Winter Canoe
Credit: Kevin Callan

Thanks to climate change, I went on a canoe trip a week before Christmas. It was incredible.

It was my buddy’s idea. Andy suggested we pack the Snowtrekker “hot tent” and an extra layer of wool and paddle the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park for a few days. It sure beat fighting grumpy last-minute holiday shoppers at the mall. We even cooked up a Christmas ham in the Dutch oven and sipped rum and eggnog. The temperature dropped to -5 degrees Celsius at night, instead of the general 10 degrees we’d been seeing prior to the trip. The lakes remained open, however.

Winter did finally arrive on the last day. It snowed through the night; and continued to snow while we paddled out. It was like being caught up in a Christmas snow globe. It made portaging easier, however. We pulled the canoe across the snow like a toboggan, singing Christmas carols as we hauled across the trail. The only issue we had was while driving back out to the highway. The back road was completely covered in white and it was difficult to determine where the road was at times.

An hour later we made it out, and 10 minutes down the highway the ground was bare and brown. We’d been caught up in a local squall, dropping a load of snow just in the areas we canoe tripped in. It was a Christmas miracle. Andy and I had our taste of winter—and loved it. Santa had delivered our Christmas gift early; and if the lakes aren’t frozen by New Years we’ve planned to celebrate that holiday during a canoe trip as well.

Merry Christmas!

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