The Ally series will continue next week
One of Michael Spencer’s most poignant posts was about a boat that sat in his backyard, a constant reminder of the relationship that he did not have with his father. There is a boat in my backyard too. A sixteen foot, red fiberglass canoe. We bought it 40 years ago… second hand. Our family had just come back from Africa, and didn’t have much money, so second hand was all we could afford. As I have moved over the years, the boat has moved with me.
The boat is covered in scratches. In fact there are scratches upon scratches. And cracks, and repairs, and more cracks, and more repairs. And broken seats, and more repairs. And broken thwarts, and yes I had to look up the word, and more rep… oh wait, those still remains to be fixed before my next trip.
I would say that every scratch is a memory, but there are way too many scratches, and way too many memories to match them all up. Some of my earliest memories are with canoeing and camping with my father before we got this canoe. The pictures below help capture memories I have made with my children and friends. I want to encourage our readers to try and make your own memories with your family and friends. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. For us, a $200 canoe has made us more memories than we could have imagined. (You can click on the pictures to see them in greater detail.)
… Of sunsets
… Of building friendships, playing card games, songs around the campfire, marshmallows, and spider dogs.
…Of waking up in the morning after sleeping under the stars, knowing that you got to watch the Milky Way make a dazzling appearance as a cloud of light across the night sky, with the fireworks of shooting starts accompanied by the symphony of loon calls and coywolf howls.
… Of the early morning mist rising from the lake in front of us and the narrows behind us.
… Of needing to use a bathroom that lacked a little privacy
… Of exploring into new areas
…Of seeing the island that you first camped on fifty years before
… Of jumping rocks and white water swimming
… Of playing in a waterfall.
…Of going out early in the morning and catching a fish with nearly every cast
…Of hiking into a remove lake that you knew was stocked with Rainbow Trout back in the 1950s, and finding they were still there
…Of tasting the freshest fish you could possibly imagine.
I had two more canoe trips on my bucket list. Last year I did the first of the two. Just me and my son. The best companion that I could have ever wished for. One day. Twenty-one kilometres by canoe. Seventeen portages, with a waterfall at everyone. We did our last portage as night was falling, and ran our last rapids in the dark, praying that there were no hidden rocks.
Here is some of the beauty of that area.
This old canoe of mine has hopefully two more trips in it. I am going to repeat the river trip with a friend I made not long after we first bought that canoe. And next summer there is an area of remote wilderness that I have wanted to explore for years. Then maybe it will be time to retire that old canoe for good. I think though that will keep it in the back yard so that every day I will be able to look out at the boat in the back yard and remember.