Personal Information: I am a registered nurse working in the Sault Ste. Marie area. I moved here a number of years ago from Eastern Ontario. The reason: Lake Superior. As long as I can remember I've wanted to visit this awesome lake and experience its whimsical character.
Paddling Information:I began canoeing by accident in 1980. A friend invited me to participate in a triathlon in Eastern Ontario where I was living at the time. 2.5 miles of canoeing, 15 miles of cycling and 5 miles of running. Already an avid runner and cyclist, I borrowed an 18.5 foot Jensen Marathon canoe and Barton bent shaft paddle. I capsized 20 metres from the starting gate. My "friend's" brief instruction left out many key points in the art of staying dry. Fortunately what I lacked in canoeing I made up for in cycling and running. I finished twenty-eighth in a field of 50 participants. As I crossed the finish line, I had already begun contemplating the purchase of a canoe. (Just not the cigar boat that baptized me). I enrolled in a number of canoeing courses being offered by Frontenac Park, north of Kingston. Over the years I purchased everything from inferior blown glass boats to an Old Town Tripper. I thought that it's indestructibility would be a big asset in our family. Wrong! A real beast to paddle solo and torturous to portage. My early whitewater experience consisted of entering the Raisin River Canoe Race held each spring. Mostly class I-II with two really tricky class III runs. I was very glad to have the Tripper for that one. We could usually expect a minimum of 200 canoes entering the competition. In 1987 I visited Trailhead in Ottawa and ordered a 16' Kevlar Prospector Expedition. Had to be custom made. Beautiful boat. I've paddled the Mississippi River (Ontario), Madawaska, Ottawa, The Adirondacks in northern New York State, Saugeen, to name but a few places. Funny, never been to Algonquin Park. Too many people, probably. My two children, Nathan(20) and Hilary(18), were practically brought up in a canoe. Now they continue the tradition by planning trips with their friends. My son is a bit of a survivalist. He and his friends hike into the bush every chance they get with only the essentials, (sans tent, sleeping bag or stove) and are getting quite proficient, I might add. I need my creature comforts which I always looked at as essentials. My paddling companions and I now venture into the north shore of Lake Superior and the countless lakes and rivers that empty into the greatest body of fresh water I have ever seen. Our attention currently focuses on ancient canoe routes that show little or no sign of use. Some of these routes were once maintained by the MNR but funding cuts have put an end to that. Nowadays maintenance depends on interested travelers who take the time to clear debris from overgrown portages and replace missing signs.
Interests: I love cross country skiing, snow shoeing and camping in the winter. I try to get in at least three good weekend trips each winter. There is never a shortage of snow so quinzees are the general way to go. There are endless trails and logging roads so I spend hours exploring them on our mountain bikes the rest of the year. Other activities that fill my days are birding, running, aerobics, photography, music, writing, wine making, and, YES, Computers.
Future Trips: This summer I am planning a trip along the Sand River with a large group. What is significant about this trip is the reason: With me will be 2 geology students from Lakehead University and 2 amateur archeologists. Together we will be exploring the history of this attractive canoe route. My job, aside from camp cook, will be to document the group's findings.
Please submit all questions and comments to email@example.com
The Canoe Camper is pleased to feature these stories and techniques columns by Earle Jones:
Return to The Canoe Camper's Home Page.