Guest Blog Post by Chris Chung - Ontario, Canada
This summer has been particularly intense in terms of work. So, when the opportunity to get away from civilization presented itself, I used the occasion to engage in some self-isolation and reflection on a solo canoe trip on the French River. The four hour drive from the city can feel long but once the canoe is loaded and the paddle touches the water it’s worth it.
The act of paddling becomes a meditation. Alone with only my thoughts and the soft breeze in the air, I paddle further into the wilderness and solitude. I only had three hours before the light of the sun started fading behind the pines. I found an outcrop of granite jutting up from the water and made camp. The tasks of setting up shelter, making a fire and cooking dinner are the simple pleasures of being in the wilderness.
After the work is done it’s time for a nip of whiskey while enjoying the glowing embers. I’ve had bad luck in the past with inferior vessels that have leaked the precious liquid, but I was fortunate enough to have my Vermonter with me. Being its maiden voyage on a camping trip I was happy to discover that every drop was accounted for.
The next day involved some much needed rest, waking up to the sun, breakfast, coffee and more paddling. I found a small island that made an ideal place to set up a hammock, read some Hemmingway and listen to the silence. As the sun set again and the sky turned pink I enjoyed the last of the bourbon on the water in the canoe.
My canoe is a beautiful cedar strip. Though it is heavier than a modern Kevlar, you can’t beat the rustic charm. The flask has that same quality, as if it was built in an older time when things were made to last. The copper develops a wonderful patina as if each layer is the story of another adventure. It has now become one of those essential pieces of kit for an enjoyable camping trip.
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