Canoeing at Wolf Lake


To end the summer I was fortunate to be invited on a canoe trip planned by Matt and Leah. Originally there were too many girls that could make it, but when not enough guys could come, I got one of their spots. Leah and I decided that we were tough enough to keep up with the boy-girl canoe pairs! :P The weekend started calm with rain and then ended with dazzling sun and a strong headwind. The landscape was beautiful! There were white cliffs, tall cedars, small stretches of swifts and water falls, and shores of red stone likely coloured by the metals in the dark turqoise water. This trip was exactly what I needed in this next transition of moving from Toronto to Cambridge for graduate school. My mind was completely emptied of all the thoughts, worries, and anticipation for those few days, and instead I just enjoyed the simplicity of time with friends and being in God’s creation. I slept better on that hard ground than I had for days in my new (and foreign) apartment. I think that the whole group agrees it was a fantastic trip. Because we joked about listing these, I will blog by highlighting the top ten moments from the trip. Many thanks go to Leah Wills for taking these amazing photographs!

The Ikea Bag

The canoe rental gave us our smaller items in a random tarp Ikea bag. When we were preparing the boats to launch, we forgot to put it back in the car and so we had to take it with us. It so happened that the bag became the most useful item to us on the trip. If ever we needed a functional item, the bag usually filled the role splendidly. It served to carry our dirty and clean dishes to and from the lake for rinsing, carry all of the water bottles as we went to fill them with the filter on the lake, act as a table cloth on some of our lunch picnics, and carry the fish that Jim caught.

The Fish
Jim brought a fishing rod along on the trip and was fishing on-and-off most days while we were paddling. He mostly caught plenty of small bass, but finally caught a big one! We kept it and he prepared it for dinner that night. The poor Ikea bag never lost the fish smell after that.

Rosy, Ikea Bag and Fish

The Lagoon

On our first day we went to go swimming in a lagoon that was mentioned in a book about where we were canoeing. We had to climb over a pile of logs that traversed the river in order to get there, and then climb down a steep rocky ridge to get to the water. It was worth it though because a small waterfall fell into a nice deep and shaded area that was great for swimming. We were already in the water when we learned that Chris who was behind us had hurt his toe badly by slipping on the logs. It was very painful and Chris was hobbling for the rest of the trip. It was a good thing we had a nurse with us, and we were glad in the end that Chris was able to stick it out for the rest of the weekend despite the pain and inconvenience. From that point on we each had to take more items across each portage. Alexa and I took turns taking the extra boat. We were lucky that the two rented canoes were kevlar.



The Alexa

On the first day of paddling Chris and Alexa’s boat flew ahead. We asked what it was that made them so speedy and Chris said that they had an Alexa. I said it sounded like it could be the name of a motor…. but oh what strange sounds it made (she was laughing)! On the second day of paddling, Alexa and Chris decided to switch places with Alexa in the rear. Alexa got a bit frustrated at Chris who would abnoxiously have spurts of powerful strokes which would put them off course. Chris on the other hand said that whenever Alexa laughed they would go off course. I’m sure that both accusations were true! It was hilarious to watch them!

The Sunday Morning Service

While Alexa couldn’t laugh and steer straight, we soon determined that Leah could not sing and steer straight. On Sunday morning Alexa made the excellent suggestion to sing some worship songs together as we went along. Leah and I immediately began singing the songs we could think of. Eventually though we were far off from the others but just kept singing anyways. It was great to open up in song to the Creator right there on the beautiful water.

The Pan Lid (and other thrown things)

So Matt and Leah like to throw a lot of things such as pan lids, back packs, apples, waterbottles, shoes and the like. Sometimes their aim was questionable as was their judgement which resulted in some hilarious moments. The first moment happened when a pan lid fell into the water from where we were cooking dinner. It landed in shallow water and so Matt went down to get it. He decided to throw it back up but it didn’t make it and it landed back in the water; this time deeper. Leah later swam to go get it. We could still see it under the water because it looked so shiny. The second moment happened at a portage when I was already out of the boat and Leah was planning to pass her bag to me. She decided she was going to throw it but as she rocked back and forth to give the toss some power, she tipped the boat and fell in the water. The last moment was when Leah was throwing a water bottle to Matt but then lost her footing, slipped and landed on her butt.


Whenever we thought that we were in the middle of nowhere, we would quickly be brought back to reality by seeing very obvious signs of civilization. When we were packing up camp at the first campsite a couple pulled up on an ATV. Then that same day on one of our portages we came across a group of campers that had driven to a campsite that had access by way of a gravel road; they had Starbucks coffees in their hands! The most amusing moment was on the third morning  when a guy on an ATV pulled up while we were eating breakfast on the beach at our campsite. The guy stopped and asked us if we had seen two dogs. We told him we had not, and when he tried to continue on his way, he couldn’t get the ATV to start. He disappeared on foot and left the ATV sitting there. We joked about how it was ruining our view…. or that it was an answer to Chris’s prayer for a way to get through the rest of the portages! Finally the guy came back with his buddy on another ATV and they towed the one away with the other. Of course Leah had to climb on the ATV for a picture!

The Many Climbable Rocks

This title more or less speaks for itself. Whenever there was a sweet looking rock protruding out of the water (or an abandoned ATV), Leah had to climb it or jump off of it or both! I like to call the photos below Leah’s Power Stance.

Leah Power Stance

The Six Pack

Rosy got this fabulous new nickname this weekend. The funny moment happened when we were swimming and those of us in the water called out “Hey Six Pack, get over here!”. Jim – “Awww you guys are going to start calling me that now?” Us – “No, we were talking to Rosy!” Rosy took the nickname without complaint for the rest of the weekend.

The Committee and The FAB

Fire starting proved difficult on our first night because the wood was very wet and got easier over the rest of the nights. I forget when it happened, but Alexa invented “The Committee” to make an executive decision about the fire at some point. It became a running joke. Jim was often the one to add logs to the fire and whenever he did so he would say that it was time to “make an adjustment”. He eventually coined the term FAB for the Fire Adjustment Bureau, likely a subsection of The Committee.

Beach Campsite

The Chocolate Almond Affair

Those of us who know Leah know that she doesn’t do well if she’s hungry. On the last day we were paddling through a very strong headwind. We were running late to get back to the car and so we hadn’t stopped for lunch even though it was the early afternoon. Matt and Leah had saved chocolate almonds to have that day, and Leah finally asked Matt for some. We finally caught up with Matt and Rosy’s boat only to find out that Matt had already finished the chocolate almonds and that he was offering up Rosy’s. Leah wasn’t too pleased!

That was eleven top moments but I couldn’t think of which one to cut out. Thanks everyone for sharing in a great weekend!

Group Shot

Beautiful Sky

2 Comments to “Canoeing at Wolf Lake”

  1. Were these pics taken on your new camera? ;)

  2. Nope. I didn’t bring it because Leah had a good waterproof camera. There is less worry about breaking it or getting it wet.

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