A friend of mine once told me, “To write well, you have to write about what you know.”
Here is what I know.
I know the sound of a paddle as it gently glides through the water.
I know the absolute fear of setting out into the Wilderness, and the absolute joy that settles in after just one day out there.
As evening sets I hear the call of a Loon to its mate from across the bay.Then the chill that travels my spine as I hear wolves howling just a little too near to our campsite.
I know the sudden and startling fear of coming face to face with a bear in the Wilderness, without weapons, without any defense except my own two hands. And the relief as he sniffs the air and casually strolls away.
I can still feel the ache of a 3 mile portage knowing that in 5 days I will have to return over this same route. Yet the satisfaction of knowing that I still can.
I know the joy of watching friends and family transformed. Filled with confidence and joy after just a few days of paddling and camping.
In life it seems there is no joy without facing an equal fear in achieving it.
In truth that is my very favorite part of this life we have chosen. Every trip is different, every day an adventure when we are canoe camping. It is not what I have learned that keeps me going, it is knowing that I will always learn something out there. That I will never know it all.
What I enjoy the most is watching our customers and new friends as they set out on their own adventures. I watch the city stress that still lingers as they paddle off. The tightness in the shoulders. The set determination on their faces.
Then something magical happens, and I am there to watch. We enjoy watching these very same people as they return from their trip. The shoulders are lower and relaxed, but the answer is on their face- the smile that says ‘I can still do this. I am still alive.’
The wilderness does this for them and camping in the North Frontenac Park Lands, or anywhere in this area for that matter should take the real credit for this transformation.
All we really do is help you get there.
Hi, My Name is Les and I will later introduce my son and partner Andre.
Our story begins with a canoe.
Over 40 years ago my dad Harold bought an aluminum Springbok canoe, 17 footer for his family. He told us that something was missing on our frequent camping trips to Ontario Parks. And he was right.
From the time I sat down in that canoe when I was 6 years old, picked up the paddle for the bow position and learned how to paddle I was hooked.
It was where I belonged, what I was meant to do.
Of course life took me down several other paths, and I fought the eventual realization that somehow canoeing was what I was ‘supposed’ to do with my life.
First I discovered a minor talent for writing, at the encouragement of my wife Jane I took a writing course and became a contributor to various outdoor magazines, including Outdoor Canada, Bob Izumi’s Real Fishing, and even Reader’s Digest.
Over the years I had taken on the role of unofficial fishing guide for our family and on camping trips with friends as well. I was also nominated as guide and navigator because of my love of maps.
Then about 10 years ago I convinced Jane to go on her first canoe trip. It was a week in Algonquin Park and it was then that I realized that making her trip enjoyable was a real joy for me. The realization that ‘canoe guide and outfitter’ was what I really was truthfully changed my life.
She caught 2 of the most beautiful wild Brook Trout on our last evening paddle and I could not have been happier. It made the trip.
When we got home she had some great stories to tell, but mostly it was her transformation into a confident woman again that told me I was onto something very real.
Then 2 years after that we invited our youngest son Andre to join us on a Canoe Trip and he was very excited at the prospects of going with us.
Jane and I had taken several trips and Andre felt special to be given this opportunity. He toughed it out on some long portages, and paddled like a trouper with a smile the whole time.
In the few years that followed we noticed Andre did not like school very much, but he was always up for a canoe trip or fishing, anything in the outdoors.
After he graduated from High School inevitably the conversation turned to ‘what is Andre going to do with his life?’
We discussed it in depth with him, and in almost every other sentence that came out of his mouth was the word, ‘canoe’.
So that is where we started. We knew it would be something with canoes and kayaks, and did the homework to develop what you see now.
Over 140 canoes and kayaks are now available for you to rent or purchase, and we are there to offer our experience in any way we can to help make your trip as enjoyable as ours have been.
We look forward to meeting with you in the future.
Les, Jane and Andre