Paddling The Tent Dwellers’ 1906 route in Nova Scotia has been on my bucket list for years. The Tent Dwellers is an amazing book about two trout anglers being guided through the inland wilderness of Nova Scotia.
It’s a whimsical read that relates to so many of my canoeing misadventures. I’ve read it cover-to-cover many times, which is why when Cody Whynot (of Whynot Adventures) and Nova Scotia Tourism invited me to paddle the historic route, I jumped at the chance.
I was joined by Scott Adams, a good friend and owner of Birchbark Media, who wanted to film the trip in 360-degree virtual reality. How awesome to record an old route with new-age technology!
Day one saw us staying over at the Milford House, the same establishment The Tent Dwellers author Albert Bigelow Paine and friend Dr. Edward “Eddie” Breck slept over and prepared for their journey. How fitting. It’s still a perfect place and the owners and staff were amazing.
On Paine and Breck’s 1906 journey, guides Charles “The Strong” (Charlie Charlton of Milford, NS) and Del “The Stout” (Del Thomas of Milford, NS), took the gang into what is now Kejimkujik National Park. They camped at the first point of land on the lake a mere two kilometres in; Cody had us paddle and portage the entire national park (22 kilometres) and put our heads to rest inside a historic, rustic cabin used by past forest rangers.
Keji is an amazing national park. Each portage has canoe rests every 300 metres, complete with a wooden bench to sit on, and the campsites all had a storage of wood and an outhouse stocked with TP and Harry Potter novels.
But our group was more interested in the more rustic and unmaintained Tobeatic Wilderness Area and Shelburne Heritage River borders to the west end of the national park. This is where the route becomes more isolated. It also marks where the guides back in 1906 didn’t know the route ahead. Neither did ours. Cody was excited as a schoolboy—and so were we.
Adventure was waiting for us downstream.
(Check out the first couple of videos on the trip series. More to come.)