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“Tis is great!” said Nicole. “I love canoeing!” Te next day our bedraggled group stuffed

their sacks and nursed their hangovers. Two of the newbies packed the food, and did a won- derful job with the exception of the recently re-supplied bread which ended up lining the bottom of the barrel. I led a learn-to-paddle session on the dock while the impatient types loaded our gear into the shuttle. Tis is for- wards. Tis is backwards. Tis is a draw. “I think my oar’s too big,” said an Erin. By the time we pushed off, hooting, onto

Wasaksina Lake, we were an identifiable group. It helped that we had six people who could stern. Dave, the photographer, paddled with Chela. Chela found his balance point in the canoe early on so he could turn around and talk properly. He kept up a steady blather while dragging his paddle absent-mindedly in the water: “Cool! A frog! Cool! A fish! Do you think that’s a fish, Dave? Are you going to get out your camera?”

“What’s a Polypro?” Nicole and Jason blazed ahead. After 10

minutes Nicole put down her paddle and said, “Well, that’s it. My muscles are tired.” “I’ve got a tired muscle,” said Jason. Michelle and I caught up on old times. Tim

and Erin discussed books. Kate and the other Erin had earnest, left-leaning political discus- sions. And Chris and Norma brought up the rear, with Chris’ fishing rod trolling over the back of the canoe. We stopped for a snack and Michelle re-en-

acted the worst job interview of all time, when a questionable entry in the “Interests” section of her resumé led her to demonstrate Radical Cheerleading before a panel of lawyers. “Kiss the back of my butt—huh!” I didn’t cook or touch the map for the first

two days. We played Spit (Chela cheated). Dave taught us “Hyunting,” a made-up language from his dishwashing days in Scarborough. We found a huge, open campsite on Lake Tema- gami that was perfect for speed-walking races. Wind-bound on our last morning, we played pine cone croquet. Our misfit band of opposites had become a

laugh-track machine. So if your canoe season could use a highly

memorable long-weekend canoe trip—honey- moon or not—here’s what I recommend: • Go in August when you’re most likely to have good weather.

• Plan an easy trip. • Invite all your friends. All of them. Tey’ll probably end up getting along, and if they don’t, it might be even better. • Don’t forget the food.

TORY BOWMAN wrote about questioning her then-fiancé’s tripping style in our Early Summer 2007 issue. 1-888-233-3929


The Nahanni River Outfitting Centre

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