Wilderness Canoe Camping Through the Eyes
of an Eleven Year Old
By: Katrina Broberg
Every year in May my dad, Ed, and Tim all go camping up in Canada. To be specific they go to a place called Quetico Provincial Park. I was so jealous of my brother cause he got to go and I didn't. They thought that I was too weak and wouldn't survive for one minute out there, also because I was so young. Eventually I reached the age of eleven. They decided I was old enough, so they said they would see how I would do. So I packed my bags and we were off. I was nervous at first on the long car ride, because I thought I would freak out during the night in the dark. Eventually that feeling went away.
The first night we stayed at Ed's cottage near Ely. It was a cozy little place. Early the next morning we went to a restaurant to eat a BIG breakfast, and we would need it for all the long hours of canoeing ahead of us. We then went to Canadian Border Outfitters where they rented canoes, paddles, life jackets, rain gear, tents, etc.. I'm sorry, did I forget to mention that this year they let one of my other sisters go too? Her name is Jenny.
Well they eventually loaded all our stuff onto this tugboat and we boarded on and we rode for about 45 minutes in that tugboat. We rode and we rode until we reached the starting point of our adventure. We put our two canoes in the water, loaded our packs in, then set off for our unknown adventures. I was in the canoe with Ed and Jenny, while Tim was in a canoe with my dad. In my canoe we had about two or three packs and I was sitting on the one in the middle, it was SO uncomfortable. To make matters worse it was freezing cold outside and I was wearing eight layers of clothing and I was still cold.
We eventually reached a portage. I had to carry a 30 pound pack over this half mile, muddy, smelly portage. The mud sometimes was knee deep and I had only brought one pair of shoes. I had already ruined my only pair. After that we canoed again for about thirty minutes, then we portaged, next we canoed again, then portaged, then canoed, and we portaged again then we canoed. And guess what, we were at a campsite! Unfortunately it was starting to get dark out and we hadn't even set up a tent. (We also had to cook dinner!) While my dad and Ed set up the tent, Tim started a fire and Jenny and I cooked the steak. When we finally got to eat it was pitch black out, but luckily we had a fire. Ed told some pretty spooky stories, trying to freak me out. After that Me and Jenny went in the tent first, we set up our sleeping bags then got in and hoped we wouldn't have frozen butts in the morning. After that all the guys came in. It took them a little while to get set up and in bed. It took me like an hour to fall asleep, because of all of the loons (a type of Canadian bird) that were singing on the lake.
The next morning I was the last person to wake up. I didn't want to get out of my sleeping bag cause it was so warm and so cold outside. It was 32 degrees and it was sleeting. We made a great breakfast of fried eggs and bacon. I never had either of these before, but they made me try it. After that Jenny and I washed the dishes. Next we loaded the two canoes into the water. We were going fishing. We needed to catch fish for our dinner. My dad was the first person to catch a fish. We fished for another hour, then stopped to eat lunch. After that we fished again. I caught two fish. The second fish I caught spit up this seven inch half digested fish when I caught it. It was disgusting. I had Jenny take a million pictures of me and my fish. Then we returned to our campsite. Goodier Lake was a great place to camp. Some nights we saw beavers and some nights we humungous Northern Pikes. I wanted so badly to catch a Northern Pike. They are so cool, they could eat a human baby or even a dog. I watched Ed skin my fish, I felt like barfing but I didn't show how I felt, I had to act tough. That night we ate my fish for dinner. Then we all sat around the campfire and drank hot chocolate.
The next day we went exploring. We found this big field. You had to be careful where you stepped cause parts of it was swamp. This large field had been formed over years and years by beavers. It was pretty cool. I was learning alot about animals and other stuff. We went fishing again. I only caught one fish and so did Jenny and Ed. We kept two of the one fish and let the other one go. We went back to the camp site and cleaned it up. Jenny and I played cards and stuff when the guys went exploring without us. She taught me how to play a bunch of cool games. Eventually the day ended.
The next morning we packed the canoes up and left. We portaged and canoed about five times each then we reached the killer portage, POACHER PORTAGE. The portage was a mile long, and this time Ed had to make my pack heavier with all the rain gear. I had been walking for about twenty minutes when I felt my feet sinking and it was getting harder and harder to walk. I looked down and I was in knee deep mud. I called for help. Ed came along and set down his pack and the canoe, and he came over and took the pack off my shoulders. Then he carried me over to dry ground. After that I rested for five minutes, then I started up again. Eventually I reached the end. We all got in the canoes and paddled with all our strength. We eventually reached the place where the tug boat was going to meet us. The tug boat was there. We loaded up and they took us back. That was my exciting experience.