Trip Stats Review:

  • Estimated distance traveled since Victoria, BC:  4,320 km
  • Total distance portaged since Victoria, BC: 240 km
  • Number of bears Taq has scared away from camp (that we know of): 6
  • Longest portage: 95 km over 3 mountain passes including the Continental Divide (Harrogate Pass, Wolverine Pass, and Ball Pass)

n15_geoff, pam, jude & taq_web

This is a picture of our newly expanded family.  Jude is now nearly 8 ½ months old.  Taq is 4 ½ years old.  Geoff and I are both…older.

This winter has been full of many exciting changes:

  • Jude joined us in October.  He continues to grow and change in exciting new ways every day.
  • Katy (Geoff’s Mom) is doing very well.  She has responded well to the treatments and is now doing follow-up tests to ensure she stays clear.
  • We bought our first house in Calgary this spring. Seeing our stuff again is like Christmas!  It is wonderful to finally unpack after having it in storage for nearly 4 years.

Most people should know by now that timelines with us are loose at the best of times.  Now that we have Jude, they are even more laughable.  Geoff is finished work this Thursday, July 8, 2010.  Our plan is to finish packing up our gear, pile it all in the Toyota, and head for Tobin Lake, Saskatchewan.

n15_taq waiting by canoe_web

As you can see, Taq is on to us.  He is already sticking to the canoe like glue – he doesn’t want to be left behind!

Paddling with an 8 ½ month old infant?

Many people seem surprised that we will be paddling with baby Jude; however, we are not the first people to canoe with an infant.  In fact, David Thompson and his wife, Charlotte, spent many days on the waterways of Canada with their 13 children while David surveyed and mapped various areas.

 n15_jude in boat_web

Margo’s Cargo is not the first boat Jude has been in.  He is pictured above while sitting in a boat (cradle) made by his Grandpa, Phil Harrison.

There will be some logistical challenges (portages will be slow), but we can’t think of a better way to spend the summer.  It will be wonderful to share our passion for the outdoors with Jude.

n15_geoff_s drawing_web

We’ll address a few of the most common questions:

What about bugs?

We have bug nets (an infant bug jacket and a bug cover for the pack carrier), and a family-size bug shelter for camp.

What about diapers?

We will be using cloth diapers that will be washed each day with earth-friendly soap and sterilized in the sun.  Our camp will look like a laundry-mat most days, and we’ll be bringing enough diapers to hold us over for rainy periods as well.

What will he wear?

We are grateful to Pam’s mother, Allyson, who sewed a whole bunch of outdoor clothing for Jude to wear.  Thanks to her, he has quick-dry onesies, fleece gro-bags to sleep in, fleece overalls, a quick-dry cover for his down gro-bag and has had some clothing modified to be more functional.

What will he eat?

Jude is still nursing in addition to eating solid foods. We’ve dehydrated a variety of healthy foods for him to enjoy such as:  apples, pears, zucchini, raspberries, peas, green beans, etc.

How far do we think we’ll get this summer?

That is a great question.  Notwithstanding the added “baby variable”, it all depends on Lake Winnipeg.  It is a moody, shallow lake.  There aren’t too many days that the wind isn’t blowing.  Since the lake is so shallow, it tends to kick up choppy waves that are difficult to paddle.  As we were on the ocean, we’ll have to be patient, monitor Environment Canada’s weather forecast, and paddle like crazy on the good days.  We have about 500 km to paddle on the north and east shore.  Depending on the weather, it could take a week…or a month!  We’re bringing plenty of food, a few toys for Jude and a big bug tent to hang out in.

Track us with SPOT

Safety has always been a big priority for us; it is especially important now that Jude will be traveling with us.  In addition to a satellite phone, we will be bringing a device called SPOT (Satellite Personal Tracker).

Each day we camp, we can hit a button that will transmit our coordinates to selected recipients.  This will make it possible to track our progress.

If we are ever in an emergency, it has a 911 button that will transmit our coordinates to rescue services that will immediately dispatch a crew to help us.

We love to hear from you.  Please feel free to e-mail us any greetings, questions, comments, or handy tips (especially for canoeing with an infant.)  We’re always eager to learn from other people’s experiences. Have a great summer!

Geoff, Pam, Jude and Taq

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