Showing posts from 2012

Today's ski report from Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada

Freakin' cold! Minus 12 degrees Celsius, but spared by good gear and the trees in Gatineau Park from light wind. Cold temps makes for slow classic skiing in groomed tracks - like skiing on sandpaper, even with glide wax, but the skate skiers are always happy. They move faster and don't get face slapped by low-hanging snow-laden trees and debris that falls on the sidelines into our groomed tracks. Especially around Lac Philippe.

The ungroomed trails look like this . . . an interesting change.
 Maybe better to snowshoe in some parts - and stay off closed trails.

Then, off to Renaud day cabin to heat up a grilled cheese on the wood stove and sip on a thermos of hot chai tea with honey, and throw another log on the fire.
A setting sun on the way back is pretty sweet in the Gatineau Hills, as we passed by several happy overnight campers in the park's cabins and yurts around Lac Philippe enjoying a very white holiday season.

There's a lot more snow on the way in the Natio…

Time to snowshoe!

Just in time for Christmas. It will be white. We have our first big snowstorm in the National Capital Region of Canada bringing us 30 centimeters of snow today.

It's time to snowshoe before anyone else gets out on the trails and packs them down.

We can cross-country ski a bit on a few trails in Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada.

But for now, I love my snowshoes!

These are great conditions for snowshoeing, but not for driving and traveling until the storm is over. Enjoy your own backyard for hours!

Happy trails!
The BaffinPaddler

How long will it take this tanker to overtake me in the St. Lawrence Seaway?

Even if you understand how fast a knot is, you don't know how many knots a boat is traveling. Especially a big tanker. They move faster than you may think.

See the big tanker in the distance in the shipping channel of the St. Lawrence Seaway?

It has crossed under the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge that connects New York State in the U.S. to Ontario, Canada and is traveling west in my direction.

Question: How many minutes from the distance you see in the image above will it take that tanker to overtake me in my kayak if I'm in its way?

Not sure?

Me neither.

I sat in the safety of the sidelines closer to shore and watched this massive tanker approach in the shipping channel and kept time with my watch.
Answer: It was passing me 10 minutes later.

How far away was it when I turned around and saw it? I'm not sure.

How fast was it going? I don't know. Maybe 10 to 12 knots.

Could I hear tankers approaching from behind in the shipping channel parallel to my paddling…

Rescue me! A geocache without the geo at the Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site, Prescott, Ontario, Canada

I think this is an awesome candidate and location for a really cool geocache.

I found the candidate. A big, beautiful, fishing lure that I almost stepped on at the rocky, wild beach just below the Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site in Prescott, Ontario on a recent November paddle on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The site has a small, wild, tangled woods surrounding it. Perfect for hiding a cache.

You can reach this destination by car or by kayak. 
This site is easy to find and a pretty cool place to spend some time, learn a little history, and watch the big tankers go by in the shipping channel. Just Google: Battle of the Windmill, Prescott, Ontario, Canada.
Where to find the lure

I placed the blue and silver fishing lure on top of a large, brown, round rock not far from where my kayak is beached in the image above. Then, I secured it by placing a smaller, but heavy, pale grey, triangle shaped rock on top of it, and left it there for someone else to find, and not step on!

This …

Short Stories: Seagull chasing away kayaker

I know what you're thinking, Ahhh, look at this great spot! This island is all mine . . .
It's the perfect place to read, take a nap, catch come sun, and do a little yoga.
Maybe not?

Such a cute little guy.
You don't want to share the island? Or do you just want some of my lunch?

Ok, I get it.

It belongs to you. All of it! Except my kayak.
You can keep the yoga mat!

Happy trails!
The BaffinPaddler

You'll never be able to balance on that thing! The many joys of the trottinette-scooter

Actually that's a quote from the photographer, "You'll never be able to balance on that thing! To do a yoga pose on it you'd have to encase the wheels in cement first!"

Me: "Oh well. Let's try it. Be patient . . . but, BE READY TO SNAP THE SECOND I GET IT!"

Finding balance is a fun challenge sometimes. But why make it too difficult. I grounded myself next to a sturdy tree to help me find balance and did the yoga tree pose on this kid's scooter. It's called a "trottinette" in French.

The wheels were not secured by anything other than the ground, my weight, and concentration. Yoga is a wonderful thing, especially when you can connect it to yourself and the environment! I love yoga in the outdoors. No need to remove the heavy duty hiking boots.

Why I like the scooter-trottinette

It's a lot of fun to get a workout and play and drift on these mini skateboards with handlebars.

It doesn't even feel like a workout when you scoot a…

Paddle blogger at work

I really hate those point blank self-inflicted shots, but that's the kayak blogger at work.

Do I really look like that close up, and all geared up? Happy and warm! But not cute or stylish. Especially in November!

It's a wet, dirty job sometimes, but somebody's gotta be out there looking for stories. I'll have more coming. They keep finding me. And I need more work!

I wish kayaking gear was more fashionable. It looks good on guys with big shoulders though.

Happy trails!
Peggy Varner, Publisher of The BaffinPaddler

Where did lunch take you today?

Even better, what's in the wide-mouth thermos?

Hot, homemade, extra tender corned beef cabbage with carrots and potatoes in a clear, natural broth. The best on November paddles.

Which kayak got lucky to tag along?

Happy paddles!
Have fun with November.
The BaffinPaddler

Are you ready to pack up your kayak?

It's November. In Canada that means cold. Packing it up doesn't mean packing it in. It may just mean a road trip somewhere warmer or an extra layer of gear.

I have two awesome sea kayaks. One kayak is still packed with travel gear, ready to go. And I'm just looking at it wondering what to do with it.

Pondering the next paddle. It's called sitting on the fence. Fences aren't made for sitting.

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

Paddler's wish list for Christmas

Dear Santa,

Please have a word with all the tourism, marina, and park people around the world and ask them for kayak friendly docks and boat launches.

I'm just sayin'. It would be much appreciated! And might encourage more visitors of our kind.

The BaffinPaddler

Send this wish to every tourism, marina, and park agency you know where you've encountered kayak unfriendly docks and boat launches.

Here's to the memories of kayak unfriendly docks, slippery cement boat launches, rocky shores, and silty bottoms to launch and land from and having a good day paddling anyway without getting hurt.

You really can't complain about surf launches and landings. Santa can't do anything about that.

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

Enchanted forest or haunted forest?

We're on a forest hike in Mont Tremblant National Park, the second largest national park in Quebec, Canada and Halloween is coming up.

Help me find that one scary tree.

It should be easy. Every forest trail has at least one beast. A big, old tree that storms, insects, and woodpeckers have carved into something that doesn't need any help from Hollywood makeup artists to look like a monster.

But wait. In the Mont Tremblant National Park forest trailsI keep finding enchanted forest

My favourite. A brontosaurus sitting on a big rock nibbling on tree branches.
Look outs.

Where's the scary stuff?

On the haunted forest trail 15, Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada. 

If you're hiking these trails, enjoy!
Happy enchanted or haunted forest walks!

I think I prefer enchanted. Soon, it will all be covered in snow.

The BaffinPaddler

This is so redundant! The reds and yellows of Canada's fall

This is so redundant. But each year, it's necessary to pay tribute to the reds and yellows of fall.
They go so well together.


More of the same?
Finally a bridge.
A cement and steel ice breaker. The Madawaska's current will push you into them if you drift too close with your hands off the paddle.
This is so redundant - more red and yellow.
It's everywhere.

Red and yellow.
 Enjoy the reds and yellows of Canada's awesome fall.
But watch out for the rocks, current, and dam at Calabogie to avoid the reds to you don't want to see.
Images, paddle location, and trip details:
Madawaska River, Ontario, CanadaBurnstown Beach to Calabogie12.5 km paddle each wayCurrent flows from Calabogie towards BurnstownIf you launch from the Burnstown beach boat launch (very kayak friendly, lots of parking, and a small fee to pay), you are paddling against the current. Current strength varies depending on time of year and the upstream dam at Calabogie. From Burnstown - West-southwest …

BaffinPaddler favourite Hot and Sour Soup Recipe - Vegetarian

“Can I have your recipe for Hot and Sour Soup?”

Yes! Here it is.

This is my favourite Hot and Sour Soup recipe for its exciting, exotic taste and variety of textures. It seems to work magic for scaring away colds and making you feel all warm and happy inside. A big bowl of this spicy, steaming soup is a meal. It's soothing comfort food with a kick that people love all the more on rainy days, or during those long, cold winter months.

Serves 4-6.

1 cake silken or soft plain Tofu (300g). Cut into bite-size cubes. Don’t use the hard flakey Tofu. It’s just awful. You want a tofu that will melt in your mouth. It’s wonderful!1 small can bamboo shoots (drain off liquid, cut into ¼ inch strips)1 small can water chestnuts (drain off liquid, slice into strips or cubes)1 carrot (Julienned) See Tips below for how to Julienne a carrot2 large eggs (beaten in a bowl)Mushrooms (I use dried, chopped, Shitake mushrooms - 1 packet of 20g), or 1 cup fresh mushrooms of your choice – sliced a…

Go Somewhere - Mont Tremblant - Booyah!

This is what you get when you hike up a mountain in the rain to see the fall colours and a 40+km/h wind greets you!


Or pick a calm, sunny day!

The fall colours are awesome this year. Go somewhere to see them.

The trees are screaming, "Booyah!"

Happy fall hikes.
The BaffinPaddler

Image location: La Roche trail lookout, Lac Monroe, Mont Tremblant National Park, Quebec, Canada

BaffinPaddler favourite butternut squash soup recipe with curry and coconut milk

Fall is the beginning of soup season. It's when we celebrate a good harvest and lament the beginning of cold and flu season. Here's one of my favourite soup recipes for its exciting great taste, filling a hungry belly, and promoting good health.

The texture of this blended soup is not too thick or thin, making it fantastic to drink out of a mug or eat from a bowl with a spoon. It's just right either way! Everyone loves the beautiful velvety golden colour. It pours easily into a Thermos for a great lunch to take along on those awesome fall paddles and hikes.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk Recipe

1 large butternut squash, peeled (remove outer skin) and chopped (scoop out and discard seeds)
3 carrots peeled and chopped
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 tbsp Indian curry paste (Add 1 tbsp, then taste to make sure you don't make it too spicy, or serve on the side and let people a…