When did we begin preparing for this trip?  Our whole lives.

Wilderness Skills

n1_cascade falls_web

We love to snowshoe during the winter.  Often we will stop to stomp out an area to brew up a cup of tea and bowl of soup.

Our first paddling trip together was down the East Pukaskwa River and onto Lake Superior. We had decided to leave the tent at home and camp under a tarp instead (save weight and be closer to nature). We also decided to leave the stove at home since it was much more cozy to cook over fire. This was essentially our first date – I knew Geoff was the one for me after this trip.

n1_geoff canoeing with klaus_web n1_canoeing with taq_web n1_cub scout1983_web

Geoff has been canoeing his entire life.  He is responsible for introducing many friends to paddling through trips he has guided over the years.  His only advice to me on our first canoe trip was:  “whatever you do, DON’T drop your paddle!”

He is pictured above running a rapid with Klaus Burdack on the Missinaibi River, ON.

Being a cub scout definitely helped him to always be prepared.  (How long until Geoff finds this picture on the website?!)

n1_pam_s palace pictures_web n1_teaching fire making2002_web

I lived, studied, and worked at a wilderness survival school for almost 5 years.  I built a shelter that I lived in for one full year using only natural materials:  cedar, grasses, rope, and cob.  I learned about shelter, water, fire, and food.  My favourite skill is making friction fire without matches.

n1_geoff with whitetail_web

We do a lot of hunting in the fall with my family in Provost.  We butcher and freeze the meat ourselves.  Geoff is pictured above with his Boone and Crocket Whitetail deer.  He shot it on a frozen swamp, so ended up using a tow rope to pull the buck to solid ground.


n1_scotland_web n1_geoff & pam in italy_web

We spent our honeymoon travelling around Europe visiting friends and family.  We did some hiking from hut to hut in Italy.  In Scotland, we went for an 18-mile jog on the West Highland Way trail. We jogged to a pub where we ate soup, drank a beer (Geoff had Scotch) then ran 9 miles back to our B&B.  The Scottish sure know how to build a hiking trail!

n1_ganaraska_web n1_leadville hope pass0001_web n1_pam 100 mile_web n1_buckle_s_web

We have spent many weekends running trails to train for ultra-marathon races (distances ranging from 30 miles to 100 miles).  Our proudest moments have been finishing a 100 mile race.  In Geoff’s case, he’s finished 2 of them!  A tradition of many of the 100 miler races is to give finishers a belt buckle to commemorate their achievement.  Geoff, Ben Guerard, and I are pictured above proudly displaying our hard earned belt buckles (just under 30 hours of continuous running.)

n1_black belt_web

Martial arts have been a part of my life since elementary school.  My ballet teacher gently told my dad that I should stick to Karate.  I took her advice and over the years continued on to attain a black belt in Tae Kwon Do from Master Joo-han Cha at Red Phoenix Tae Kwon Do and Martial Arts in Calgary (www.redpx.com).


 n1_taq under the bed_web n1_taq the neckwarmer_web

We intentionally chose an Alaskan Malamute for our canoe trip.  Geoff had Malamute crosses as pets when he was growing up, and thought they had the right temperament for wilderness travel.  Initially, we thought we would travel in the winter as well.  Once we began the detailed planning, we saw that we would miss too much of the landscape, so we now plan to go out for 3 seasons instead of all 4.

We know bears will be a constant presence in many areas of Canada and a Malamute would be a good size to keep them out of camp.

It’s hard to believe that Taq ever fit under the futon.  He’s all ears and paws!  In a year he is already 100 lbs!

n1_taq on a break_web n1_taq pulling sled 1_web

A wise veterinarian once told us “a tired malamute is an obedient malamute.” One of Taq’s roles on the trip will be to help us pull the canoe during wheeled portages.  Geoff took him out for daily walks during the winter pulling firewood – he loves being out front and pulling.

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The Other Stuff

We lived in Calgary for 30 months saving money to go on this trip. We lived regular, urban, weekend warrior lives. We had all the amenities necessary for urban lifestyle: things like a stereo, toaster, cast iron Dutch ovens, etc. – things we will require again after our trip is finished.

We packed our house into weather, water and bug-proof totes, and put them into storage. It is amazing how much time and energy this actually requires. Finally we sold our truck: we’re almost ready to go!

During the months leading up to the trip we spent a lot of time with friends and family in Ontario and Alberta, time that we felt necessary because once we embark, our visits with these people will be short and seldom.

Anyone willing to be a resupply location?

Depending on our progress, we’ll need to resupply every few weeks. That involves buying fresh food, and picking up maps and supplements. Unfortunately, we don’t know people at each place we must stop. From time-to-time, we’ll need help from volunteers. This would consist of holding a resupply package that comes in the mail until we pass through. Please keep an eye on our newsletter for upcoming places where we will need this type of help.

A very big thank you to Regenesis

We would like to extend a very big thank you to the wonderful people at Regenesis Holistic Inc. – Glenn and Mary Fidler and their staff, Alisha (for her hours on the computer) and Thu. They have spent countless hours building this website and newsletter – all for free! There is no way we could have done it without their great suggestions and support. If you are going to buy from a health food store – please support the good folks at Regenesis: www.regenesis.ca

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One Response to Newsletter #1 Preparations for canoeing across Canada January 19, 2007

  1. Just came across your blog, looking forward to reading through it at coffee times. Thanks for leaving it online and available to read. It will be good to fuel the imagination through the upcoming winter months!


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