adventure. The deckhand informed us he had never loaded a canoe onto the ferry on a cart before. After conversing with his supervisor, he said it was similar to a bicycle so parking it with the other cyclists was easy. Once at Wolfe Island, we made our way to the shoreline, disassembled and stowed the cart. We set out to paddle back to Kingston, but not before spending the night in our tent at Cedar Island, one of the many islands of the Saint Lawrence Islands National Park system.

Some time ago someone thought they needed our cart more than we did and attempted to hide it in order to steal it from us while we were on a backcountry outing. We did find it after many hours of persistent searching. Now, whenever we are on an outing we always lock it to a tree, off the trail, with a bicycle chain.

The cart served us well on our cross-Canada canoe trip as we navigated in and out of waterways that were obstructed by large hydroelectric dams contained within massive fenced-in areas. We relentlessly carted down roadways on days that were too windy to be safe on the water on the east coast and in western Canada to push and pull our canoe over the Rocky Mountain range. 

Crows Nest Highway, British Columbia
Mactaquac Dam on Saint John River, New Brunswick

From years of usage, the canoe cart tires and tubes have been changed. The paint has faded, it is worn and battered-looking (much like us) but it still works well, ready to take us on more adventures!

Biscotasing Lake Canoe Trip

Biscotasing Lake in northern Ontario, approximately a four-hour drive north of Sudbury, is where our next adventure will start. From Kevin Callan’s book ‘Top 60 Canoe Routes of Ontario’ we singled out a route that will take us to an area of crown land that we have not traversed before. The portages are not marked or maintained and we expect to do a little bushwhacking to get from one lake to another – but that is all part of the adventure of discovering new places. We may wander off the route to a scenic neighbouring lake or water system to take in the beauty of a special spot for a couple of days – who knows we may find another favourite place to paddle!

Canoe for Change: A Journey Across Canada

If you have not already purchased a copy of our recently published book or you would like to buy a copy for your family and/or friends, follow this link to our website Canoe for Change.ca

Last month we wrote a blog called ‘The Missing Canoe’. Since that time, Zack at Frontenac Outfitters has produced a fun video explaining some practical safety recommendations. For those interested, check out the YouTube video! “Zack shows you the 5 things you need to be ‘legal’ on the water, along with some items that actually help keep you safe on the water”. You can purchase your safety equipment at Frontenac Outfitters, and while you are there, pick up a copy of our book from their shelf as well!

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The Missing Canoe


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!


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.


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!


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!

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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!

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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