Monday, June 06, 2011

A Most Interesting Family

There are often stray canoe parties who stop by the lodge for provisions, help, a bed or a meal. Yesterday we had one of the most unusual parties stop in at the lodge.

Geoff and Pam are two Canadians who are canoeing from coast to coast in Canada. He is a geologist and she is in logistics for a natural gas pipeline. When they stopped here, their traveling companions were 20-month Jude and a huge dog names Taq.

Their trip started in 2007 in Victoria with a 1000 mile paddle up the west coast of Canada. Then they portaged 30 miles across the coastal mountains of Canada. The canoe was put on a two wheel stand. Geoff, Pam and Taq each had a harness to pull as they went across the mountains.

Their next step was to paddle 300 miles up the Frazer River – that would be paddling into the current the entire time. Flood waters made them break this paddle for a month. At the end of the Frazer River paddle was a trip across the Rockies. This was a 60-mile portage. Once again all three of them towed the canoe loaded with gear.

After their son, Jude, was born they paddled an eastern leg of the trip. He was young and they were uncertain as to how that would go with Jude. Because of some big water in Manitoba, that part of the trip will wait a bit. A month ago the four of them started east from Kenora, Ontario. They hope to paddle to Lake Huron this summer.

So yesterday they stopped at Gunflint. Their reservation was for a canoer cabin. Pam looked at it and felt it was OK but not what she wanted. So they moved into Cabin #7 with two bedrooms, a hot tub, and a washer and dryer. They ate the BBQ last night for dinner plus breakfast and lunch today. Pam said it was like being on vacation to stay here.

They are very organized on this trip. With one canoe, a huge dog, a small boy, and all their packs, there is not a lot of spare room. They take sensible precautions: hats, sun screen, a throw rope. There is a plan and they will make it.

In many ways the most interesting one is Son Jude. He is not the least bit shy. He wants to look at your shoes and show you his. He rides in a backpack in the canoe. When he is ready to get going, he tries to climb into the backpack. Jude loves the portages because there is so much to explore on them. Pam says that when they stop for the night, Jude tries to paddle in the canoe. You just know that the woods and waters will always be a part of him.

If you want to read more about this young family, their website is That’s my next stop on the web.

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