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Canoeing the Missinaibi

Back in July, my husband, daughter and I drove to Northern Ontario...well, he drove while I took photos, ate copious amounts of pit stop snacks and drooled all over my "road trip" pillow! Needless to say, when we arrived at the Missinaibi River, in Mattice (a 12 hour haul), I was completely refreshed and ready to take on this great river. James on the other hand, seemed a little wobbly in the knees, exiting his cramped travelling quarters until his eyes met the beautiful landscape, which he knows well.

James is a seasoned canoeist, hunter and outdoorsman whose soul belongs to the solitude of the North.

Here is our vessel loaded with gear...James tried to get us to pack light but we still need the essentials such as water, rain and sleeping gear, a pop up tent, fishing tackle, chocolate, cookies, licorice...things we really needed! If it were up to him, he would skip the tent and sleep under his canoe with a solitary wool blanket and dried food for sustenance...right...2 girls accustomed to a certain way of living, I don't think so!

The Missinaibi River is a famous route that the voyageaurs used for the Hudson Bay fur trade...Isabel thought it would be fitting to wear her moose hide moccasins for the trip...I think they fit the bill, don't you?!

Once we all got situated in the canoe, and away from the pesky black flies, deer flies, horse flies and mosquitoes, we had a beautiful trip down the river, gliding through clear waters with the sun on our faces. We set up camp on some rocks at the edge of the river...our little home away from home!

A private little retreat for fishing...

...James pictured here, actually catching some fish...

...and Isabel having fun and being free!

A great place to enjoy each other's company...

...and watching a beautiful sunset before the bugs decided that we had enough fun for one day!

The following morning, after a hearty breakfast, we set out to explore the beauty that this river had to, dotting the river bank.

A male River Jewelwing Damselfly paying us no mind, going about his business...

A White Admiral Butterfly, majestcally displaying glorious colours...

Wild chives, curiously growing out of the rock crevices...if I had've found these earlier, I would have glammed up our fried potaoes at breakfast!!

When we arrived back to camp (for lunch of course), to our surprise, we noticed a group of paddlers heading toward our site...turns out this group was from Camp Temagami on day 13 of their 26 day canoeing excursion on their way to James Bay.

Where we set up camp, is where they needed to unload their canoes and portage down the bank to avoid the dangerous part of the river.

This is the face of a kid that is happy to be reunited with civilization! LOL!!

Of course, upon finding out that these young enthusiasts were on a 26 day haul and being the social butterfly that I am (and to James' embarassment...Isabel is still to young to get embarassed by her Mother), I instantly launched into my usual rapid fire line of questioning..."How far have you come?" "Where are you from?" "How old are you poor souls out here for 26 days?" Like accused felons being questioned under a bare light bulb by a detective, they politely assured me that they did enjoy this gruelling, bug infested trip...and loved the camaraderie that went with it, making lasting friendships and memories to boot! ( I just added that last part in there...I read between the lines!).

Before they hustled their gear off to the end of their portage, my mothering instinct kicked in and I asked them what they brought to eat...I tried to hide the wideness of my eyes as the guide answered "Bannock, oatmeal, cornbread and dried goods"...I tried to pretend that I hadn't been mentally rationing my Snicker's bars as they pulled up and quickly split up the fruit that I packed amongst them, with a scolding that they would get scurvy if they didn't eat up!

These boys were not only tough kids, but polite and very grateful for the offerings...or maybe they were grateful to be on their way?! Perhaps, they will change their route next year?!

After they left, I suddenly felt sympathy hunger pangs for them and whipped up our lunch...silently saying a prayer for good ole "beaners & weiners", as Isabel calls them.

The next couple of days were spent paddling, fishing, searching for trophy fossils (which weighed down the boat even more)

...exploring nature...

hangin' with the locals...

...and soaking up the true "small town", Northern Ontario scene. It was a fantastic trip (even though we were made into pin cushions by the bugs)...I can't wait to get back up there again this fall!

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