Algonquin Outfitters

When Can You Call Yourself a Canoe Tripper?

Camil Lapoint and Chris HickeyWith three and two thirds of Algonquin Outfitters grueling, yet inspirational Meanest Link finished, the question still remains: when can you call yourself a “canoe tripper”?

We’ve done the pre-requisite trips – MANY lakes and many portages (marked, unmarked, convoluted, improvised) in Algonquin, on all points of the compass rose; a North-South excursion (Kiosk-Kingscote) and an eventful voyage to Temagami to try “bigger lakes, less marked portages and less people.” We follow canoe and wilderness gurus, read and own many books on the backcountry experience, watch YouTube clips and take early Spring reconnaissance missions to future destinations.

Reflection is an interesting beast…what did we learn and what would we change? Some of these questions relate to planning, long sessions over maps, charts and meal plans to get through the winter until camping season arrives. Some questions relate to gear. We consider ourselves maximist-minimalists. We’ve learned over the years that good gear lasts and weighs less. You get what you pay for…A tub canoe might be good at the cottage but a Kevlar-Fusion get a forty-plus year-old over portages. Clothing is another essential part of any trip. If it doesn’t dry quickly, you will still be wet the next day. That being said, we like (have to have) certain comforts of home – camp chairs, the ‘right’ utensil for cooking and an occasional nip of a choice beverage. No one can predict water levels, temperatures or delayed bug seasons but you can travel comfortably, if not slightly heavy loaded. We will at least be comfy at camp, at the end of long and short days of travel.

Lessons learned? If one takes the same road, less or more traveled, weighted heavy or not, the destination is the same. Travel is half the voyage and a bear or any wildlife will stop a domestic, mid-sentence. Paranoia on meals may only lead to a heavier pack. The end of a portage is like sex…better to get there together and experience the euphoria together. Maybe we have become canoe trippers.

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Christine Hickey

Camil Lapointe and Christine Hickey are a Cornwall, Ontario couple who do not act their age. They have been backcountry campers for 10+ years. When not in the woods or on the water, they can be found making music or running races. Trippers, “officially”, since July, 2017.

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