Life Goes On Hoot

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A short hoot to wet your whistle on a hot July day…
Franklin Challenge Done & Dusted!

100 bleary-eyed but eager paddlers showed up early on a Sunday morn, June 25th for the annual Franklin Challenge.  A 20km romp around the outside of Franklin, in support of the Outer Island Fund of the Georgian Bay Biosphere.  The bay waters were calm as we headed out to the shouts of ‘happy paddle and safe home’.  Hours later arriving back to the Snug Harbour dock – tired and worn out, ready for a fresh fish meal and cold beer at Gilly’s.   Thanks to a lot of hard work by volunteers, generous donations and great fund-raising by participants – nearly $17,000 was raised!  We are thankful to everyone for pitching in – and to the Bay winds for letting us be out there for a few hours.  Franklin is a remarkable bit of geography, full of life, history and stunning scenery.  Take a look if you can at Thom Morrissey’s stunning pictures and videos of the day on this link:

Fun Facts About the Squall Paddling Centre

Well, for one – we’re open 7 days a week with fairly friendly staff who smell pretty good!  For two, we have one of the best selections of paddles, pfd’s, kayak and canoe accessories in the whole darn province, along with hard to find things that I think are worth a look-see.  Best of all – we have a ton of boats of all description, hoping someone will come to take them for a quiet spin on mighty Cole Lake.  And we can set you on your way with rentals, route info and a happy cheer.

And Then There’s the Squall Outdoor Shop in the Heart of the Hoot!

If you haven’t been downtown in Parry Sound to 19 James, it’s worth a gander.  Even though Kathy and I have been the owners for a fair few decades, I’m still amazed at what’s in such a little space.  More times than I can count, town staff have shaken their weary heads when they hear me say:  “sheesh, I didn’t know we sold that!”  That tells you we have a lot of different things or maybe that Tim just doesn’t get out much (nor has a clue of what’s going on).  But if you want to be amazed and be up on the latest outdoor clothing, footwear, tents, sleeping bags, maps, stoves and a bewildering display of other stuff – please drop in for a visit, we’re open 7 days a week.

And Life Goes On…

These past few days, little fawns have been prancing across our country road – following their anxious momma to who knows where.  One morning, little grouse chicks jumped up onto the tarmac and gingerly crossed, baffled by this brave new world they’ve suddenly found themselves in.  It recalled for me a recent article by Conor Mihell in the latest edition ON Nature magazine ( It tells the tale of a lone grey wolf’s record 6500 km journey over 18 months from the upper Michigan Peninsula across 4 states and 2 provinces.  This shows how critical wildlife corridors are.  This guy clearly needs space to live, and lots of it.  And so do we all.  But we search for what we can find.


In the late 60’s, two brothers wrote what would become the Sierra Club’s most beloved book, selling over a million copies.  With cheap drugstore photos and hand-written calligraphy, it became an outdoor bible for young and old alike seeking paths less travelled – not unlike the lone wolf.  It was called “On the Loose” telling the story of two boys wandering the deserts,  mountains and rivers of the mid and southwest.  For me, it gave life-long inspiration to simply get outside.   Many a kid graduating from leadership programmes and outward bound courses was given a copy – setting so many onto a strong and deep compass bearing.  I still have a few before it went out of print, sitting on my bookshelf.   I’m waiting and hoping for the right time and place and person to share these last few.  But in the meantime, here is a page from On the Loose quoting James Joyce…

He was alone.

He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life

He was alone and young and willful and wild-hearted

Alone amidst a waste of wild air and brackish waters

And the sea harvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight…

Thanks for sharing your summer time.  May your paddle pull water, stay in tight, and upright…and safe home:)  tim

ps- looking for a very special person for a very special summer job.  part of it is working here at the squall, part of it is heading out on the bay by paddle or motor boat to check campsites and dig really big holes in the hot sun for thunderboxes.  could be part-time, could be any age, but must be independent, have a vehicle and willing to work damn hard though we do have pretty fine tea breaks.  only serious enquiries please and only by e-mail pls send resume pdq to:  [email protected]