I was lucky enough to lead canoe programs at Arrowhead every year from 2004 to 2009. One experience that really stood out was “Paddle the Big East” in 2005 (or 2004) , with author Bob Henderson as a special guest, in which we took a huge urn (80 cups) of Tim Horton’s coffee with us! Myself and co-leader Tim, portaged Stubbs Falls with the urn which Bob Henderson thought was hilarious…a first for Bob!
Other authors were invited on these experiences; like Hap Wilson, Carol and Bruce Hodgins , and Max Finkelstein. Unfortunately, Hap Wilson was always running some wild Arctic river during the summer so could never make it! Max couldn’t come for the trip but did come and do a great presentation called Canoeing a Continent.
We had some good times sharing the little patch of water known as Arrowhead Lake and occasionally the Big East and Little East Rivers in Arrowhead Provincial Park. Myself, a half dozen co-leaders and over 1000 paddlers (over the years) spent time together on Sunday mornings during the summers from 2004 to 2009. We watched the mist rise as we loaded our canoes and we took the day’s first paddle strokes while miniature mist twisters spiraled up off the lake in the morning sun. We learned a lot about the lake, its place in the region and wildlife, but mostly we learned about ourselves and how we could just “be”, while out there floating in the lake. We watched clouds, told stories and occasionally I would break out a surprise snack that we could enjoy while rafted together in the middle of the lake.
I want to thank everyone who participated in Canoe in the Mist, Paddle the Big East, the Canoe Rodeos and presentations at Arrowhead about canoeing. Leading canoe experiences was one the best things about being an interpreter. . Most of the joy for me was leading others to discover a joy in nature that they had never known.
Canoe Trip Leader