Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New June trip is in the works!

About a month ago I was invited to go on a trip with Mark from "Mark In the Park". I have always been a fan of his site and being asked to go with him on a 9 day trip was very cool.

But the times just didn't work for me, so I reluctantly had to pass.

Well things have changed a bit and I am now able to meet up with him for an abbreviated trip. I will post more in the days to come, but it looks like I will be returning to the Cedar Lake area for 4 days and will be spending at least one of those days on Wendigoes Lake. A smallish lake that is off the beaten track.

More details to come, but this is looking like it will happen. Very cool!!!

How to add Kevlar Skid Plates

I want to add kevlar skid plates to my new/used canoe and found this great "How to".

Original found HERE.

Skid plate installation for Souris River Canoes. May or may not work with vinylester resin canoes by other companies such as Wenonah, Mad River, Bell, Novacraft, Swift, etc., due to the epoxy resin used. Because you are working with epoxy resin which is a skin sensitizer, it is recommended that you work in adequate ventilation or outside like I'm doing in the following photos. Avoid skin contact and wash off if it gets on your skin.

Skid plates need only be installed on canoes that are showing wear through about 3 layers of material. It will appear as a worn spot right where you see my hand (with the rag) in picture #2. Like rings of a tree stump, you can see the wear in your bow or stern. If you only have scratches and no real visible sign of wear into the third layer of material, you wouldn't need to have skid plates installed just yet. If, however, you wanted to purchase the skid plate set, it'll just sit on the shelf and wait for you. One final IF: If you don't slam your canoe into gravelly/rocky shores at 20 MPH trying to make the portage 6" shorter, you may never need skid plates as a private owner. Remember that both of you need to drag your paddles on opposite sides of the canoe at final approach to slow way down. Then your bow person reaches out and gently stabs shore in shallow water to absorb the final shock so you can creep up to shore. For boarding in and out of a loaded canoe without getting your feet wet, visit HERE.

If you have a question, email me:

1. Prop canoe upsidedown on two sawhorses. Sand both the bow and stern where skid plate is going to go, using a piece of 80 grit sand paper.

2. Wipe down sanded area with clean, lint free cloth. It wouldn't hurt to pour a little acetone on the rag and wipe off both sanded ends of the canoe with it.

3. Take a packet of resin, fold it in half on seam between resin and hardener. Squeeze contents down, rip off the top of both halves.

4. Pour contents of 3 packets total into clean cup. soup can, small container, etc. Avoid skin contact with the resin.

5. Mix with a stir-stick, clean popsicle stick, tree branch, etc.

6. The canoe doctor is in...
Put on disposable latex or nitrile gloves.

7. Drop into skid plate into resin.

8. Mush it around making sure that you get it completely wet with resin

9. Another mushing shot

10. Lift out of resin cup

11. Lay it on canoe, pointy end towards to the front.

12. Make sure it's centered and smooth it out with your hands. Repeat Steps 3-12 on the other end of the canoe.

13. This step is not required but will leave a nicer finish on the skid plate and make it a bit tougher since resin is drawn to the surface.

14. Stretch out plastic film (Saran wrap) over the plate so it's smooth. Remember to check the plate to ensure that it is still straight on the canoe. You can move it around under the plastic and you don't need gloves during this part.

15. Squeeze out the air bubbles that you can see trapped under the plastic. Slide them out towards the edge of the plastic.

16. Smooth it out a couple more times and then leave it alone. Come back in about 6 hours or the next day and peel off the plastic.

Finished plate under plastic wrap

Canoe touch up
and repairs

Buying My First Canoe

I love Algonquin, but it doesn't take long for the cost of having to rent a canoe for every trip to start adding up and that limits the number of times I can go. Sucks to say it like that, but like many things in all comes down to money.

That's why I'm so excited that in just a few months I will purchasing my first canoe. I have been saving for it for a while and have saved enough to have my pick of the used canoes available at the Portages Store, located on Canoe Lake in Algonquin. I posted a while ago about my intention to buy one from them, but they hadn't posted what canoes would be available. Well yesterday they posted all the canoes available for 2008 and I am pleased to tell you that I have decided what canoe will be a part of our adventures for years to come.

16 ft Langford Ultra-light Kevlar Prospector, white gel-coat kevlar/epoxy, weight 42 lbs, length 16ft. 6 inches, width 35 inches, capacity 825 lbs. $850 - $1050

I plan to spend around $950 for one that is less bumped and scratched and have been told that they will move on the price a bit if you pay in cash.... something I planned to do anyway.

I am not sure if canoes are given names the way boats are, but I want "her" to have a name anyway and have promised Lauren that she could pick it. Her first thought was "Butterfly" and although I don't hate it, bu I can just imagine the smirks and finger pointing Gerry and I would get cruising along in old "Butterfly", so I asked her if she could come up with some other options.
The canoe is an Ultralight Kevlar and is a symmetrical design. I haven't paddle this canoe myself, but I have been told by those that have that it is remarkably stable, tracks well and is the perfect tripping canoe. For me it will be perfect for my trips with Gerry or Lauren , but just as good when going solo.

Mark has a similar canoe and offered this advice for going solo in a tandem canoe...

"Paddling my Novcraft prospector solo, I sit in the bow seat facing the stern seat. Some would describe this as paddling backwards. Since the bow seat is placed closer to the centre of the canoe(than the stern seat), your weight is better balanced with respects to the load placed in the canoe, adding your gear in between the stern seat and thwart/yoke should give you excellent balance. Experiment till you find the sweet spot with respects to proper weight distribution."


"The Langford 16.6 Prospector is the ultimate symmetrical canoe. The performance of this modernized traditional design is the envy of all. This canoe is the choice to make when one has to paddle with dogs, children and heavy gear aboard. The efficiency, exceptional maneuverability, and tracking provided by an industry leading 7th Generation Hydro-dynamically Sound Hull is simply unsurpassed. The safety and responsiveness afforded by this model is unrivaled due to the specific curvatures and shapes found in her hull. There is a literal list of unique qualities that separate this Langford from other "prospectors". The modified shallow arch design, depth, volume, moderate to high rocker, which is coupled with extreme sweep in the gunwale and a very pronounced spray rail all contribute to the Langford Prospector 16.6 being the most trust worthy vessel to deliver the paddler through the roughest of conditions. Solo, Tandem, or Loaded, there is not a dryer hull on the market."

Having my own canoe means I will be able to go to the park more often and not be limited by having to go to access points that have an outfitter at or near them. I am so excited and can't wait to go exploring....with "butterfly".

New Chair Provides comfort without compromise

While browsing Lebarons online catalogue recently I found an inexpensive, collapsible stool that I thought would be perfect for Lauren to use on out trip this summer. I had seen a few people on the AA forums that have used them in the past, so put up a post asking what people thought of it. Many people responded and the reviews were mixed at best. Before long, people started to post chairs they use and for the most part, I had seen most of them before,

...until a member by the name of Dale posted a link to a chair that has the potential of becoming one of my favorite pieces of gear.

Introducing the Trail-Sling Ultralight!

Trail-Sling Ultralight

" The Trail-Sling™ Ultralight's patented collapsible frame makes it a portable genius! When packed down in its handy sack, the Trail-Sling™ Ultralight is as small as a water bottle! In addition to its amazing compactability, the Trail-Sling™ Ultralight unfolds to create a remarkably comfortable off-the-ground seat with back support, ideal after a long day of outdoor activities. The Trail-Sling™ Ultralight's small size is ideal for backpacking but it's so comfortable you'll use it for all your outdoor activities!"

It has received glowing reviews for it's comfort, weight and size. All this seem to good to be true? If you are like me, at this point you are thinking, "That's great but how much does it cost"?

Would you believe $19.00? Seriously, it's only $19 (+ delivery, tax)....crazy eh? You can even check HERE to find a retailer near you and avoid the shipping costs all together. I am luck enough to have a retailer fairly close to my home, so I went there yesterday to try it out. it ever awesome! They had one set-up in the store and it is hands down the best portable chair I ever ever sat in. It's even better then those larger and much heavier portable chairs we all use....much better. I plan to do a full review in the weeks to come, but this sums up the experience.... I went there thinking it might be a product worth looking at and left the store 15 minutes later after buying two.

I go looking for a cheap stool and end up finding the piece of gear that will change my comfort for every future canoe trip....I love the Internet!

Friday, February 22, 2008

CC 2008 is back on!!!

I will post more detail in the days to come, but the trip that I recently wrote was all but dead, is now back on and I couldn't be happier!

Whooooo Whooooo!!

Have a great weekend everyone...

Algonquin Trip Booked!

Today I formally booked the canoe trip I will take with my daughter this summer with Parks Ontario. I outlined the trip in detail HERE, but for some reason never got around to making the reservations. Kind of silly actually, but now that it's all booked, let the planning begin!

Things to do:

  • Sleeping Pad- Find an air mattress that is light enough not to be a burden, but thick enough to provide her some comfort. Maybe I'll can ask a good buddy of mine if we could borrow his Thermarest.
  • Clothes for Lauren to Bring- I need to put together a list of "must have" clothes for her to bring and I will need some help. I tend to ONLY bring the clothes I need, knowing full well that I may have to wear wet clothing as a result. I can't expect her to feel the same way, so the clothing list will have to be more liberal.
  • Meal Plan- Since food is a BIG part of any canoe trip I want the meals for her first Algonquin trip to be out of this world. I will be putting a lot of thought into what meals and snacks we will enjoy. With that in mind, I plan on bringing the outback oven so we can share a pizza or two and maybe even some fresh backed brownies. I will have to consult my trip partner on all choices, after all she is the boss!
  • Tarp- Given my experience on the tornado filled solo trip last July, I won't be taking any chances on being exposed to the elements. If it rains, I want a decent sized place to wait it out. I want to find a light weight, but fairly large ( 15 X 20 ft) tarp. I haven't done a search yet, but I figure such a thing MUST exist....right?
  • Food Barrel- I had to return the barrel and harness I got for Christmas, as it was not very good quality. I will be purchasing the Headstrong harness, but I am still not sure if I should get the 30 or 60 liter barrel. I asked posted the "what should I buy" question over a the Algonquin Adventures forum and you can read the responses by clicking HERE.

Please take 10 minutes to watch this...

I was sent this video yesterday by a friend with a simple message...."Please take the time to watch this". Well I did and it has inspired me to change the way I interact with my family and friends. It was like someone flicked a switch and showed me the person I want to be and even better, exactly how to do it. I am going to try not to take things so seriously from now on and try to enjoy my kids for who they are. Also, I am not someone who is overly material, but I do get hung up on keeping things neat and clean. There is a part of the video where he talks about his new car saying "it's only a thing"...this comment really hit me where I live. Too many times I have raised my voice at the kids for spilling a drink or making a mess and I want that to change.

I am not sure if I can do these things long term and I know that this is going to be hard, but I don't want to waste any more time before I today is day one for me.

Below is the video I was sent and if you have 10 minutes to spare please may just inspire you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Weekend Update!

What a great extra LONG weekend! Very busy, but that's the way I like it baby! Here are the highlights...

  • Jacob's Birthday Party- Nothing like taking care 10 screaming, out of control kids for a couple of hours to make you appreciate how great your own kids are. Jacob enjoyed himself at his 6th birthday party, but at one point asked me "...can we go home...please". He fell asleep on the way home.
  • Gerry and I Grab some Java- After the party, Gerry and I went up to grab a coffee and catch up. We have both been pretty busy lately and it was great to spend a few hours with my buddy. Some BIG news came out of our meeting...more on that in a later post.
  • Hockey, Hockey and more Hockey- I haven't talked about it much this season, but both of my boys are playing hockey this year. Jacob has done very well and is 4th in scoring, despite being the youngest player on the team. He has played in net with some success (even 2 shutouts), but on Saturday he was in net for a 0-9 beating at the hands of the best team in the league. We have enrolled him in summer hockey, lacrosse and soccer, so he will have no problem keeping busy this summer. Ethan on the other hand hated hockey for the first 2 months and I mean HATED it! In fact, I was very close to pulling him out all together when for no particular reason, he started to love it. Now it is all he talks about. Crazy kid!
  • 80's Retro Dance Party - Saturday night Tanyia and I went out with some of the other hockey parents to the 80's Valentines Dance. I don't usually drink, but I think...I repeat, I THINK, I had 8 beer before we even got to the dance. The drinking continued once we arrived, as I got caught-up in the moment. Needless to say the night is a bit of a fog, but it was a great time. We even won the door prize, a really nice I learned the next day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Electric Car

Just imagine pulling up to your favorite Algonquin access point with you canoe secured to the roof of an electric car. Although it may seem like just the kind of thing some tree hugging, canoe toting, Algonquin lover might dream of, Chevy promises their new Volt will make this dream a reality.

Electric vehicles have been around for years, but for the most part have been unable to replace gas powered cars for one main reason....lack of range. If you wanted a vehicle to run around town they were great, but for any trip beyond 100 kms they were useless. So given the choice consumers always choose the gas powered car. I mean, who wants a car that is only good for half of the trips that make the vehicle a necessity.

In 2010 Chevy plans to turn the electric car market on it's ear by mass producing the worlds first electric car with an on-board biodiesel powered generator.

How it works:

  • Plug in in to your household current and it recharges in 6 hours
  • On a full charge it can travel up to 60 kms completely on electric power
  • When the batteries get low the on-board biodiesel generator automatically recharges the batteries, which solves the range problems associated with EV's (electric vehicles)
  • This synergy between electric and combustion engine technology's results in an astonishing 1200-1500 kms per tank of bio-diesel (for long trips), but gas/emission free driving for shorter (sub 60 km) car trips!
From the Official Chevy Volt website:

"The Chevy Volt is just another way Chevy is working to bring you drivable and practical vehicles that help decrease our dependence on petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This major advancement in existing technology will make it possible for those short, up to 40-mile or less commutes to be gasoline-free."

Chevy expects the cost of the vehicle to come in at just above $30,000 mark, but when you factor in the fuel cost savings and the proposed Canadian federal tax credits for this vehicle ( $4000 at purchase and $1000 annually thereafter) it quickly becomes a realistic vehicle for most Canadians families.

I have already placed myself on the waiting list for the Volt and this will be my first EVER GM vehicle. So it seems that GM has started to listen to consumers by producing a vehicle they want and in doing so has started the process of re-establishing itself as leader in the auto sector.

Another great site for news on the development of the Volt can be found HERE

UFC 83 Road Trip!

This is one of many things I had intended to post a while ago, but never got around to it. I am a BIG fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and have always said that if they ever came to Canada that I would be all over it. Well on February 3rd, tickets went on sale for the first ever UFC event in Canada and we managed to snag 6 decent tickets for what could be one of the best UFC events of all time!

From the official UFC 83 site

"UFC comes to Canada for the first time ever on Saturday, April 19th! One year ago, Matt "The Terror" Serra shocked the world by defeating Georges "Rush" St-Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Championship. Now, after defeating Matt Hughes in December, St-Pierre enters the Octagon as the Interim Welterweight Champion to face the man who took his title - this time, in his home province of Quebec. Can Serra beat St-Pierre for a second time? The undisputed king of the 170-pound weight class will be determined at UFC 83: SERRA VS. ST-PIERRE 2- Saturday, April 19, live on Pay-Per-View from Montreal, Quebec "

Since there will be 6 of us going , we decided to make it a true guys weekend and will be traveling up together and spending the weekend. We have a hotel next to the Bell Center and plan to go to the fight, eat, drink and enjoy all the city has to offer. Should be a blast!

CC 2008 may be cancelled

Yes, it seems to be true. Gerry and I have been going to Algonquin for our "Capsized Canoe" trips since 2005, but sadly, it looks as though the 2008 trip will not happen. Without getting into detail, Gerry is in the process of making some major changes in his life and these changes make it difficult for him to know his availability. It's not completely dead, but at this point if the trip was a person, it would be getting last rights while the vultures circled overhead.

I am not sure how to feel about it either. I want to hold onto hope that the trip that has become one of the highlights of the season for me will still happen, but that seems like a real long shot. I feel sad that what was a fun and very quickly becoming a stable tradition may be gone for good. Of course I can still go to Algonquin, but for me it was as much about the park as it was sharing time with one of only a few people that I felt 100% comfortable with. In my life, such a friend is a rare thing.

Now the "kids trip" will still happen, but it will now be a time for me to spend some time 1:1 with my daughter Lauren. I wish Gerry and his boys could have come, but having 3 days to show Lauren why I love the park will be a very unique experience and I look forward to sharing it with her.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Kids first Canoe Trip:Booth Lake July 8-10, 2008

Well it's been decided! Booth lake will be the place where Lauren, Patrick and Mark will have their first Algonquin experience. You know, I am more excited about this one then any other....and trust me, even I didn't think that was possible! But we both love the park so much that the idea of sharing that with the kids has a level of appeal that is difficult to measure. Let's just say it's off the chart exciting!

Now I looked at a bunch of different routes, but after considering all the factors that go into canoe tripping with kids, Booth Lake offered a unique balance. It allows the kids to experience what true interior camping is all about, but shouldn't be too much for them to handle....after all, this will be the start of what we hope will be another annual tradition and we don't want to push them to hard and extinguish the hope of further trips in the years to come.


Day 1, Wednesday July 8, 2008:

Leave the house by 4 am and make our way North to Access point 17, Shall Lake. Gerry will rent his canoe from Algonquin Bound Outfitters located before the cut off to Shall Lake road and then we will make our way up the winding road that leads to Access Point 17. Lauren and I will be in our new/used canoe ( will be purchased in the spring). Our goal for today is to make our way from Shall Lake to an island site on Booth Lake. We will have 2 portages today. The first, a P 90 from Farm to Kitty Lake...a good warm up for the young ones. The second is a P 550 from Kitty to Booth. It's hard to estimate how long this will take, but I would guess about 2-3 hours tops. Once we find a suitable site, the rest of the day will be spend fishing and exploring the highlands that all dotted all over Booth lake that provide an amazing view.

Day 2, Thursday July 9, 2008:

Today we pull up camp and venture out to the low maint portage trails. Out goal for today is the lone low maint campsite on Godda Lake. To get there we will do more portaging then canoeing, but I have been told it's worth the hike. The portages are 380,590 and 1365 which at first might seem a bit much for a group as young as ours, but we are in no rush and plan to double all the portages. This site will be the first time any of us (Gerry and Me included) that we have camped on a low maint site and the fact that it is the ONLY site on the lake made it all the more interesting. Once we arrive we plan on doing some fishing by day and the fire by night...again, being the only ones on the lake should be very cool. What a great way to spend our last night.

Day 3, Friday July 10, 2008:

Today we go home and much of the day will be spent making out way back to Shall lake. Only two portages today 550, 90 and the kids should be pro's by now!


  • The kids will be there for one!
  • More food then before, the Outback oven will even make a brownie or two
  • This will be the first time Gerry and I have had to each carry a canoe...I won't forget the Lakota!
  • We plan to bring chairs and other luxury items
  • The trip is small distance wise, but Gerry and I still get to check out more of the low maint routes/sites we enjoyed on CC2007

Things I still have to do:

  • Meal plan (need to talk to Gerry first)
  • Confirm dates with G