"Why don't I paddle in the Barrens? I have no money and I like trees." That's how I started my talk at Saturday's Wilderness Canoe Symposium in Toronto. Probably not the best opener, and it definitely wasn't a rehearsed one. I just felt like saying it to the audience of just under 800. Why? Because I had sat through talks all day that focused on the far north. They were amazing presentations and they truly inspired me to paddle to places like the Vachon River or portage such historic routes like Pike's Portage out of Great Slave Lake. Problem was, during the break my canoe buddy, Andy Baxter, and I looked into the pricing of such trips. What a let down. Unless we had a minimum of $5000 sitting in the bank, we didn't have a prayer. The closer it came for me to present on my "lost canoe routes" of Ontario's near north, the more apprehensive I came to standing up on the podium. I was even feeling a tad embarrassed that I wasn't at the show to tell of my great far northern paddle venture. As luck had it though, a computer/audio issue mixed up my prepared show and I was forced to "wing it" rather then give my prepared talk. When that happens I tend to just jump into whatever is in my head at the time. That act of spontaneity has got me into trouble at times but I think it saved my presentation at the Wilderness Symposium. The morning after, pondering over how the audience reviewed my show, I found this statement on Mike Ormsby's blog, reflectionsoutdoors.
"I appreciated all of the talk about journeys to remote places….but I really liked Kevin Callan's view that we don't need to go as far as the Arctic barren lands to find wilderness; that wild places can be found much closer to home, often just around the corner or a few hours away….that all we need to do is jump into a canoe even just for a couple of days….in his words "more than anything, just get out there and do it". Kevin may have spoken about "lost" canoe routes but what he also spoke to was about how we "lose out" so much not taking any type of a canoe trip into any place wild….to me, perhaps we are even a little "lost" without such experience."
Fantastic! Finding that comment made my day and I can't wait to plan this coming paddling season to more affordable semi-wilderness areas in Ontario's near north…and maybe be asked back to present them at next year's Wilderness Canoe Symposium.