It has taken me some time – two and a half months to be exact – to write this post and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working for me. As I started to outline in a previous post, I had a lovely weekend paddling with Wild Women Expeditions back in June and would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ll even tell you why further down this post. So what took so long? It comes down to two of my…ahem…endearing quirks:
Before Wild Women Expeditions’ whitewater canoe clinic in June, I’d spent eight whole days in a canoe. Granted they were intensive:
– In the middle of November 2012 (which included my wedding anniversary and my 35th birthday), I learned how to canoe properly and instruct canoeing at the same time. Thank you, Jill Baxter.
– At the end of April, I experienced just a taste of canoeing in moving water on the Ottawa River. It didn’t mean anything to me at the time. I didn’t fully understand why we were performing the maneuvers we were. If only I knew then what I know now because there was one spot my stern partner and I could totally nail.
I had absolutely no confidence in the stern after those eight days. Fast forward six weeks after the Ottawa River trip and I found myself in the stern encouraging my awesome bow partner Susan down a set of Class I rapids on the Lower Madawaska River. How did I get here?
“Do you know what this is?” Our guide, Stephane Kraus of Overlordtour, gestured for me to step over “this” ahead of him as we exit the church grounds at Angoville au Plain, our first stop on a ten-hour Normandy / D-Day / Band of Brothers tour. “This three-foot step allowed people to get in and out of the church but kept the cows out as they ran by.” With that simple fact and acknowledgement that I was not a D-Day history buff, Kraus drew me into the rest of the day’s tour.Continue reading “Review: Overlordtour”
I have learned to say “Canadian” when asked what nationality my husband and I are while traveling. I feel I’m only telling half a lie and really, these days, no one wants to hear “American.” So it beats me why I felt the need to explain the whole truth to the older couple sitting one table over from us at a mediocre dinner in Amboise, France last May.Continue reading “Past travel experiences: Amboise”
At the back of Shelter Valley Mobile Home Park in Newfield, New York sits single-wide trailer number 541 on the South Way. Growing up I knew it as 55 Shelter Valley Road. I haven’t been back there in years, but as a child it had to have been the best lot in the park.
Here are a few shots from my 3-day backpacking trip in Algonquin Park on the Highland Backpacking Trail. I took them via a pretty terrible point-and-shoot as this trip was for a course with Algonquin College. I didn’t feel I could afford to spend the time fussing with my DSLR. We started with 30 degree Celsius weather on Day One and ran swiftly downhill to snow by evening on Day Three. What an eye-opener for my first multi-day, backcountry experience. More thoughts on this to come. For now enjoy the point-and-shoots!
We spent most of a Thursday reviewing map and compass skills as well as discussing in big broad strokes the search and rescue function primarily as it stands in the province of Ontario. By 2:30 we were itching for a scenario. We broke ourselves into search and rescue teams of three, a first aid team, a liaison, a radio person, and incident command. We reviewed the map of our location, trying to pre-plan where we might run our “bastard” search and our hasty search if a call of a missing person were to come in.
I used to hang the map inserts from our National Geographic subscription for decoration on my walls. I’ve received 2 globes in my life as gifts: once from my parents for my kindergarten graduation and a much needed update many years later from another family member. I’d spin it and spend hours imagining what life was like in Lichtenstein or Bhutan. Give me a MapArt book of GTA streets and I am a great navigator. Plop a topo map and a compass in front of me and I might need a little help.
I stepped gingerly into two circles of black nylon webbing, cinched them around my quads and double-backed their tails through the buckles so that they appeared (c)losed rather than (o)pen.
Day One: Thursday started off chilly, close to the freezing mark but with warmer temperatures on the way. We sat shivering in our stinky, damp borrowed wetsuits in the amphitheater at WT, listening to Greg introduce his co-instructors Steve and Eric and watching a few short videos on ocean kayaking to give us some perspective. Greg divided us alphabetically amongst the three instructors and we set out for the 20 minute walk to Presqu’ile (PQ) Beach with a bit of a bounce in our step. The sun was starting to warm us up.