By: CXC Team Member, Andy Brown
This month I took a short break from “official” training to go on a Quetico canoe trip with my Dad and sister. Neither of them had been on a canoe trip before and I was excited to step up into the role of “guide” for the trip. I have some great friends who have taught me the “right” way to travel by canoe (dry foot landings, bent shaft hut paddling, and single portaging), and I was eager to pass the knowledge on. We paddled across Big Saganaga into Cache Bay and checked in with the Canadian Ranger before paddling to the Falls Chain.
Before the trip, one of my friends warned me that at least one person has died on every portage on the route we were traveling, so I proceeded to each of the falls conservatively to make sure we didn’t get swept downstream. As a further reminder of why to not take a canoe over a waterfall, we saw half of a kevlar canoe wedged midway through one of the falls. Hopefully everyone made it out of that one okay.
The portages were a nice change of pace from all the paddling across the big lakes. I got stuck carrying the canoe for all the portages, but it was a good way to build character and I could definitely tell my overhead presses in the weight room have improved. By the end of a 130 rod portage, your shoulders start to go numb from the portage pads digging in. Best to just keep moving until you see the next blue lake shining through the trees.
I had been on a previous trip to the Quetico early in May of this year, so having warm water to swim in was a nice change. Swimming in 50 degree water is very exhilarating but this was far more enjoyable. The views from our campsites were amazing and it was great to have such beautiful lakes all to ourselves.
We took a bit of a gamble in packing food and planned a couple of fish dinners that required us to catch fish or go a bit hungry. On the last night it was looking pretty grim as all we had caught was a tiny bass that I had snagged, but my sister came through just in time, reeling in a nice big bass to complete our meal.
It was the perfect end to our trip. Great scenery, good weather, and excellent company came together to make a memorable experience.