This sequel to our popular Canada's Best Canoe Routes offers 31 more prime paddling trips, encompassing British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, and north to the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. All described by Canada's foremost paddlers, this canoeing and kayaking compendium has it all: freshwater, saltwater, flatwater and whitewater paddling, weekend trips and epic adventures. It also features profiles of 20 noteworthy paddlers, takes the reader on a tour of the Canadian Canoe Museum, and offers up a plethora of paddling maxims by canoe guru James Raffan, author of Summer North of Sixty, Fire in the Bones, Bark, Skin and Cedar, and Wild Waters: Canoeing North America's Wilderness Rivers.
Alister Thomas has gunwale-bobbed on placid lakes, found himself upside-down (unintentionally) and backwards (intentionally) in frothing whitewater, and plied many of Canada's historic waterways. A Calgary-based journalist, he lives one block from the Bow River.
Excerpted from the
Like its predecessor, Canada's Best Canoe Routes, More of Canada's Best Canoe Routes is not your typical guidebook. It is also a three-in-one book: tips, trips and trippers. In Section One you'll discover fellow trippers regaling tales of 31 great canoe and kayak trips, from coast to coast to coast. Section Two features eighteen profiles of twenty-four proficient paddlers -- young and old, male and female, First Nation and Canadian. Section Three highlights craftsmanship (the Canadian Canoe Museum), stewardship (the Grand River Conservation Authority), canoe tripping ("The Ascetic in a Canoe") ... and a rant (Raff's Maxims).
31 Terrific Trips
We start on the West Coast and move east, jumping to the north on a few occasions, touching down in all ten provinces and three territories. You'll find all types of trips - daylong to expedition length, Far North to close at home, serene lakes to open ocean. Dunnery Best's lead story begins: "When I look at the old maps now, the idea of paddling an open cedar-strip canoe from Bella Coola to Prince Rupert, about 330 miles (530 km) north (as the seagull flies) on the British Columbia coast, doesn't seem particularly extreme. After all, most of the route followed the famed Inside Passage, sheltered from the full brunt of the Pacific Ocean." Find out whether it was dumb luck or minor miracles that allowed Dunnery and Sandy Hart to complete their journey.
Like your first love, the first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. "You discover your definition of a river, the journey where your subconscious learns the pattern for what a journey should be. You can be years or miles away from the physical river, and suddenly its reflecting pool will bubble up to the surface of your life to remind you who you are," writes Lynn Noel in her story entitled The Hotfooters. "My first river was the Margaree [in Nova Scotia]."
There are three accounts where the canoe displays its versatility. Keith Morton describes a trip in a replica of a 33-foot-long West Coast native canoe, while Howard Heffler gives invaluable pointers for poling a mountain river in autumn. Geoff Danysk goes one further by giving an insider's report on training for the ice canoe race at Quebec City's Winter Carnival. "After getting dressed in my car, I step out into the minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25C) December morning, thankful it is calm ... no wind-chill," Geoff writes. "Not exactly your typical weather for the first day of the paddling season, but this isn't your typical paddling."
On the Little Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories, Glenn Hodgins makes an emotional return, in memory of a friend and trip leader who disappeared mysteriously twenty years before. Joanie McGuffin recounts a three-month circumnavigation, with husband Gary, around Lake Superior's 2,000-mile (3,200 km) shoreline, circling the lake according to its own natural counterclockwise currents.
18 Paddler Profiles
In the middle section of this book are profiles of paddlers from across Canada, representing every province and territory. They are canoe builders, whitewater fiends, visionaries, instructors, outfitters and paddlers who are just crazy about canoeing and kayaking. Here are a few of them.
Venture north to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut and experience five-year-old Ayalik's first canoe trip. "If you ask me what the best part of the trip was, I say paddle, rapids and fish," he says. "If you come up here, I can tell you which birds we have - I know them pretty well now." You'll be impressed by Ayalik's enthusiasm.
Betty Pratt-Johnson knows all about adventure. She started scuba diving at 37 years of age, whitewater kayaking at 47, paragliding at 67 and then at 70 ... ice climbing. Few people have paddled more British Columbia rivers.
The paddling community lost an influential and important member on May 20, 2000. Victoria Jason, the first woman to kayak the Northwest Passage and responsible for reintroducing the kayak to the Inuit village of Kugaaruk, formerly Pelly Bay, in the late 1990s, died from a brain tumor. She was 55.
After much experimentation, Ted Moores, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of canoes and their builders, pioneered the woodstrip-epoxy canoe construction technique. The result: a ribless canoe, satin-smooth inside and out, that is strong and light. One of these was a wedding gift to Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Canada's long-standing Prime Minister, federalist, activist, intellectual, gunslinger and international irritant will be remembered by a certain group of Canadians because he paddled a canoe. Not only did Trudeau take to his canoe for adventure and solitude, he made it okay to do so.
Vital Tips for Paddling and Protecting Canada's Waterways
There are four stories in the third section More of Canada's Best Canoe Routes. We begin with a pilgrimage to Peterborough, to Ontario's Canadian Canoe Museum. To let you know what to expect, Gwyneth Hoyle provides a walking tour of the CCM.
The next story in this section is about the revitalization of the Grand River in southwestern Ontario. The Grand River Conservation Authority, established in 1934, started turning neglect into concern, inaction into action, and helped bring the river back to life. The GRCA is Canada's first and the third-oldest conservation authority in the world.
The third story is former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau's eloquent "Exhaustion and Fulfillment: The Ascetic in a Canoe." It's a classic.
Wrapping up this section is a Joe Canadian-like rant from Jim Raffan, Canada's premier canoe writer. Here's a sample of Raff's Maxims for Happy Paddling:
Borrowed canoes bend
These are the people you'll meet in More of Canada's Best Canoe Routes. I hope you enjoy the book and become a paddler too.