A Hoot for November ~ paddling the fire

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Paddling The Fire

Just came back from canoeing down the Pickerel River to Georgian Bay and back up the Key River, taking us through the heart of the summer fire. First off – canoeing in late fall ain’t so bad folks. Making all the difference is bringing along a canvas tent and woodstove. Doesn’t matter how cold the day is when you can nestle in at night to a toasty tent with friends, rum and tucker – life seems pretty ok! An old tarp made a dandy sauna at the side of the river – so Jesse cooked up some hot rocks and the steam and beer fairly flowed. The gang jumped from the heat into the river and somehow smelled way better than me afterwards.

We wanted to see for ourselves what happened up there this past summer. A fire is an awful site – the starkness of burned soil and trees is hard to accept. But it happened and as we looked more closely, plants were beginning to rise above the charcoal carpet. We saw signs of bear, moose, otter and wolf – and almost 30 different bird species. This precious piece of the Georgian Bay isn’t going to recover anytime soon. But it will – and confirmed again for me that the planet will carry on fine with or without humans. Our part in the dance is up to us.

Beauty Boats & Snowshoes for Christmas

We traditionally get a few forward-thinking folk this time of year thinking about a paddling gift. What a great idea! Keeps winter food on our table. Pondering the same? Give us a call & 705-342-5324 or send us an e-mail ([email protected]) We’ve got boats new and used along with great outdoor gear. https://www.whitesquall.com/boats/ No idea? There’s a gift for that. Squall elves can fire off a cash certificate good for anything and yer done! And back to the idea of giving someone a boat for Christmas, pay in full for any boat before Dec. 31 and you’ll also be the proud owner of a pair of high-speed snowshoes for free – as long as you promise to actually use ‘em.

By-the-way the next ship of lightweight/tough Canadian-made DELTA kayaks is due early Dec. Breaking news ~ we are excited to be stocking Norse Kayaks linked here. These will be onsite come springtime. 

Kicksleds Have Arrived

Our year-round town shop (705-746-4936) just welcomed our winter stock of Finlandic Kicksleds. They pump your heart and are stable, fast and don’t finish last. Kathy and I have had one for over 30 years and it’s still kicking! Check ‘em out at: https://goslide.ca/collections/frontpage

Summer Dreaming

We’re starting to shape the summer paddling season and you can see the beginnings at whitesquall.com. the Girls Weekend Getaway is happening two weekends in June, with cocktails, cheese, paddling, painting and an apiary tour that was a hit last year! This year’s kayak trips begin with the young’uns our annual Youth Sea Kayak Adventure is July 8-11 and our famously laid-back sea kayak Summer Lollygaggers trip July 15-18. I’m particularly excited that Gerard Courtin is joining us again for a 5-day McCoy Islands Ecology sea kayak adventure July 25–29. In August the intrepid Youth Sweetwater Expedition heads out Aug. 5-12 for an 8-day traverse from Killarney to Parry Sound, and mid-August we have Exploring the Cathcarts Aug. 15-19. We’re planning Paddle Canada skill and instructor courses along with our weekly learn-to-paddle programs. To start off, Graham Poole will be heading up a Level 1 Sea Kayak Skills course on July 12-14 weekend. We’ll fill more stuff in as it gets lined up, but for now – check out whitesquall.com

Jack Has Left the Building

Yup, Jack Elliott is hanging up his squall skirt. He was one of the first customers to wander down our laneway – back when any visitor was cause for excitement! Later on he signed up as a Squallion and has worked alongside Kathy and I longer than just about anyone – which warrants at least the Nobel Prize, and better still…he still has his hair! I daresay we might cajole him to return late next summer for a cameo. He’s heading west for the winter and springtime and we’ll really miss him, especially when I have to fire up the chainsaw on my own to cut a pathway through the ice for test paddlers (when spring comes late). Jack knows saws better than me by a long shot. If you can wax lyrical about your experiences with Jack, please let ‘er rip, it will make a great card to give him :). 

Tim’s Toe Tip

Cold days in the bush usually mean feet get clammy and miserable – even with fancy footwear and socks. One trick is to keep a dry pair of socks in your backpack to throw on after a few hours. For me, wearing two pairs works best. When my feet get cold and damp, the outer layer becomes the sacrificial ones I peel off. The inner sock is usually dry and with a new outer dry pair, I’m ready to walk on happy. Moisture from my foot wicks through the first pair and stays in the second layer. In the backwoods with a soaker? An old camp trick is to bring along a few plastic bread bags. Put your socks on with the bread bags overtop and now you’re ready to tuck into soggy boots and be happy and warm. The bestest trick is to use a vapour barrier. Start the day by putting bread bags on bare feet (not kidding here kids) – followed by your dry socks, followed by another bread bag layer. This keeps moisture not getting into your socks from both sides. Feels a bit odd, but you get used to it and who cares – you’re warm. Thermally confused? No prob, just sock-it-to-me with your questions and I’ll fill in the holes J

Had it with cold toes and bright ideas? Just hit reply and put ‘put a sock in ‘er tim’ We’ll get you off the mailing list faster than you can tie your shoes – promise. 

Ps – for anyone who actually reads to the bottom… Tell us you want warm feet and we’ll toss your name in a draw for a pair of Darn Tough or Smartwool Socks. Odds are darn near as good as finding a lonely sock in your drawer.

White Squall Paddling Centre
53 East Carling Bay Road Nobel, Ontario, Canada P0G 1G0