Kevin Callan
Credit: Kevin Callan

My arch-nemesis, Chris Hocking, wins again. This deviant canoeist has found my paddle for the third year in the row. The man’s obsessed!

It’s all part of the Paddle in the Park contest, put on by Badger Paddles and Preston Ciere of It’s a great program, created to get campers out in the woods more. During PITP, a number of paddles are hidden by various people, in various parks. This year I hid two. The first one was for Algonquin Outfitters on the portage leading out of Source Lake. It was found by Jeff Bardell. (Way to go Jeff!) The second paddle was hidden between two small ponds in the south end of Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. This is the one that was found by the scoundrel, Chris Hocking.

Chris found the first paddle I hid during Paddle in the Park’s initial year. I stashed it behind a birch tree on a long portage heading out of Algonquin’s Opeongo Lake. Chris drove the distance from his home in Sudbury, paddled massive Opeongo Lake, portaged a few kilometres of trail, found the paddle and then returned home the very same day—in time for dinner. The next year, he completed a similar feat of endurance. He drove from his home once again, paddled and portaged to the very top end of Killarney Provincial Park, found my paddle hidden along the four-kilometre portage leading into Great Mountain Lake—and made it back for dinner once again. The man never pitched his tent the entire time!

Joking aside, I seriously take my hat off to Chris. His dedication and passion towards the Paddle in the Park program is well appreciated. I just wish he’d camp out for a night or two while searching for my paddles.

The good news is that the program isn’t done. The paddles are all found, but there are still prizes to be won. The organizers added a new initiative this year. It’s a “Paddle Points,” system so those who are unable to take part in the paddle-seeking part of this popular event can still get out in the woods and win cool prizes.

To enter, just upload photos of you and your friends completing tasks from our official list of various outdoor related challenges (see Paddle in the Park website) for your chance to win gear and prizes from our fabulous sponsors, including a new Nova Craft canoe!

By incorporating the official PITPC hashtag “#RewardsAreOutThere” in your photos, or when you include a copy of our official Paddle Points Flag image, you automatically double your points value for each verified photo.

Reach the top of your Paddle Points class-ranking to win. PITPC title classes include Explorer, Pathfinder, Voyageur and the coveted 1st class title of Wilderness Guide. Share your Paddle Points photos and adventures with everyone and at the end of the contest, a few lucky entrants will win a prize pack for their coinciding title class, where the top class winner of the Wilderness Guide ranking will take home a brand new Prospector from Nova Craft Canoe and more! Start earning your Paddle Points now!

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