Wilderness Canoeing


Thelon River, Nunavut, Canada Wilderness canoeing came naturally to me. I always had a love or a need for the outdoors. As a 7 year old I'd wander off by myself into the woods at the edge of town. There I would seek refuge from the stresses of school and my parent's divorce. I was never afraid or worried. I pretended I was a Native American and found my way without compass or the sun to guide me. Later in life when the pressures of my job got to be too much I'd take my vacation time and go off for a week or more either wilderness canoeing or winter camping. Most of the solo summer trips would be from 10 to 15 days in length. Later I accumulated time at work and trips of over 3 weeks were possible. When the children where old enough, the wife and young ones would sometimes come along. My best family memories are those moments we had together discovering road less back-country from the canoe. I can still remember Kelley and Shawn's first fish caught, all of us diving off small cliffs, the camp-fires before hitting the sack, the animal sightings and the eerie calls of the loons.


Robin Lauer solotripping on Kondiaronk Creek, Réserve Faunique de La Vérendrye,
Québec, Canada

As time went by, from the late 60's to now, commercial woodcutting opened roads into our once beautiful and inviting wilderness. Nothing is ever the same once man consumes nature that way. After the loggers have wrecked the countryside, the hunters maintain the logging roads, which are accessed with ATV's. This pushes us further back to seek our needed space. Unfortunately my type of wilderness is diminishing and there seems only to be the very far north of Canada, which can provide the peace, space and solitude required to satisfy me as a wilderness traveller. Everyone should have the chance, or should I say, the privilege of spending some time by themselves in the wilderness without any other human contact for many days. It helps us appreciate who we are and what are the true important things in life.