Saturday, October 30, 2010

New circular saw, my lip cut in half and a Coke stop in Emo

Now that's a way to start a post! This friends is my lower lip. I had a cyst removed two days ago.....however it has a paddling link. I had this done in the next town over, dropped by my pharmacy in my home town to pick up some pain killers everything was good to go. The pharmacist looked at me weird but heck I got stitches in my lip right? Stopped to talk to a friend and he keeps glancing at it. No big deal, sick curiosity right? By this point it's starting to hurt a pile so I bid me buddy farewell and head out to the car.

Look into the mirror to check out the damage and there is a huge hole in my lip! The stitches were gone! Of course much like having to touch and see the cyst at the Dr's office I had to have a look around in the mirror to see what the inside looked like. Calmy I drove home to get my bankcard. I was greeted by a smiling wife...who quickly turned white and couldn't look at me. A 20 dollar bill was handed to me like I was a leper... and a quick phone call to the Dr I was on my way back in.

While many people would get excited I really don't get like that ever.  I get to the emergency room and tell them I'm there to meet my Dr. They get me sat in a room and the waiting game of Canadian ER's begins. To pass my time I walk around and joke with the nurses..." Do you think I can pull this look off? Giving my best model face" One older nurse rolls her eyes at me when she catches me using the hole as a miniature mouth making it talk with my two fingers in the mirror....the younger nurse is laughing.

The Dr finally arrives and is very apologetic. I calm his worries and joke I could have used some epoxy but it's expensive. We find we got quite a bit in common paddling. He just got back from Baja kayaking and just built a canoe. The conversation is pleasant and he stitches me up. I couldn't help say he should get into fly tying as he closed up my wound...He agreed.

Needless to say my lip has been bugging me and the cold Arctic air pushing down makes it very sensitive. So basically I've slipped into winter mode....for this week only!

I pulled out my spare kayaks and started to organise my basement for the "garbage kayak" and "garbage paddles" construction. Of course the snow began as soon as I pulled them out. My son is having an excited day due to the fact that he will be campaigning tomorrow for "the end to healthy snacks" going door to door to get support dressed as a dinosaur. As well my son absolutely loves working in the basement on our paddles.

After digging through the too many toys he has; he had found his tool's he required and joined me in the basement. A scrap of WRC was sanded and toy hammered to death, a change from last year words like "lamination" is slipping from his mouth, and I had to put the gorilla glue out of reach and explain the rules of the basement again. He sat on that milk crate for a hour asking questions and sanding. I've never seen him sit still for more than a minute.

The wood that was turfed really didn't have many nails or anything to remove. I could help but laugh at the though that a few nails and a screw would make this wood junk. It speaks quite a bit about our society in general. To think that Beothuks were being shot for burning boats just to get those metal nails in Newfoundland a couple hundred years's crazy to even compare.

I decided tonight I would get started on a full size paddle. This 2x4 has really great grain compared to the newer SPF I have bought. With only a few knot's it was real easy to cut a center piece for the paddle out of  it.

The old scaffold board I cut into 34 inch strips to use for the lamination. My new circular saw made awesome strait cuts that I can never do with the band saw.

Already I'm loving the colour difference in the woods. I think I may try to find some hardwood to laminate for edges just to make this paddle a great looking piece of garbage. My father in law bought me my circular saw a few weeks back and I had forgot to charge up the spare battery, which halted process tonight.

My oldest enjoys sweeping up the sawdust.....which works out great! I think this winter we got some great father and son time planned!

Another part of my winter routine of course is day dreaming and reading of others adventures. I was looking at a post on that was asking about how many people had paddled across Canada. Which got me thinking as aside from Joe O'Blenis I had never heard of anyone else. Armed with a thought and a library card I came home with 8 books on various paddling related things. Coke stop in Emo by Alec Ross seemed like a great one to start with.

My wife actually read this one last week as well and we both came to the same conclusion. This guy is way too negative. Every town he criticises everyone in his book, writes personal conversations that you just shouldn't document and PRINT. Overall  I was left struggling to get through this book, hoping for an Epiphany of sorts or a change of attitude. In discussing this one with my wife we came to the conclusion that where this book differs is this is written by a writer who went paddling for a story; whereas other books we have ready were of paddlers who wrote their story.  While his accomplishment is nothing short of amazing I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Very negative and judgemental. I'm sure it would appeal to certain people; but me and my wife really didn't like this book.
The snow is still falling here and dusting my kayaks outside. I sat outside for a bit tonight just to battle the cabin fever of being stuck inside. As I was thumbing through the local paper outside I noticed the following.

• In keeping with efforts to promote good environmental stewardship, CFB Petawawa is offering used non-treated construction materials for free to the public. Items such as pallets, lumber and plywood are available in a designated fenced area within the bulk waste disposal site near the Ontario SPCA at
no cost. The site is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Awesome! More sources of free wood! I have already found enough wood to do my "garbage kayak" but I just can't think of a way to save some form of material from a landfill that would work. What materials would? I kept thinking of maybe old nylon jackets sewn together much like seal skins which would be a fun idea. I then of course could help thinking about a old kids in the hall skit. Check this one out, some great Canadian humour!

I know it isn't a trip report (believe me I'm going crazy stuck inside!!) but I hope you enjoyed the post! Some more wood cutting tonight and settling into bed with a good paddling book. next week I will get out of this HOUSE!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Paddling with garbage

Today I got a email asking me about my paddles and the man was very interested in my construction of paddles using log's and scrap wood.

To me it just makes sense. We live in a disposable world, more so here in Ontario Canada compared to the Newfoundland outport I grew up in. Back home when a old house was torn down, we used crowbars and tried to save each piece of the old dwelling. Recycled back usually into a fishing shed or a garage by a few families. A cracked floor board on a deck was carefully removed and used to patch up a hole in the barn. Or left in the barn rafters for a future use.

Here in suburban Ontario waste is golden. Honestly I remember first moving here and driving with a friend down a Orleans subdivision and seeing a brand new leather couch out on the lawn for junk day. I was amazed! As the years passed I got quite use to the lifestyle and honestly am as guilty as the next for wasting stuff.

I've been really reflecting on a lot in life lately. I keep thinking about the story of the western red cedar I'm planeing. How many people watched their BC landscape get raped by foreign companies; just so I could hold this paddle, or this norsaq?

Now please don't get me wrong. I've got a pile of walnut,maple,cedar in my basement that I purchased.
I'm not a tree hugger per se. What I am is a paddler that sees a market for "garbage" paddles. Now there are about 100 people online selling the most beautiful laminated paddles; absolute works of art selling for 100's of dollars. I'm going to try a different approach.

Starting today I'm going to start building garbage paddles. Aside from some glue/epoxy and tung oil my paddles will be made from all recycled materials. Old door frames,beach wood, blow downs. Nothing other than what I find.
Today I found a BRAND NEW 2x4 with pretty nice strait grain....the guy liked finishing nails.

It appears "Mr.Suburb" was doing some home renovations and tore out a door frame.
As well as a nice piece of rough lumber that is cracked up on one side but some great wood all the same!
                                                               Above: Not bad for free!

I plan on selling the paddles for what ever someone wants it for. As long as shipping is covered I'll be happy. Just for the fact that I gave a piece of one tree a extra bit of existence. A extra bit of worth. A extra reason for that tree to be cut down.

While the paddling season is still going strong for me, I am pre-planning for the frozen solid months. My wife is even on the look out now for wood on the curb. Even a cracked board is material to be used.

I'm not trying to save the world or anything. However I think it can be a worthwhile project.

In other news my portaging equipment is BUSTED. It appears I have all the tendons tore in my ankle and it now requires surgery. For those who have been following it's been a ongoing struggle that I have finally lost to. Under the knife time it is! Here's a video of the initial time I beat it up....

So  I figure after that surgery...a whole pile of paddles will be made!

Please leave your thoughts on the new project and orders!

I'll be back later this weekend with some more trip reports! Have a great week all!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Meilleurs bay-st cyr river-da swisha

 I set off today with only one goal in mind; to finish off one section of river I had missed in the past year. No real things were drawling me to the area, except a blank piece on my map that required colouring in.
 I had planned to launch at the Meilleurs bay park on the north side of the highway. However once I got there the park was all closed up for the summer and a padlocked gate blocked access. After sizing up the portage that I would have to do I noticed a better option across the new highway on an abandoned piece of the old 417. The Kia Rondo being the true off road vehicle it was designed to be managed to crawl over a log, surprising me in how much .5 inches of ground clearance can get over. A small drainage ditch served as a suitable launch site. As I was all packed and ready to launch a truck drove past honking their horn and waving. I really didn't have time to wave back at the 120km/hr truck as I was fitting myself into my neck gasket at the time. However thanks for the kind gesture...whoever you were. (Most likely a truck full of 20 year old blonde's who follow my blog.)
The drainage pipe entrance into the wilds of the Ottawa.

 Meilleurs bay is a tiny weedy bay. The Quebec foothills towered on the other side of the river. Rain hitting my cheeks, my chin already numb from the chill.... I felt at ease. Alive again.
 Crossing over into the Pontiac is by far my favorite part of the whole Ottawa river experience. The clouds roll across the hill's, the cabins are non existent on much of it's shore. It truly is a easy place to get lost in time.
 This part of the river is very sandy, however the high rocks keep the sandy beaches to a minimum.

The rocks polished by the glacier retreat are awe inspiring. Young pines cling to them for life.
 This being part of the James Little ecological reserve, orange signs slightly ruin the experience. However it is nice to see signs in lieu of million dollar cottages.
 I usually like staying close to the shore when I paddle. That's where the action is, the animals roam the shores. This moose wasn't too far ahead of me as his poop was still steaming. Nice young bull.
 The breaks in the solid rock shore makes awesome campsites. This part of the Ottawa is a excellent place to spend a night. No trouble to find a place to crash.
Pulling up to check out one of the beaches I got my skeg caught up in a log and broke the wire off. I then remembered the requirement to carry a Philips with me...I had learned this lesson this past summer. And forgot again.

 Full skeg down was a bit of a pain but I continued on. Usually things like this makes me way more angry than I need to be. Yet today I found the humour in a lesson not learned! I pulled into the St Cyr river. It looked like a beautiful river, and I had requested from the Quebec government permission to enter it about 2 months ago. No response. I have amnesia as to what happened next...nothing illegal of course.  I can almost picture it as a deep twisty turney river with an abundance of muskrat. Ton's of sandy beaches. Just imagination of course.

 Suddenly a hour later I awoke in the same spot I had left....weird. Any who heading west I noticed a huge pile of crushed rock.
 To me it looked like a ramp to an ice road of some sort at first.
 I paddled on looking at the many submerged logs in the area. Glancing to the right just behind this pile of rocks something caught my eye....see!
Hidden well in the bush two large foundations and a log foundation which I assume was a outhouse.

I love rock construction like this. I wonder why we even use's this foundation here after how many years still sturdy and square.

 First foundation next to the river.
 Found a old wash basin. We had one like this in my house when I was growing up on a old nightstand. Brought back some fond childhood memories.
 The second cabin was also well built. The use of iron started concreting my thoughts of it being a logging camp.

The old stove and many single beds were all that remained. If anyone has any info on these foundations please drop me a line.

Paddling away from one piece of history landed me in view of another. This is the NPD Canada's first Nuclear reactor.It is no longer in operation.

Pulling in to view the awesome rock formation I noticed more winch cable mounted onto the trees. Tell tale signs of logging.
Looking down into Colton bay near Da Swisha.

Excellent well used campsite just downstream for Da Swisha. Da Swisha hotel in the background.
View from the beach on a cold wet day.
Fog on the Quebec foothills.
Paddling back on the Ontario side was pretty uneventful. I quickly realised the 5 degree drop in temp this time of year makes for some cold paddling. Opposite of the old foundations on the Ontario side is point steward.
Overall a great relaxing day to do some serious thinking.

Friday, October 22, 2010

First of the year

As it changed shape it's weight increased it’s decent into the earth. Slowly as first it slides; increasing momentum until it is fully into it's new form. Much like a caterpillars metamorphosis into a butterfly.

The snowflake landed on my right cheek. A slight hint of cold before the warming sensation of liquid rolling towards my chin; leaving a trail of life across my face.

And back to the earth.

First snowflake of the year.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lac du Bois Dur petawawa river/ Barron river

Mr Daniels dropped by last night….and I think I caught the flu from him. We threw a surprise party for one of my buddies and not being much of a drinker I over indulged on “apple jacks” (apple juice and Jack Daniels) I awoke this morning with the 26 oz flu.
My morning was spent cringing every squeal from my 1 year old and every song felt like a bass drum in my head….Tylenol coupled with strong coffee had me feeling great by 13h00. I had been meaning to check out Lac du bois dur for quite some time now; yet am always pulled into heading west to first chute whenever I visit the Black bay area.

The day was caliginous. I find that much of the time my mood is tied to the weather, yet today the gloomy overcast had me feeling relaxed. I stayed along the shoreline; cause that’s where the action is. The stories. While I can ramble on about premeditative strokes and watching a bead of water on my deck during a large open crossing; I prefer to fully try and take in what’s around me.
From lacduboisdur

The sun beams peaking behind the storm clouds illuminated the forest floor, making the colours vibrant.

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Beams attempted to warm the rocky lakebed, last attempts at a losing battle in this post equinox land.

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Leaves which mere days ago darted across the water like small sailboats are now waterlogged catching last glimpses f sun as they slowly sink to the depths of the lake.

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The campsites still seemed so appealing to me. I had hoped to use this site with my son this year, however as the temperature has dipped off quite a bit I think our camping gear is finally going to be taken out of the back of the car. Which my wife will be pleased with I’m sure.

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The wind increased suddenly with enough force to create small white capped breaking waves on the lake. While the wind was strong; in comparrsion to the crossing from Dildo Island to Old shop earlier this summer; it was a beautiful day.
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While gusting at times making progress slow I decided to just pitter patter along ducking into small bays to avoid the wind somewhat and chill out.

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Lac du bois dur ( Hardwood lake…I think?) is the meeting area of two great rivers. The Petawawa and the Barron river collide here in this large skinny lake before continuing on as the Petawawa downward into the Ottawa river.

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The lake is bordered on the North by CFB Petawawa which doesn’t allow landings, however it does provide a cabin free environment to view which is nice.

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There was one cottage that really made me drool…this my friends is my dream HOME.

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The lakeside is full of driftwood, this “host” tree is providing the ever growing sapling the nutrients it needs… much longer can this relationship last before it topples over?
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Once you approach the bottom of the lake remnants of the logging chutes remain. Two large cribs still stand guard just above the rapids. Rotted to the waterline rusty iron bolts reach out of the murky tarin stained water, as if trying to climb back up.

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On the northern side of the rapids there was a sign for Quest for the cure. Something I hadn’t heard of before but looks like it could be a blast to compete in! I followed a old portage down to get a good look at the small rapids and Percy lake below.

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More remains of the logging days are jammed up on the rocks here. Yet my mind couldn’t help but wonder who else had walked on this old portage. Voyageurs, military raiding parties, Algonquin’s, Iroquois. One can really get lost in the simple thought of those before you on this river.

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Dry suit off I used my fall barefoot walking shoes. “Vamps” as we call them back east make a great walking shoe on the dry crisp leaves.

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Feeling the twigs snap underfoot while taking in the remaining fall colours was a great experience.

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I decided I would set up my timer and take a photo of myself…I don’t have many. Upon reviewing the pic to make sure I got it; I could help but see the symbolism in the photo. Sitting across a cold fast moving river on the wild side looking over at 500,000 dollar homes. I was truly on the side I belong.

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I sat for a while watching the clouds play with the forest bringing it from golden glow to blackness.
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Back on the move.
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Paddling back along the northern side of the lake gave me lots of time to think. Mostly about my upcoming canoe build. Everything from skins to basement cleaning beforehand was mulled over. God sometimes it’s just nice to think of one thing.

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Beaver lodges dotted the shoreline.

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A blue Heron slowly walking the shoreline feeding.

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Pulling in behind forks island the channel ran deep and fast. This is the furthest up the Petawawa you can get from this point. Looking at the topographical map I really wish I could paddle up a little further, looks really nice.

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Sign’s warn the paddler.

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The northern side of the island was a nice peaceful calm paddle.

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Burned pine stand as a monument to the forest fire of 2002. I was out here running hoses for the fire department, and having a blast. How years seem like minutes ago.

A quick check of my cell phone I had managed to totally miss an hour somewhere. I was very late for supper. A quick call to my wife gave me a 40 minute grace period.

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I sat back and took in the last warmth of the sun on my cheeks.
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I picked up the pace as I paddled into the familiar territory of black bay.
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Back at Rantz road I reflected on the day looking at my favourite means of transportation.

I spent the rest of the evening getting some of my photo's ready to send off to one of my readers. It is an amazing thing to think that my photo's will adorn a wall in someone's home. I am both humbled and honoured.

Time for bed! I hope you enjoyed.