Thursday, March 29, 2007

Preflight

Yesterday marked the unofficial kickoff of the '07 paddling season -- the day when I pull the Preferred Adventure Vehicle (PAV) out of winter layup and check her over. Hull in good shape? Check. Hatches good? Check. Last year's dead bugs swept out? Check.

It comes down to about an hour's worth of largely unnecessary primping and preening, then she goes back in the garage, where she is held firmly in place by Amy's patented HullSlings(TM) -- essentially two pieces of seat belt adorned with several adjustable (and decorative) buckles. It is, as they say in the trade, "bombproof."

I'm excited because this year there is a veritable Great Lakes tour planned. We usually start with the relatively easy Beausoleil Island in southern Georgian Bay, a nine-kilometre island that's remarkable for its amazing transition of topography: In the north, you get the last vestiges of Canadian Shield before it gives way to the southern St. Lawrence Lowland.

In midsummer, it's on to the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, which we plan to set out on for the first time ever in the area of Pukaskwa National Park. Pukaskwa is on the east coast, near the town of Wawa, Ontario. It's known for a local caribou herd, unbelievable steep, serious granite cliffs and many sets of Native hieroglyphs that date back thousands of years.

But it's still a bit too early for all that. For now, launch day is unofficially set for Easter Weekend, weather permitting, at Toronto's Cherry Beach, which is home port to all sorts of unusual paddlecraft.

And a great chip truck, to boot.

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