Paddling Our Own Canoe

August 1989

The scenery in rural Ontario can be breathtaking. I once had the good fortune to be able to stay with a friend in the Ontario wilderness. I knew it was fairly rugged as he had already mentioned in his letters, that he lived in a house on stilts because of the bears.


He was also woken in the early hours of the morning, much to his dismay, by a particularly persistent woodpecker – sounded great to me.

The whole experience had been completely thrilling.

The view from atop the house on stilts, was stunning.

The woodpecker was no longer a problem – long story.

We were completely surrounded by trees. However I think we became a little over ambitious, in our attempt to fit into our surroundings.

We – I was with my long-suffering travelling companion, not my Canadian friend, who I am sure is probably a much more experienced canoeist than either of us.- had made the mistake of attempting to canoe down the river.

It had gone well at first.

I had wondered initially ( feeling overly confident) why I had not been snapped up by some Olympic team somewhere, as we had skimmed expertly through the water.

We were however travelling downstream. We had then attempted to turn the canoe around and had found ourselves, to our absolute terror, straddled across the river virtually unable to move.

Right on cue, a motorboat had appeared, hurtling towards us. I remember looking at the beautiful scenery which had surrounded us and accepting that this might be the last thing I would ever see.

Miraculously (Thank you God.) just as I was saying my mental goodbye to Canada and this world, a horrified face had peered from above the helm of the speeding boat –I can only imagine his words – but fortunately the motor boat had been able to halt its progress towards our helpless craft just in time.

Moral of this story:

I am going to stick to paddling downstream if I ever set foot in a canoe again.

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