We said good bye to a happy memory last weekend.
For a dozen years or so, some of our most delightful hours were spent paddling our smooth riding kevlar canoe on lakes, rivers and streams throughout the Ottawa region. No great adventurers then, we settled for calm waters and easy-going canoe routes that let us enjoy to the fullest the beauty and tranquility of nature at its finest. One weekend we would cruise upon the Rideau River, another found find us idling along short stretches of the Mississippi near Pakenham. Or we would venture as far as Murphy’s Point Park, seeking to find a location that might be free from the hazards of power boat competition.
Our favourite destination, bar none, was Meech Lake which does boast freedom from power craft and is rich with cozy corners ideal for leisurely lunching, swimming and just lazing around in sun or shade.
A twinkle regularly sprang from my dear spouse’s eye when younger folk, seeing us oldsters shouldering our trusty 15 ft. craft en route to a launching point, gallantly offered to take her share of the burden. No way, she would be quick to reply, it’s as light as a feather. And it was – only 38 pounds not counting the paddles. Entirely comfortable and simple to hoist upon the car roof for lashing down on a roof rack or using foam pads and effective ratchet-controlled strapping.
We took up canoeing in the 1970s, investing in a sturdy 65 ft. Grumman aluminum canoe big enough to take our two kids with us for adventurous journeying to places like Prince Edward County, Bon Echo Park, the Tay River near Perth, and even all the way to New Brunswick.
And then, in 1995, we opted for something smaller and lighter, buying second hand from Trailhead a 15ft Novacraft Bob Special kevlar Spectra canoe with ash trim. It suited us perfectly, being easy to mount on our car, delightfully comfortable in any waters and no trouble to store when not in use. And we did indeed put it to good use, exploring routes all around the capital, enjoying the exercise and snapping the odd picture along the way.
Regrettably perhaps, diminishing energy – or was it a preoccupation with golf? – left the noble craft suspended in our garage from one year to the next. There it remained until, shaking off lethargic inclinations, we put the word out that it was for sale. No sooner said than done, as a friend of a friend agreed to take it and, after brief inspection, loaded it aboard the family car and took it off to a new home a few days ago. Fare thee well, our faithful kevlar companion!