A note from Gayle: I originally wrote this post in February, 2012. At that time, I had no idea that our life as an outdoor family would blossom as much as it has over the past six and-a-half years. I think the “new” canoe that sparked the idea for this post has a lot to do with it. I hope you’ll read through this little piece to the very end, where I’ve posted a few pics taken over the years, and a bit more of an update.
Flashback: February, 2012
We went to the Outdoor Adventure Show in Toronto a few weekends ago and had a blast. In fact, we were so excited about the coming season of outdoor fun and adventure that we treated ourselves to a brand-spanking new canoe. (The guys at Swift Canoe were great!) So that meant we needed brand-spanking new pfd’s. (Thanks for making sure we got the right fit Complete Paddler folks!) I also think I found the place to get our next zip lining fix! (We might see you this summer, Long Point Eco Adventures).
I love the Outdoor Adventure Show! Being there just gets us stoked to start the warm-weather season of outside awesomeness. But the outcome of that show did present us with a bit of a problem. Now we need to get rid of the canoe we already own. So I’ve been thinking about it, and I think the the ad should look like this:
For sale: Really, really heavy canoe. Very stable. Great for paddling with wiggly kids and dogs. Awesome as long you don’t have to carry it very far. Contains some rolled-eyes and differences of opinions, but mostly filled with fond memories and good laughs.
Oh yes – it definitely has carried it’s fair share of rolled eyes and differences of opinions leading to “interesting” discussions. The kind of discussions that end with “Just STOP paddling… I can do it myself.” That big red canoe hanging from the ceiling of the Labuz garage has been a team-building tool on more than one occasion. But the funny thing about those very discussions and marital team-building moments, is that they also led to fond memories and good laughs.
Like the time we tipped in a thigh-deep section of the Grand River somewhere between Cambridge and Paris. We mocked the wee little rapids. We mocked each other. And we ended up getting wet because of it. We don’t remember what any of the arguments or eye rolls were about on that little excursion, but 6 years later we can’t talk about that trip without laughing at the shock we felt when we tipped and remembering how good we felt at the end of the 4 hour tour. Or how awesome the scenery along The Grand can be. Or how big the fish swimming beside our canoe were. Or how sneaky we felt as new parents when we dropped Emma off at daycare and played hooky from being “Mommy” and “Daddy” to spend the day on the river as just Gayle and Alex. (Shhhh – she still doesn’t know about it!)
That big, heavy, stable canoe has carried my baby. And it’s carried my dog. We’ve fished from it. We’ve lounged in it. Ok…. I’ve lounged in it while Alex paddled (see above note re: paddling “discussions”). We’ve fostered a love of being on Ontario waters with it.But now it’s time to send it to another home, where I hope the new owners will gain as much from that beast of a boat as we did. We’ll welcome the new canoe in the spring with open arms and eager paddles – ready to make new memories. I think we should plan another trip on the Grand River. And I’m sure this lighter, swifter model will work beautifully as a holder of rolled-eyes and differences of opinions and as a team builder and memory maker.
Update: July, 2018
That brand new Swift canoe has contributed to a bunch of adventures and amazing memories over the last six years. And yes, just like its predecessor, it is also a holder of rolled-eyes and differences of opinion. Except this canoe encouraged me to earn a paddling certification, so now I sit in the back. It is a team builder, with Emma being a much more active member of the team. And like its predecessor, it carries my not-so-little-baby and a dog, although it’s a different dog now.
Emma doesn’t really remember the big, red, heavy canoe. But she is learning how to be a very good paddler in the beautiful, black, super-light boat we bought back in 2012.
That boat taught us how to get ourselves safely into the backcountry of Ontario’s parks and crown land. It is still teaching little Buddy the Adventure dog how to be a canoe dog, a skill our old girl, Hope the Wonder Dog never quite accomplished.
That canoe has also helped us forge wonderful friendships with people in the Canadian outdoors and paddling community.
And now, we are thrilled to be adding another Swift canoe to our fleet. (The people at Swift Canoe are STILL great!) This new addition is a solo boat, which will also be an instructor of paddling and safety and access and continued love and respect for the outdoors.