Since we bought our canoe, we gave ourselves the mission to canoe at least once a week to get used to our boat as well as train for our canoe expedition next spring.
From july 17 to 21 we went to Marten River Provincial Park in Slave Lake, about 3 hours north of Edmonton. The camping is located close of the Slave Lake shores, a very large lake. From the beach, we could not see the other side of the lake ... it was like the sea! To be sure to have fun in the water for four days, we have brought few toys; two canoes, 1 stand up paddleboard, 1 whitewater kayak and a small inflatable boat! True to herself Mother Nature gave us 4 days of hot sun on the sandy beach ... not! Well it hasn't been that bad, in fact it was very good weather for paddling, we got two days of strong wind that as creates waves that are worthy of the sea! Despite a cloudy weather, we were very excited at the idea of trying our boat in the big wave! Just getting in the boat was a challenge and the wave always gave us the impression that we were going to capsize but no! We paddled hard, we braced many times and despite the canoe getting rocked by the waves we stayed afloat and all that accompanied by our son Mali, who laughed and said again, yahoo!
Seing Slave Lake being in these conditions reinforced our perception that it wasn’t a very good idea to paddle Lake Superior next summer. When the wind blows on a lake this size, our 17 foot canoe seems small in the midst of huge waves that never cease to sweep! Just 2 waves were enough to fill our canoe full of water which also made us realize how a canoe skirt will be valuable on some of the other big lakes we will paddle. On our last day, Mother Nature took a break, just to catch her breath I guest! So we decided to try to paddle to a peninsula that lied about 15km from the shore. In a normal canoeing day we paddle about 40-50 km a day, so 15km should not be so bad ... But when we got far from the shore and the peninsula seemed as far as the beginning, of feeling of vulnerability took over! What if the wind picked up, what if there was a storm ... hum. After hearing a few thunders in the distance, we turn back and conceded the victory to Mother Nature! We still did 5 km round trip in about 1 hour which allowed us once more to admire and respect Mother Nature more than ever!
Thanks to our friends, Colin, Nicole, Delphine and Emile, without you it wouldn't have been the same!