As a child it was a yearly highlight, and this year was no exception. Added to it was a chance to participate in the festival as an outfitter and tell people of the Nahanni it will stand as a highlight of the fall.
In my grandmother’s kitchen sat the largest green bottle of Palmolive you can imagine. To this day, the smell green apple or the sight of its weird green pantone transports me right back to Northern Ontario. We would visit for a couple of weeks in the summer while Dad was guiding and doing the dishes was delegated to the grandkids. In my mind, dealing with this giant slippery bottle was on par with wrestling my first lake-trout into a canoe. True heroics!
Each summer it is our privilege to guide expeditions, sharing remote corners of Canada's North. We know these are big trips, likely the adventure of a lifetime. The destination, your guides and an impeccable menu are the foundation of a successful expedition. But once you are out on trip it is often the small things that help make a portage comfortable and that boost your confidence before a big rapid. Our commitment to quality means no detail is overlooked and we have sourced the finest equipment made.
There is a difference between doing something and living something. I believe that when you are living you are filling the moment. You are finding a way to take it all in and you develop another sense. With a day’s tasks piling up it can be hard get beyond simply doing. As I work to share who we are as a company and as a family the to-do lists can seem endless. But of the blue it can become something beautiful.
For my father being an outfitter was much more than simply selling his brand of adventure. It was about sharing an intimate love of wild places with like minded individuals. About knowing that each paddle stroke was a joyful release for each trip participant. In close to thirty years I have never seen him return from a season, not happy to have shared the river and himself with guests from around the world. The hundreds of stories told and countless cups of coffee as much the tools of his trade as a canoe, a paddle and a lifejacket. He made memories with his guests that would remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Growing up with a guide for a father taught me many things. Some basic, like the value of good rain-gear, dry socks and a secret stash of chocolate. Some more advanced items too, such as the evils of camping in sand, knots to use in a rescue situation and that you always double check how your boats are tied up for the night... But the most significant lesson was how to love a wild place.