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Canoeing in Manitoba’s Whiteshell

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WRITTEN BY KAREN PEARSON

2020 has been a bit different for all of us, so far, with travel options limited to those closer to home.

Last weekend, my partner Chris and I took advantage of the beautiful summer weather and went canoeing on White Lake in Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park. Our plan had been to portage to Cabin Lake and canoe there as well. However, upon landing at the portage site, we discovered that the route information was outdated due to a pond between the two lakes drying up, and the 200m portage was in fact one kilometre. It was easy enough to walk it, though slow-going due to the abundance of wild blueberries and saskatoons that we couldn’t help but stop to pick (and eat, of course!). After walking the full kilometre, we decided to forgo hauling the canoe and our gear down the narrow, overgrown, twisting path over rocky, hilly terrain, especially since we would have had to repeat it in reverse on the return trip. Instead, the portage site served as a lovely lunch stop, with the berries as our appetizer.

We saw several falcons, many other birds, countless insects of course, and a turtle sunning himself on a rock in the shallow, reedy water near the shore. Unfortunately I was unable to take many photos because every time I stopped paddling, the waves pushed us off course and toward the rocky shore. I had to be content with simply enjoying the moment and taking photos with my mind. It’s really the best way to do it, rather than seeing everything through the lens of a cell phone camera.

Hearing only birdsong, the sound of the waves lapping against the canoe, and the wind in our ears, it was not difficult to relax and let go of the stresses of everyday life. Focusing only on paddling the canoe, one could easily forget there was such a thing as Covid-19. After we paddled far enough to leave behind the cabins, boathouses, and campgrounds, there was only wilderness as far as the eye could see.

It was very easy to imagine this was exactly how things looked to Indigenous peoples long before white men arrived. It was so peaceful and beautiful. It’s no wonder Mother Earth is so sacred in the Indigenous culture.

If you’d like to come to Canada when it’s safe to travel again, and explore our beautiful wilderness, contact us to design a program for you, either here in Manitoba or anywhere in our amazing country!

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