Sunday, March 31, 2013

Year in Review - 2012

2012 may not have been the ideal tripping year, but it certainly
 was important. Time to get married!
Photo: Anice Wong

Two thousand and twelve was an off year for me. It was an anomaly when compared to previous years, in regards to the number of trips, and the amount of days spent out in the bush. In all respects, I did not expect some banner or record year, considering what was going on in my life, but based on plans I had in place, it would still have been a great year. Unfortunately, unexpected circumstances changed our plans significantly and altered how the year played out. Regrets? I would have to say no for the most part. But because I had to reflect back for this review, it's too bad it didn't go as planned. The ideal circumstances would have had me not only getting the cake, but eating it too! But alas, life is unpredictable and sometimes that's what makes it interesting - well sometimes. Ultimately, I am thankful for many things that did happen last year, and considering, lucky for the many opportunities I did get to head out on canoe trips!

Island site on Noganosh Lake - Who doesn't love tenting
under towering red pines?

Tallying the numbers, I headed out on 5 trips totalling 29 days. It's certainly nothing to be disappointed about, but it is less than half of the time I usually spend on canoe trips. Twenty-twelve may not be remembered as a tripping year, but it certainly will stand out for the many other significant things that did happen. Looking back, I am happy it is all over. There are memories from the past year that I will cherish for a lifetime, but it's also nice to look forward to a normal one. Sure, it will be another regular year of more canoe trips and tromping around in the bush, but call me crazy. I wouldn't have it any other way!

The towering peaks and cliffs along the Mississagi river had
us craning our necks, admiring the scenery.

The tripping season started later than I hoped. After the extremely mild winter and the jump start to an early spring, I should have been out on a trip at the beginning of April. Unfortunately, things didn't pan out that way. I was especially envious when friends asked me to join them on an Easter weekend trip, but regretfully, I had to decline. Despite the missed opportunity, I was finally able to head out at the end of the month with Anita to the French River to open the season. Nothing like the thrill of the first canoe trip after a long dormant winter!

The next trip during the May long weekend was a hit and miss route along the Gibson river, when I couldn't book sites at a provincial park. It was a trip that surprised our group with some great scenery, including the numerous falls along the way. The part we could have skipped, was the large lakes we had to cross where cottages and weekend party'ers populated the shoreline. It's unfortunate that a great route located close to the city couldn't totally be isolated. But maybe that is why the non-canoeist are there too! My advice, paddle the route in the off season.

The French River is one of my favourite paddling destinations.
Go early and you will have the place to yourselves!

Come June, Anita and I headed off to visit a new unmaintained park that I had very little information about. With some bits and pieces of information from various sources, we put together what seemed to be a fairly easy trip. Little did we know, that the 'easy trip' was far from the truth. It wasn't that I expected an easy route, rather, it was because I didn't expect a challenging one. Despite the extra effort, it was well worth it. It may have been hard not to notice the hunt camps and cabins along the way, but we couldn't deny the sense of seclusion and tranquillity in the pockets of wilderness we found. The experience was positive enough that we are definitely going back.

Wanting our ring bearer to participate in the themed wedding,
this paddle set up worked out great!
Photo: Anny Chiu

Before the month of June ended, I was off again with a group of friends to paddle the Mississagi River. The logistics of this river trip make it challenging for many canoeist due to the long shuttle. Despite being a set back for some, we decided that enduring the long shuttle was worth experiencing this river. The rewards were plentiful with the varied scenery and terrain that we found captivating. Not surprisingly, this was also the trip that Tom Thomson took exactly 100 years ago that really inspired his painting of landscapes, not Algonquin as everyone is led to believe. Tom Thomson claimed it to be the "finest canoe trip in the world", while a another notable canoeist, Grey Owl, claimed it as "the King among rivers". Who can argue with them? The landscape has changed since then, by humans of course, but it is easy to see how it was, and still is a great route for a canoe trip.

Parts of the Gibson River were surprisingly isolated and scenic.
As long as you know which parts to avoid!

Once summer had started, it was obvious things were falling apart, at least in terms of our tripping plans. Our carefully crafted schedule and plan to both trip and prepare for the wedding wasn't going to be feasible any more. There was more pressing issues to deal with, so unfortunately, canoe trips had to take a back seat. Surprisingly, Anita wouldn't hear of it, at least to a point. She really wanted to head out for one more trip before we tied the knot, especially since she missed out on the previous one. So off we went on a short trip to explore a crown land route. It was a great reprieve from the stress, but a chance to reaffirm why we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives. What better place than on a canoe trip!

After the last trip, our focus immediately turned to our upcoming move and wedding. Things definitely got crazy, but thankfully, all the planning and preparation paid off come wedding day. It had its challenges and headaches, but it was totally worth it. I mean, how many times do you hear about an actual canoe wedding? Unfortunately, this was the last time Anita and I shared a paddle in a canoe for the rest of the year. Originally, there was plans for us to head off on our honeymoon right after, and yes, it was on a canoe trip. Unfortunately, because we had just moved into our home before the wedding, the house was a disaster, and on top of all that, I got sick the day after. So much for that plan!

The Queen Elizabeth 2 Wildlands, a great paddling destination
in southern Ontario. Although, probably better
 when there's water!

Speaking of which, I still do owe my wife a honeymoon. Months have passed since our marriage, but I haven't forgotten this special time and very important 'rite of passage'. All is not lost. I may have been dormant the last several months, but my head has not been idling away. There is a novel idea that has been brewing in my head for a paddling honeymoon, which I plan to share with you in a future post. It's also an opportunity for my readers to provide some input and suggestions too!

All in all, it may have been one crazy year, but it all turned out for the best. Looking ahead, you can bet I want to make up for last year. There are already a few trips in place for this year, such as a whitewater trip on the Noire River in Quebec, a couple weeks in Wabakimi Provincial Park, as well as revisiting Queen Elizabeth 2 Wildlands to explore the east side of the park. I have to say, it's been the longest stretch of time between canoe trips I've had to endure in a long time, but it hasn't in the least tempered my passion. In fact, it has only increased my longing to head out. I have to totally agree with the oft quoted saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder". Although, who knew it could also refer to canoe trips! 

Appropriate footwear for an outdoor wedding. Just try
and ignore my butt shot - thanks Anny!
Photo: Anny Chiu

Looking forward to an amazing paddling year in 2013!
Hope to see some of you out there!


Friday, March 15, 2013

Canoe Story of the Year - 2011

It took place here, on the shores of Plastic Lake

The idea for this post came about when I had an incredible experience on a canoe trip in 2011. In general, I think I can say I have had amazing experiences on most trips, but occasionally something happens that quite literally leaves you speechless. You know, those times you question whether it just happened, or for that matter, if anyone would believe you if you told them? Quite often, these things happen so quickly and unexpectedly you don't even have the opportunity to capture it. It may be the rare instance where you have the camera/video camera in hand, but most times you don't. The only record of it, is now in that grey matter of yours. 

There would obviously only be one story per year, but I would have to wait until the year ended to evaluate all my trips before selecting the one to write about. I would also imagine that in some years, there may not be anything that exciting to write about, but then again, other years there may be plenty. In any case, I'll go year by year and see how this all plays out. I just hope that whatever I have to share with you, you can vicariously experience this amazing event alongside me.

Finding this Northern Ringed-Neck snake under our tent was
 certainly  cool, (Surprisingly not crushed!) but
 not as amazing as what followed.

I had planned to share this post with you in 2012, but as you all know, things have been pretty busy with me last year. The plan is to have this "Best of" post in the early part of the new year. I already have an amazing story to share in 2012 with you, despite the shortened season, (And no, it's not the canoe wedding!) but will have to do it later in the year. For now, let's go back to September of 2011 when I was out on a 4 day canoe trip in the Haliburton Highlands Watertrail area.

I was with a new paddling friend named Jennifer, whom I had met at the Sportsmen Show earlier in the year. She was working with the Birds of Prey folks and had come over to our Eureka booth to look for a tent and sleeping pad. I got her all set up with a good deal, but during the exchange, I found out not only did she know about birds, but was also an arborist. One discussion led to another, where I then found out that she had lead some canoe trips up in northern Ontario. Before parting ways, we exchanged emails and agreed to stay in touch, with the possibility of heading out on a canoe trip together.

Months passed before we got in contact again, but when we did, we agreed on a short canoe trip together in September. As she was located near the Haliburton area, we decided to head to that area to paddle. I picked out a moderately easy route in the Leslie Frost area, passing through landscape I was familiar with, including new areas that I haven't been to. It would be a good mix of paddling and portaging, while seeing how well we jived together on a trip. 

Skirting a section of muck, Jennifer handily shoulders a barrel
 on the 1150m portage to Sherbourne Lake

Jennifer was a natural in the outdoors, as would be expected for an arborist and someone with knowledge about birds. I know my trees fairly well, but it was great having someone along the way, teaching me new things about trees. In the bird field, I'm fairly lacking except for the obvious ones, so it was interesting to learn about our avian friends from her along our route. Most importantly, we worked well together paddling along the waterways and portaging through a variety of terrains. 

The morning of day three, we were camped at Plastic Lake, probably the lake with the least inviting name. (I've still to figure out why.) The day dawned beautifully, as there was a faint hint of mist across the lake, and the water was like glass. We took the morning to sit by shore to soak it all in, with me occasionally getting up to take a few shots with my camera. At one point, I finally got up and walked up the rocky slope to the tent site above to change into my tripping clothes. I was getting hungry and it was time to get breakfast going. After putting on a different shirt, I stood up behind the tent to change my pants. It was after I removed them, that's when I heard it. (Why does it always happen after you've taken your pants off?)

Just finishing the portage into Plastic Lake, Jennifer looks at the
map to determine where the campsites are.

I've spent enough time in the bush to identify certain sounds, and like most times, it was obvious. I could hear the low resonating beat of heavy hooves heading my way. It was just a question of which ungulate, a moose or a deer? In my anticipation and nervousness, I made a pathetic squeak out to Jennifer to let her know something was coming. (Found out later she didn't even hear me.) I turned my back to the lake as I looked towards the trail just behind our tent. (This path leads to the other campsite further along the shore.) I quickly realized the pace was fast, in fact very fast, and it was heading towards our camp! In my eureka moment, I realized if this thing came up the pathway, not only would the tent be in the way, so would I! In that short time, standing with just my drawers on, you'd think I'm move, but in fact I actually froze!

What was seconds before, a nervous anticipation of seeing an animal, was now a growing fear. My eyes were transfixed down the trail into the nebulous space of pine needles, leaves and shadows. I was starting to feel the reverberations in the ground as the thumping got louder. Then came the sounds of thrashing leaves, snapping branches and even the distinct heavy breathing associated with a hard run. It was then, wondering what was driving this beast to run at such a mad tempo towards our open campsite, I caught a glimpse of the multi-pronged antlers heading my way. It was a large male deer barrelling up the small incline towards me. Like the white pine standing stoutly behind me, I stood just as resolutely, holding my breath, wondering why my fight or flight instincts weren't kicking in! I believe it is usually at these moments, when some people un-admittedly relieve themselves, but the only benefit to my stiff body, was the fact the sphincters below my bladder were as immovable as my stance! That still didn't change the fact the deer was snorting heavily and heading directly towards me!

It all started here, right behind the tent!

Was it my 3 day old smell, or the sight of a half naked human being, I will never know, but not more than 10 feet in front of me, the deer remarkably did an abrupt 90 degree turn into the bush away from me. With barely a breath of relief, my body stiffened once again. Hot on the heels of the stag, was a wolf! Going at a frightening pace, it's head low and ears pulled back, it too turned into the forest. The flash of angry grey fur was more than I could fathom as I still stood in shock in the same place, now following the chase by sound. I could hear the continued crash of flesh against vegetation around the back of our campsite, which then followed down the outside perimeter of our camp towards the lake. I may have finally exhaled a breath of relief at that point, but it was again short lived. The chase was now heading towards the lake - and Jennifer!

It's strange how the body works. Evolutionary processes would normally dictate self-preservation, especially in times of fear and danger, like it did just moments ago. I certainly wasn't going to fight, but where was my flight reaction?! Yet when I was concerned about my fellow paddler, my legs actually started that accelerated gait called a run. (I'm pretty certain there's some short-circuits in my head.) Midway down the hill, yelling at Jennifer about some big bad wolf, I heard a huge splash. Was it Jennifer, or the deer?! By the time I got to shore, literally almost tripping in my floppy imitation Crocs (and skivvies), Jennifer was standing by shore looking at the stag swimming out into the middle of the lake. 

A bit rattled, she told me she heard the raucous coming down her way, as she then witnessed the deer leap straight into the lake a few feet from her! Thankfully, it missed her, as my pathetic attempts to warn her fell on deaf ears. (There was dense brush behind her so she couldn't see what was coming.) I immediately asked about the wolf, as she looked at me puzzled. I quickly relayed the events not minutes ago, as her eyes widened with amazement. We both then looked around us, wondering where the wolf was. Wolves usually don't bother with humans, but what if this one was pissed I ruined it's chances? Full bent on taking the stag down, it was probably full of adrenaline and possibly interested in the next closest warm-blooded mammal(s)! The other question that soon became apparent was whether this wolf was working in a pack or on it's own, as I only witnessed the one. In any case, we backed away into the centre of camp, away from the forested edge as we peered around nervously.

It was peaceful and tranquil,the morning of day three;
however, it didn't stay that way!

Defensively holding onto a large stick, while straining to listen for any signs of movement, we were also quite aware how quiet the area had become. Prior to this, we could hear birds chirping and the local red squirrels chattering away, but now there was dead silence. It was like every living thing around, knew that there was a top level predator around and no one was willing to give up their position. After what seemed like eternity, we realized the wolf (or wolves) had melted back into the shadows just as quickly as they came. We also wondered if the wolf continued running along the shore to head off the deer once it came out of the water. In any case, it would be a long run as the stag was far off in the middle of the lake.

With some time to settle and finally digest the whole incident, we realized the deer's plan all along was in fact to run into the lake to ward off the wolf, as it knew it wouldn't follow. We were amazed, as we didn't know that this was a deer survival tactic, or that they could even swim long distances. I've seen many deer on canoe trips, but this would be my first sighting of one in the water, let alone swimming! The deer had obviously meant to take the open run along the trail into our camp, and then down to the lake to increase it's lead over the wolf. My presence and placement obviously prevented that. I'm not partial to either the deer escaping or being caught, but the thought of me being the reason for the deer's demise was a bit, how do you say? Oops?! Even more unsettling, if it was being shred to pieces by our camp!

After about 30 minutes, life returned to the area as the collective chorus of sounds started their usual refrain. Feeling confident nothing was lurking around, I took the time to inspect the trail where the chase took place and located the obvious gouges left in the soft pine needle floor where hooves and pads had just tore a strip. I was both amazed and astonished that Jennifer and I got to witness this event, and even more grateful that the chase diverted around me and Jennifer. (Or quite frankly, I'd be telling a different story!) In any case, it was an incident that I, nor Jennifer, will ever forget. Having spent a lot of time in the bush, I've seen many deer and wolves, but not ever together, let alone in this type of circumstance. It could simply be stated as being at the right place at the right time. 

The whole incident not only shook us up, but really got our
appetites going! Omelets anyone?

The rest of the trip finished without incident, other than being spooked by another deer along a portage. It ended up being a great trip, with 'the chase' certainly being the highlight. It was a privilege getting this rare opportunity to actually witness the life and death struggles of these wild animals, which we often only get to see on TV. We sometimes forget, when we get caught up in the beauty of the environment, that this is going on constantly 'behind the scenes'. But in reality, this darker side is a big part of life in the forest.

 I know I sometimes take for granted when I cut into a steak, or chomp into a burger. This incident gave me a greater appreciation of the world outside our life of convenience, when we can easily pay to have our hunger looked after almost immediately. How often do we go hungry, even when we are 'on the hunt' in a grocery store? Thankfully, this canoe trip, as well as many before, often keeps me from forgetting that notion. I bet the deer was relieved that his instincts and flight reaction allowed him to survive another day. Now, if only I can get my flight reaction to work too!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Canoe Wedding

Sept 23, 2012, the moment of truth
Photo: Anice Wong

As a avid canoeist, I have to first and foremost thank my loving wife for allowing me to have this canoe wedding. It really was a dream come true. It was a fitting ceremony that perfectly reflected my passion for paddling and our love of the outdoors. I couldn't have been happier! Thank you love!

Days before the wedding, I was obsessed with regularly checking the weather forecast. One minute it was looking doubtful, then the next there was hope. I was stressed. There was many other things that I needed to focus my attention and energy on, but because the wedding hinged on the weather, the anxiety was never very far. Mike Armstrong, the superintendent of Awenda Provincial Park emailed me the night before the wedding and told me not to concern myself with the weather forecast. He said the fronts coming off the bay were changing hourly and encouraged me to go ahead with the original plans. Mike then told me to rest up and enjoy my last night being single. Ironically, it was far from that. I was home alone, as Anita was in Barrie at her sister's place for the early morning prep, neither enjoying it or having a restful sleep!

Prepping for the wedding under overcast skies and rain
Photo: Anice Wong

On the early drive up Highway 400, the weather was fickle, much like the forecast had been for the past week. The day dawned grey, but the sun was now shinning forth from the east and slivers of blue began to appear everywhere. However hopeful those moments were, they were crushed once we past Barrie. As ominous as it could only be, there was a dark mass of low clouds that spanned the horizon directly ahead of us - my spirit sunk. As we approached, Maral, our wedding coordinator and good friend who was driving me, told me to ignore what lay ahead and only think positive thoughts. I was mess of fluctuating emotions, much like a rapid sine wave. It would be a HUGE stretch to say I was cracking a smile and looking relaxed. When it darkened all around us and the rain came down in torrents, so much so that cars had to slow down, there wasn't any sign of positive vibes around me for a mile!

Leave it to Rob to take it up a notch or two when the decorative
boundaries didn't set the way it was supposed to!
Photo: Anice Wong 

Just before we arrived at the park, the rain had stopped - there was hope again. A crew sent down by Mike to clean up the area was just leaving as we pulled into the parking lot of Kettle Lake. There was already a few people there to help with the set up, so we quickly unloaded and got started. It was wet everywhere, but the clouds were already parting and the sun was even coming back out again. I crossed my fingers as I ran back and forth dealing with questions and issues with the set up. At one point, the rain did come again, so we all had to make a mad dash to cover things up, but luckily it wasn't as bad as the previous downpour. I was nervous and worried as ever, but there was no time to think about the weather any more. People were starting to arrive and we still had last minute things to do. In my preoccupation, little did I know that the weather was breaking above me.

Almost all set to go, would the weather cooperate?
Photo: Anny Chiu

The original plan for the wedding was for the whole thing to take place on the water. The one change that had to be accommodated was taking our vows on the deck by the lake. My novel idea of exchanging vows on the water, in canoes, was quickly challenged and squashed. As you can imagine, it carries a certain amount of risk, and even though I would have keeled over in laughter if we fell in, I'm sure many would not share my sentiment - terra firma it was. Our procession took place paddling down the aisle between our friends in canoes on either side. (Yes, we had a canoe audience!)  I got to paddle in first, solo, then the rest of the party followed. The 'boys' from Paddle Shack played a huge role in sterning the canoes in, with a groomsman at the bow and the bridesmaid sitting daintily in the middle with the bouquet. All the while, immersed in the soul stirring strings of Pachelbel's Canon in D, resonating across the lake. If the sight of the paddling procession wasn't moving enough, the music was the clincher. Then it came time for the bride.

Flower petals for the processional lane
Photo: Anice Wong

I managed to hold it together for the whole wedding, but when I saw Jay paddling the stunning red cedar canvas canoe around the bend with my beautiful wife-to-be, I had to catch my breath. It was that brief fleeting moment that made me realize it was all worth it. All the planning, headaches, and effort that went into this canoe wedding - everything. I managed to stay steady on my two feet, willing tears from pouring out of my eyes as I looked out across the lake. My vision may have been a bit blurry, but that beautiful scene will always remain in my mind for as long as I live. It was simply incredible.

Here comes the bride! (Thanks Jay!)
Photo: Anice Wong

The rest of the ceremony went as planned with the weather actually cooperating. In fact, the sun was shinning through between large masses of clouds as they slowly moved through. I was so relieved everything was working out as I hoped. Although, there was one incident that managed to hold our collective breaths during the ceremony. During the ring exchange, the reverend's attempt to give Anita the ring ended up rolling off his notes and went bouncing along the deck floor. All we could think of was the ring slipping through the cracks to the water and mud below. Luckily it didn't, and that brief moment gave everyone quite the laugh, as the reverend breathed a huge sign of relief. Nothing like a little bit of drama to spice up the moment! Besides exchanging traditional rings, we exchanged paddles as well, as a token symbol of what we plan to do for the rest of our lives together. 

The ring was successfully recovered and promptly
placed on my ring finger!
Photo: Anice Wong

The clouds certainly added drama to the scenery,
but luckily not in the form of rain!
Photo: Anice Wong

The ceremony ended with Anita and I paddling out to the middle of the lake as our canoe guest blew bubbles our way. Our paddling guest then joined us together as one big flotilla for a nice group shot before concluding the wedding. It was finally all over. All my worries, anxieties, and fears during the week were for naught, as the wedding turned out perfect. I couldn't have asked for more. Was it meant to be, or was it just fluke, or did a higher power have something to do with it, I have no clue. Either way, I'm just grateful that everything worked out so well, because after some photos, packing up, and saying goodbyes, the rains came again. Phew!

The successful conclusion to not just a wedding,
but a canoe wedding!
Photo: Anice Wong

The reception was like any traditional wedding, with a few noticeable differences. Such as mini decorated canoe at the reception area for the gifts, ornamental wooden canoes at the tables (These were a hit, everyone wanted one!), canoe cookies as gift for the parting guests, and most noticeably the wedding cake. Normally at a wedding you don't make your own cake, but as Anita and her father were once bakers, they naturally took it upon themselves to make it. Although surprisingly, Anita took the wedding theme to dressing the cake and literally ran with it! As I was not privy to the design, I had a good laugh when I got to see it for the first time the night before. Let's just say, the wedding cake was not only hilarious, but got quite the reaction! See below.

Anita's creativity coming through in the cake design.
Appropriate, but should I be worried?!
Photo: Ellen Lee

Lastly, speeches at weddings can sometimes be a bit drawn out and sappy. I was specifically instructed by my future mother-in-law to ensure there wasn't many and that they were all short. Well, that was after I requested both my groomsmen and best man to give a speech - oops! Concerned, I urged and reminded them to keep it short and light-hearted. It didn't help when they told me how many pages they had at the reception hall! I was worried. Yet, once the speeches started, it was a continuum of non-stop laughter. Literally, all of them had the audience in stitches, including Anita and I. They all spoke about my passion for paddling, but threw in a healthy dose of ridicule, sarcasm and jokes my way. I found out later, everyone that followed the first speech was worried how they were going to measure up to the previous one, but in fact, they honestly just got better! Even when it got to Anita's turn to hear it from her sister's, it didn't stop. We were in tears. It certainly was the highlight of the reception, so much so that I was approached by many afterwards and told they were the best wedding speeches ever. Not surprisingly, the wedding speeches were longer than expected, but when my mother-in-law came by afterwards and told me the speeches were terrific, I knew I was off the hook!

The speeches were the highlight of the reception.
We couldn't stop laughing!
Photo: Anice Wong 

The day finally ended just before midnight. We were tired, but it was a good tired. There was a warm fuzzy feeling inside of us and we were basking in the afterglow. It certainly was a very long day with all the extra travel, but every bit of it was totally worth it. Everything and everyone came together when it counted, and like a tough canoe trip, we worked through everything and came out of it with unforgettable experiences and  memories. The dream had actually come true.

A canoe wedding - who would have ever thought?

Canoe cookies for our guest. As you can guess, Anita and
 her father were very busy baking!
Photo: Ellen Lee

The ornamental canoes were more popular
than the centrepieces!
Photo: Anice Wong

Any wedding, let alone a canoe wedding wouldn't be possible without the help and assistance of many people. Anita and I want to especially thank those that made this unique wedding possible.

Mike Armstrong, Awenda Provincial Park
- Mike's advice and support, including recommending Kettle Lake, which sealed the deal
- to park staff we dealt with and even those that cleaned up before the wedding

Photo: Anice Wong

Many Alcaide,  Meta Telemedia Group
- a friend who unfortunately couldn't be there, but generously provided the sound system

Kelly McDowell, The Complete Paddler
- who provided the mini gift-accepting-canoe and some paddles

Photo: Ellen Lee

Reverend Gerry McMillan
- for officiating over our marriage and accepting the unique circumstances that came with it
- incorporating an element of canoeing in our vows, that spoke to the paddler in all of us

Photo: Anice Wong

The Paddle Shack 'Boys' - Jay, Chris & Brett
- the 'sternsmen' for the wedding procession, you guys were the anchor! 
- for providing their beautiful line of Alchemist canoes for the ceremony including paddles & life jackets
- Chris allowing us to use his gorgeous cedar canvas canoe, a 1928 Peterborough Champlain
- the "Just Married" paddle created by Jay & his mom
- supplying us the popular ornamental canoes

Photo: Anice Wong

And lastly, to all my canoe tripping friends. Without all of you, this canoe wedding wouldn't have been possible!

Photo: Anice Wong

Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!

Photo: Anice Wong

With love and gratitude,
David & Anita

And as they say,....the rest is history!
Photo: Anice Wong