Canoeing Petawawa

I’m going to say this picture is from 1988. Gavin Wark can look up the date of our Petawawa canoe trip, but that’s my best guess based on the fashion I’m wearing:

4 items – 1) Adidas Abdul-Jabbar low-cut runners, CanoePetawawa_Tedwhich were likely discontinued by that time but I kept the old pairs for canoe trips like this 2) Black sweat pants with green and white stripe as a premium from Fujifilm – sent in box tops from the film cartridges or something like that.  During the 1984 – 1985 youth team I shot a LOT of film – before then I would not have used 6 rolls of Fuji 35 mm film in 6 years! 3) Green neon sweatshirt.  All of the 1984-1985 Ontario Youth Team bought this horrendous neon green colour as that was the year that neon was in style.  The advantage of wearing a neon colour on a canoe trip in Algonquin Park is that no hunter is going to mistake you for a moose (but again, this was July, not hunting-season yet) 4) Hat is Indiana Jones style put out by Biltmore-Stetson.  While I had more than one of these over the years, I probably only started buying these post-1987 when I moved back from Montreal and resided close to the factory outlet for these hats, which was in Guelph, Ontario.

Whatever I’m eating couldn’t possibly taste better as it is at the end of a long day canoeing the Petawawa River in Algonquin Park (Ontario). This is the campsite at a log chute….Just went searching for one of my Algonquin Park canoeing maps.  I quote (from memory, as I didn’t find it) “The Petawawa River, from Cedar Lake to the hydro line is very dangerous and should not be attempted…”

But we did attempt it and we succeeded…on the first day past Cedar Lake, probably because the water levels were high, or maybe we portaged our way around the scarey stuff and here we are camping at the log chute (which, for sure we portaged around).  The next day on a set of rapids that we decided to shoot, probably because they weren’t very long and we could see all the potential hazards like the ledge we had to drop over, we left my canoe behind in the whitewater.  First we swamped and then one end of the canoe got held up by a rock and swung around toward the teenager in the middle who (THANK GOD) scrambled up on the rock before the back end of the canoe was also pinned against a rock and the current ripped a hole through the fiberglass.

We completed that trip with the 5 of us in one Bluewater canoe.  I recall that we couldn’t have more than two or three of us paddling at a time as the gunnels in the now over-loaded canoe were only an inch or so above the water and couldn’t bear any rocking of the canoe.  On the upside, we now had 5 guys and only one canoe to carry over the remaining day or two of our route.  We took every portage – no questions asked.