i returned this afternoon from four days up the french river with family, and feel ready to handle living in the city again for a while. we drove to wolseley bay, and canoed perhaps an hour before making camp on a rocky point which sheltered a small natural bay. the next two days we spent paddling to nearby rapids and exploring the area. it’s really quite lovely, although as the french river is a very long, broad channel it’s easily accessible by motorboat and we saw many during the trip. like all tourists we would have preferred to be visiting a place with no other tourists around – a waterway accessible only by portage would have been more pleasant, but since we spent eight hours motoring along in dilapidated fossil fuel burning automobiles to reach the boat launch where we put in, it seems hypocritical to criticize the others on the lake unduly…
nevertheless, the main waterway was replete with cottages and coolers of pikes and pilsners, so we paddled to a series of rapids their boats couldn’t handle and had excellent fun shooting them, both in and out of canoes. jindi taught us a wonderful trick once – you put two life jackets, one upside down around your legs and the other as the manufacturer recommends, and then jump in near the top of a chute and ride it to the bottom. assuming you remembered to check for large nasty rocks and dangerous whirlpools, you bob on top of the raging water like a epileptic cork, then find yourself surfing the standing waves downstream of the white water, out of breath but grinning madly. mandy, the only one of us with serious whitewater experience, didn’t spill once, but i managed to flip the canoe on my second try with my uncle. ah well. the current was cool while far from frigid, and the day was clear and hot, so the water actually came as quite a relief.
our third day involved visiting yet more rapids, a truly impressive series that dropped many feet over several stages. we clambered over rocks covered in blueberries to reach some pools near the top, where we swam. at night we played canoe-tipping games, then dined on a stew of vegetables we had prepared in a dehydrator. what fun. we once saw a flock of four loons do an elaborate dance on their feet around our canoes while serenading some loon hotties (which were hopefully within earshot), and on our first night out a bald eagle flew directly over our heads as we were eating dinner. the weather was amazing so we mostly slept out of our tents, either on the rocks or in the bottom of canoes anchored somewhat offshore (an idea for which the credit goes to andrew).
the trip was, of course, too short but it was so great to be out. and, i must say, it’s really nice to be able to take a few days off work at short notice on a whim. if i ever go back to the nine to five life it’s going to be some serious culture shock.