Six reaons NOT to go canoeing with children (and why we do it anyway)

1.  Packing

Packing for three days in the back country takes me at least one full roll-up-the-sleeves-and-set-your-jaw kind of  day.  Especially when my daughters are simultaneously playing, eating, and creating like it’s the last day they’ve got left to live.

Mama’s thoughts: “AUUGGHHH. Can’t you children just sit in one spot for the whole day so we can leave this house clean???”

2.  Leaving

I hereby challenge any loving, mature couple to strap themselves, their kids, their gear and two boats into/onto a small car.  If you are able to manage the feat unscathed, you have my utmost respect.  I owe you even more if your child has diarrhea at the side of the road, five miles after setting off from home.

3.  Repacking

…from the car to the canoe, from the canoe to the campsite, from the campsite to the canoe, from the canoe to the campsite, from the campsite to the canoe… you get the idea

The trip starts with a small river… and a bit of a sprinkle

I know this is supposed to be a “con” picture, but do you see that long natural beach!

4.  The weather

Heard on the radio as we pulled out of our driveway:  “Rain in southern, central, and northern parts of the province… plan on staying at home on the couch with some blankets and a movie…”

Fortunately the rain didn’t turn out to be a problem.  We did encounter wind on the second day.  And, since wind = whitecaps = swamping our canoe, we piled all our gear into the biggest canoe, sent the men off to battle the waves, and then hiked 7 km to our next campsite with the three kids.  I’m not sure who had the hardest job.  Weirdly enough, Stan said it was the highlight of the trip…

Honestly, those whitecaps were bigger than they look!

This was our first trip with another family. It was wonderful having another 2 adults around for situations such as this one.

5.  Winged insects

I spotted approximately two mosquitoes this weekend so I feel sheepish claiming this one, but Susanna did get stung twice by hornets.  Stan looked at me immediately, then at the ground, and asked, “What do we do for this?”  I didn’t get it for a moment and then my eye caught a plantain leaf.  In the next second we were both chewing on plantain to make a spit poultice for her fresh bites.  Plantain acts as an anti-histamine and an anti-inflammatory.  It is also used to draw out poison from snake and insect bites.  Although Susanna wasn’t thrilled to have her parents saliva dripping off her, it did seem to help.

6.  Wildlife

Shalain and I were about 25 meters from our campsite when we heard a rustling noise in a nearby berry patch.  The kind of rustling that makes your blood feel like fire in your veins.  I gripped my bear spray and she got her bear bangers ready; then we met her husband Kent.  He had just run into the same bear.  It stared at him, he stared back, and then it ambled into the raspberries.  Not an epic story after all.

homemade bear bells

So why do we bother to go at all?

I could answer by recommending Last Child in the Woods or reflecting on how it feels like time travel to be in the back country-as if cell phones and blogs like these cease to exist.  Instead, I’ll just post a few more pictures.

I didn’t pack any toys, not even the stuffies, and they survived.

Shalain, Lake and Kent with Belén

Fish from the first day. Belén caught the whopping pickerel (walleye) in the middle. Next time I’ll pack less wieners and more lemon and butter.

Thanks for the bow saw, Derek.

Susanna took this from the car

How do you and your family enjoy the back country?

Any canoe trip recommendations out there?

PS.  About that kayak Stan made… it turns out it needs a few tweaks before we’ll take it on another trip.

We started the trip towing the girls behind us in the kayak. It didn’t track well and the whole thing resulted in a lot of screaming and two soaked kids. After five minutes on the water we ditched the kayak in the bush and repacked.


8 thoughts on “Six reaons NOT to go canoeing with children (and why we do it anyway)

  1. So nice to see your pictures – it looks like you enjoyed yourselves, despite your list! Our camping trip, on the other hand, went stale around reason number two, followed by number four, followed by loud neighbours with a satellite dish (yes, you read correctly) and extremely loud big screen tv coming from their camper! I definitely think we need to try back country camping with you.

  2. Please don’t stop! I’m so glad you have a blog – I really miss being connected with you all. We’ve talked (again) of coming your way… now that you live more than 3 minutes away… Camping is one of those things that you enjoy the most in hindsight, I think!!! Well, at least as the mom 🙂

  3. Pingback: A parenting predicament and homemade mosquito spray | Experimenting as we grow

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