Wabakimi Solo Overnight August 2023!

I was supposed to be heading up to Pickle Lake for the August Long weekend but plans change. All I could think is I have that deposit sitting at Wabakimi. Why not use it?

I messaged Bruce at Wabakimi Outfitters on August 2nd, and he’s so persuasive that two minutes later, he had decided I was going to Wabakimi on Friday the 4th! He wasn’t wrong.  He invited me to come stay at the lodge Friday night then get on the water Saturday morning.

It’s a 430 km trip from my house in Atikokan (where I now live) to Wabakimi Outfitters via Thunder Bay. So I asked for the afternoon off from my boss so that I could get to Wabakimi in time for supper. And so the prep began. Over the next 24 hours, I would cook and dehydrate split pea soup, a flakes of chicken casserole and a batch of barley mushroom casserole. I would need to eat. I ran to the store for some peanut butter pretzels and Eatmore bars! The Eatmore bars are trademark must have in my pack.

On Friday at 11 am. I was on the road.  Me and my little Sparkie, my dog, my gear with a pretty little 16' widebody Carbon Fibre Langford Canoe on top! 


I stopped in Thunder Bay which is 200 kms away to get a new watch (analogue) and a back up battery pack for my phone (for a camera) just in case I would need it, then it was on the road to Armstrong. Another 200+ kms up the highway. Enroute and closer to Armstrong I noticed I was crossing the Kopka River. I watch a lot of Youtubers, in particular Kevin Callan aka KC Happy Camper and Jonathan Ontario aka Lost Lakes, but others too. I am also a huge Mike Ranta Fan who often does Facebook live feeds when he is in the bush. But watching Youtubers do the Kopka River has me bucket listing the trip. It’s not something I would do alone, but I am ready to go once I find someone!

I stopped at Kopka River and maybe it’s my old age but I got a bit emotional like this is so cool. It’s so beautiful up there. I have been gone from NW Ontario since 1998, having moved out west and then to Toronto, and back out west, and back to Toronto again… I have been gone a long time. I bought my little house in Atikokan in 2008 but at the time it was just to be a rental until it could be my vacation / retirement home. I didn’t expect what would happen just a month ago. I got a call asking me if I could work on a project up here. I wasn’t passing up that opportunity. So in part the reason I was so emotional was pure joy! Like are you kidding me, I get to live in the wilderness and I get to play in it on the weekends.  I am immersed in it now..  

I grew up in the wilderness of NW/NE Ontario. My dad moved us from Toronto to Caramat, then to Hornepayne, then Longlac, then Terrace Bay. I lived for a bit in Thunder Bay too. So this region that is for many a bucket list dream, I was so fortunate to grow up in it. It’s just home to me! And despite being truly wilderness, it’s familiar! And that offers a certain sense of comfort.

The Kopka River was so beautiful. I am eager to get on it. But not this time... I need a buddy for that - for sure!


The drive from the Kopka bridge to the outfitter wasn’t much longer. As I pulled in to the Outfitters, wouldn’t you know it there is a couple of guys just coming in from a Kopka River trip one of them from Fort Frances. It was a real pleasure getting to meet them and hear some of their trip info. I was given a warm welcome from Bruce and a 30 minute warning bell for dinner. So back to my car to reorgranize my gear, and make sure everything was in place.

The lodge was beautiful. I went down to the dock to watch a float plane come in, and get a sense of where I was.


Again if anything it felt familiar. But rustic for sure! It’s Wabakimi. Wabakimi is slightly more north than places like Nakina! For those that have done a fly in fishing trip in Nakina, I was that far north but further West..!  Bruce asked me if I ever been to Armstrong before, I chuckled, I have.. But only by train! My dad was a railroader when I was really young, so was my uncle. They worked this line as signal men. But that’s not why I had been to Armstrong. Several years ago, I took my daughters Jayme and Maggie on a VIA train trip from Toronto to Edmonton, and Armstrong was one of those stops where the people with canoes and backpacks and guns get on and off! It’s pretty cool actually…  I remember thinking how lucky those dudes with the canoe were getting off the train.  

At the lodge, I got to talk to the guy from Fort Frances a little longer that had just finished the Kopka River.  I got to meet Bruce’s temporary student employee from Wisconsin, and Bruce’s friends one of which is a mountain climber.  He wrote a book about his adventure "Fairweather From Sea to Sky"  Author is Donald Langlois. His journey starts on the Beach of the Gulf of Alaska.  It was a true pleasure and honour to meet such an adventurous spirit. Who by the way had travelled to Armstrong all the way from Seattle in a van! Love it. He was enroute afterwards to Red Rock Ontario for a music fest. Good for them!

I also got to meet the one and only Lindsay.  She seems to me to be the Wabakimi Outfitters heartbeat. The girl is organized, friendly and keeps things running with great professionalism and wilderness wisdom! She set me up with an InReach Garmin so that I would have a means to report in my destination at night, and also to hit the SOS button if needed. That did make me feel somewhat better.

Dinner was fabulous, listening to everyone’s share of stories and brief histories over a plate of pickeral , salad, beans, corn on the cob! And a piece of pecan pie if you wanted some…


Bruce and I were last to retire for the night but his stories are endless and full of wisdom. He went over my trip plan which was quite simple.  I would travel this little narrow lake called Little Caribou.   He would drop me off at the bridge outside of Armstrong.  Then I would paddle up the lake, then paddle back when I was done. The lake is about 12 kms long and narrow enough to be sheltered from any big wind that would make it too rough to paddle.  A perfect first time journey. It's the knowledge and local expertise that makes your outfitters so invaluable.  Regional differences are a thing!   A trip in Quetico, is not a trip in Wabakimi, and it's not a trip in Woodland Caribou, or a trip on Lake Superior.  The bug seasons, the landings for a canoe, the type of forest, the winds.  Those are all things that are important to understand.  The best way to get that wisdom and crucial information is to work with an Outfitter!

The lodge is set up so that there is a few rooms on each side.  They all have their own exit to the outside, and another door to the interior of the lodge where the seating area is , dining, etc… It’s super cozy. I definitely would go back for that hospitality and company!

I had a great sleep in my room, on a super comfy bed. At night, I did get up to let my dog out. It was quite dark. I was thinking how ever will I do this sleeping in the bush by myself. But you know how night time is, our brains work overtime and anxiety gets the best of us. Or at least for me it does.

I was up early enough to get some coffee, and have a nice breakfast made by Bruce and company… And then Bruce and I sat down once again, and he gave me a quick navigational refresher. I was super grateful. Then it was off.   Bruce drove me to the put in in my own car. I was honoured that he complimented my tie down job of the canoe. He quite likes my canoe which I had been telling him I wasn't sure if I had bought the right one.  In fact there had been discussion about a trade!   Bruce’s second hobby I am told is buying, selling and trading canoes. Mine would be a nice addition to any collection. It’s a carbon fibre by Langford. I am always getting compliments on it…I bought it in May just before a Kawartha Highlands trip (the blog will come out eventually). 

Quite honestly , I was going to buy a Souris canoe, but they wouldn't have been able to get me one in time for my trip..  So I ended up going with this Langford.  A salesperson by the name of Todd had got in touch with me from a Facebook post I had made about canoe shopping and suggested I try out a Langford.   

I spent a bit of time one evening in May at the Langford shop in Dwight Ontario, trying canoes. My dad tells me that my great Aunt Maggie had actually lived in the Langford house in Baysville.  I think Langford is the oldest canoe company in Canada, and given my great aunt's Baysville origins, it was a bit of a nostalgic reason for getting one too. 

I spent many summers in Muskoka until early adulthood.  My uncle had a cottage on Three Mile Lake, and I was there as often as possible...  So buying a Muskoka built canoe was special to me too!   The day I was down there trying them out, I really did fall in love with this 16' canoe and that was it...
I bought it! 

Back to my story...

The put in is at the bridge of the Little Caribou Lake, off of Caribou Road about six kms from Town. Bruce was quick enough to get me there, get me prepared and leave before I could change my mind!   My car and Bruce were gone..  It was now just me, my dog, and my gear. A map and a compass.. This was it. Like it or not, I was going in. No way out!


The first of the paddle is just a little narrow from the bridge, and then I pulled out the compass the map and started the journey North up the lake.  I pointed towards my first designated point not too far away. But I got to it, and then I started second guessing myself and my navigation skills. It’s not really a lake you can get lost in so much as off course. But I thought you know what I am going to try this again just to make sure I got it. So back to Point A to pull out the map, do my compass thing and paddle it again. Now I felt better about what I was doing.

You paddle through a series of little islands,and then up a very narrow channel and over top of a beaver lodge.. And then I came to a wider mouth of the lake. Then it happened! I look over behind me and what is swimming across the lake! Not towards me, but a reminder that they are around. Yup a bear, off in the distance swimming towards shore!   

It’s at this point I remember my bear spray is out of reach in the canoe. It’s up at the top and there is no way for me to get at it. Thankfully there was no worries, but it was a reminder that next time I land I better get that on my belt. It’s a true story that bears have been known to hijack boats! If you don’t believe me pick up a copy of A Bear Stole My Fishing Boat: True tales to make you laugh by Matt Jackson.


The paddle continued on. The further I went in, the more relaxed I got, surprisingly. The wilderness was beautiful. Lots of rocks and good ole thick boreal forest. I felt right at home. The only thing with this kind of forest is landing a canoe is not easy. You can’t land a canoe on a rock face, or a mucky mess of fallen timber… It was something that I knew to be aware of. I am very keen to study topographical features on maps for this reason.

I saw some loons along the way, of course I did. The weather was great. I wasn’t overly hot or cold. I was just right. I was really enjoying the learning. Staying on top of my navigating. Although its a small and narrow lake - it is a great lake to test your skills. So it was me jumping point to point. And checking out the campsites that Bruce marked on the maps. I went by a blow down area.  It was humbling to see how much damage a storm could do. Basically an entire section of trees laid to the ground… Up here, and well anywhere, a storm is a very serious hazard. Being hit by lightning or having a tree fall on your tent. Those are real concerns. Probably more of a concern than wildlife.

About 7 kms (or about an hour and a half paddling time) Presley and I found camp.  It was marked "Best" on the map, so who would pass that up. It was early afternoon, but I was eager to make a home base. So we found our spot to land the canoe. It was slickish, uneven rock and not much space.. Also a very big ole leech was swimming around us! I forgot how big those things get up north. Little eels!  Sure didn't want that on my foot, ick!

I offloaded my gear, while Presley was telling me she was eager to get fishing.  Presley literally sits by my fishing rod and whimpers and whines and barks.  She is addicted to fishing! I am telling you my dog is the best behaved dog, she listens, she learns on the fly. She is alert. She is an angel in the house. She is good to my cat. But when it comes to a fishing rod, she is a demon child! She is addicted to watching fish come in! I think she thinks its a game of fetch. Mom throws that in the water, a fish comes back! She loves fishing so much, she watches it on TV at home, and will throw the remote at you, if it’s not a show she wants. She wants you to change the channel to a different paddle show! I am not kidding. My friends will vouch for this!  My dog is obsessed with Paddle TV and fishing shows.

Up top of the rock ledge I would camp on, I made a quick assessment for any bear activity then I made myself aware of the trees in the area. I wasn’t going to have a lot of options for a tent spot that is just how it is here.  I had to make do with what I had.   

I looked for dead trees, then also looked at what trees would have to fall on in the event they started falling over. After some investigation, I found what I believed to be the most reasonably safe spot given the choices. The ground that I found for my tent though full of tree roots was otherwise soft and earthy and mossy. It was like an earth carpet! So beautiful…

That was it..  I got all my gear in its spot, my bear spray on my belt loop and my tent up and a paddle inside just in case I had to bonk a bear on the nose with it... I got my canoe turned over on to shore; which was challenging on my own with very little landing to play with...   This is one of the major benefits of my canoe. It’s 16’ so not terribly long, and being carbon fibre it is under 40lbs. While still heavy for me, it’s doable. I have cardiomyopathy. I am not supposed to lift heavy things. I also have a real serious case of determination (or stubbornness) so I do the best I can and live anyways!  I got it all done.  Camp was set up...  

I needed a nourishing gulp of water...  I drank so much water that day. It was warm and with my heart I have to keep hydrated. I need to drink about twice as much water as the average person to keep from suffering chest pain/tightness especially when I'm working hard. The shortness of breath and lightheadedness stuff, I will get that anyways! But I live with it….  

I sat down to a snack of peanut butter pretzels.. I wasn’t truly hungry yet but needed a nibble.   I had such a hardy breakfast at the lodge I would be good for a while. One thing I noticed and paid attention to was that as soon as you open the lid to the Bear Vault (food container) the smells of all the good food come out. So before I eat, I make noise. I banged my paddle up on a tree! Yes, I am paranoid but better safe than sorry.   I ate then put my food away, then it was time to make my dog happy....  Go fishing! 

How is the fishing up here you ask....  Well if you want a fish, put your line in the water, that’s it!


First cast, in comes a pike! And for the most part as many times as I cast I caught another pike! I wasn’t looking for anything to eat (ie walleye).  There is no way I am cooking fish at camp, and for me to find a place to catch them and clean them and eat them wouldn’t be easy. Finding another landing spot would’ve been a real challenge,  and I wasn't too worried about eating fish.  

I was content with the fishing and so was my dog. She barks almost every cast letting every animal from camp to Armstrong know we were around. She is a Cattle Dog slash Kelpie. So she has a very ear piercing bark. It would annoy/scare anything away. So while her bark can be annoying, for today, I wasn’t minding them. She was very likely keeping us safe!

I knew a thunderstorm was incoming later that evening. So I opted for an early dinner of my mushroom and barley stuff… In theory, I should be able to boil the water, add the water to the mix and it should rehydrate after about 15 minutes. For whatever reason, it didn’t rehydrate well. But I ate it anyway. I wasn’t going to dispose of the food, and I wasn’t going to waste it. It tasted good, the texture wasn’t ideal!   I also enjoyed an Eatmore dessert! And another big gulp of water….

I tried to get in some reading. I brought my short story book the Fencepost Chronicles by WP Kinsella. Anybody that has ever lived in Hobbema/Wetaskiwin area, or out west, or has crazy french/native friends. This book is for you! It’s a series of short stories, full of smart ass, wit and.. I am not going to say more. But it’s funny! So I got a few of those chapters in. Then back to fishing. It’s about this time I am fishing when I see a canoe coming! A guy in a solo boat with a kayak type paddle. I am sure he was somewhat surprised to say a woman there alone! Bruce tells me there isn’t many women that solo paddle in this park.  I hope this blog encourages it though!


The guy pulls up which was great because my lure was caught! So we had a quick chat, he was from Thunder Bay...   I jokingly asked him if he was lost…! He was just coming out of a of a six day solo trip. He shared a story of having hurt his knee one time in the bush, and having to sit with it for three days til it healed before he could get out of the bush!   After some story telling, he asked me how much further to the bridge, and I said you will be there in just over an hour… Then he released my snag, and off he went.

An interesting trick. It works about 80% of the time for me. If you snag your line, don’t keep pulling and fighting it. Simply give a little extra line, and lay your rod down, and go do something for 10 minutes. Most of the time by the time you come back the snag will have unsnagged itself. I don’t know if fish take it off or the under water movement just jiggles it away eventually, but it really does work most of the time! That’s if you don’t keep trying to unsnag it making it worse. So patience!

The evening went like that between fishing and reading, and me often sitting in my chair just looking out thinking how lucky I am to be here! Every once in a while I would bang my paddle on the tree again, just out of an abundance of caution but I otherwise was truly forgetting my worries…


I have one of the most active minds. My brain is always going, and thinking and planning. But when I am in the wilderness, I am just living in the moment. Sitting on the rock at the lake, made me think of my friend Kim who paddled with me in Killarney a couple years ago. We had been there for a bit, and got camp set up when she looks at me and says "but now what do we do?" I look over at her and say "You just sit here and enjoy it!"  I remember the look she gave me...  I miss you Kim!  

Well here I was, nobody around, just me and my dog. Doing exactly that just sitting there and enjoying it. My mind mostly silenced… at around 8 o’clock the distant thunder started and the sprinkles of rain. So it was time to put my food away. I found the best spot I could, probably not quite 100 feet away but again the sites aren’t like southern Ontario where they are relatively easy to walk around and find something.   

Here in the Boreal you just do the best you can… What I made sure to do was keep it well away from my tent and the fire, and in a spot where if a bear did want it he had a clear and easy path to run with it , away from me! There was a little hollow in the ground, and I was able to tuck it in there under some branches. As for me I had a clear path from my tent to my canoe to get out of its way if needed! I think that’s the main thing. Don’t go putting food near your tent, or in such a way that you gotta go past a bear munching on it to get to your canoe! There are people that put their food under the canoe - not smart. The bear will destroy your canoe getting to it!   I have such bad bearanoia that I have come up with every scenario in my mind for escape and fighting back.  

For my food I have been using a bear vault (thank you Stephan) and I don’t pack anything I know bears like, ie: fruit, bacon, fresh meat.. All my food is dehydrated and put into Ziploc bags.. I am so cautious about what I pack!

I grew up with bears. I saw what they ate, everything. But for some reason, they don’t care for Mr. Noodles! Also, I have heard bears hate vinegar. When I do my dishes, I use boiling water, then spritz everything with vinegar which disinfects. It’s the safest environmentally friendly way to clean stuff in my opinion. It wrecks nothing, and it leaves an odour that bears don’t like. I have heard bears will run if sprayed with vinegar. So yeh, I clean up my stuff, and spritz.  I use it for my hand sanitizer too….

Once camp was ready and the rain started to get a little more serious, I headed into my tent where I enjoyed a couple rounds of solitaire (card game) then read some more. I am a believer in God, so part of my evening routine includes getting in a couple chapters from my Bible. For that evening it was from the book of Samuel.

The rain paused long enough for me and Presley to get in a bit more outdoor time and washroom breaks before heading back to the tent. The thunder continued, and the rain came down harder. So I got more in to my book the Fence Post Chronicles until I couldn’t keep my eyes open much longer. I love the sound of rain on the tent, and the thunder in the distance was fine by me. I didn’t worry about it too much, it wasn’t a violent storm. Just a mild one!


I said my prayers, mostly giving thanks for everything that I have been blessed with, and a request for courage and protection over the night...  Then rather quickly I was asleep. What do I keep in my tent with me.. Two paddles, they make an awfully loud noise banged together, a knife, and my bear spray, and absolutely nothing that smells of anything not even my water!

Surprisingly for being alone in the woods, I have never slept better in the bush. I think in part because it was so quiet, and also because where my tent was I was sleeping on a bed of moss and earth. It was just perfect. Perfect temperature, perfect ambience with the rain/thunder. I was probably asleep by 9:30 or 10….


I was up pretty early in the morning. Got in a few more casts, had a breakfast snack, then started to clean up camp.. Got my food pack which hadn’t been touched! Thankfully… No sign of visitors overnight. I cleaned up my dog’s business… then readied to load the canoe!   I had to be pretty careful in planning my paddling, as this morning they were calling for more storms. It was going to be a bit of a trick to pick when I thought would be safe to get on the water. I wish I had a barometer with me. But I checked the InReach for a forecast.

I waited til the time when the first storm was supposed to hit, but it wasn't much of anything. The skies looked like they were trying to clear up. So I decided I would make a quick run to the first campsite marked on the map. Ha ha. And this is where I learn that having a partner comes in handy!

The waves were a little more feisty.. Not serious but it wasn’t calm. The site I found had a landing, but the rocks were so slippery from the rain that there was nothing amusing about trying to get some footing to get out of the canoe.  Although I was laughing at myself...  trying to  hold the canoe so it doesn’t take off on me! Of course i have rope on my canoe, but it was on the other end!  

See if you have someone with you. They get out first, then they hold the canoe for the second person to get out. If you are on your own with an excited dog and a slippery landing, you gotta do the splits, the star, the acrobats… Eventually I did get the canoe wedged in a manner that I could get out. But I was so out of breath trying and full of laughter! I was at the landing long enough to know that I wasn’t going to off load my canoe here, and I also wasn’t going back to the other site for another night. I was just going to sit here for a moment and laugh, then get back on the water and do some fishing. Again, no challenge here! You want to catch fish. Just put on a pink jig tail and jig head…. and cast! That’s it….  Pike o'mania!

I stayed in this little bay for a bit where I would have an out if needed but have something to do while I kept an eye on the sky… I had some time to think about if I wanted to do another night. I decided against it. It wasn’t because I was scared or because I wasn’t enjoying where I was. I was missing my cat! And… I wanted to absorb what I had done. I was satisfied with my accomplishment of an overnight in the woods.. And I felt like I had done what I set out to do - rip off the bandaid of a first solo remote camping trip.  Even better I had done so in truly one of the most remote places a girl could do it in!   I was extremely proud, and felt no need to do more. I just wanted to relish and absorb my accomplishment…

So Presley and I leisurely snaked our way back through the lakes islands… Catching a loon party… Embracing and cherishing where we were…

I messaged the Outfitter to let them know I would be in my canoe near the bridge fishing and was ready at their convenience to be picked up. 

After an hour, I didn’t hear from them.  But I wasn't too worried, they weren't expecting me back til the next day at noon.  I knew they would attend to my message as soon as they were able.  They had a lot of business booked for Sunday... 

So I made my way back to the bridge landing to off load my canoe and gear.  Wouldn't you know it I met a couple gentlemen who were headed out to run the Kopka River. They were from Toronto. I explained that I just moved to Atikokan from Toronto… But was so happy to be up here!

Once they were launched and away Presley and I hung out casting and playing fetch etc at the bridge. I didn’t hear from the Outfitter but my gear was neatly piled up off to the side with my canoe out of the way. This is proper etiquette to keep the portage landing clear for the next canoe.

A truck eventually pulled up and a dog leaps out of the open window!  A handsome yellow lab. The owner asked if I was waiting for someone. I said yeh, waiting for the Outfitter. The nice couple offered me a ride back, and I was happy to take it! I could then go get my own car, and come back later for my gear. Isn’t that the beauty of Northern Ontario. Knowing you can leave your stuff and come back to all of it being right where you left it!  I knew Bruce had a super busy day, so I didn't mind at all to save him the trip...  

So I hopped in the truck with this couple who drove me back to the Outfitters… As I pulled up the mountain climber gentleman let me know lunch was ready in the lodge...   I get in to the lodge, and Bruce says “how’d you get here..”. I laughed... “I hitchhiked from the bridge!” He gave me a look…  

I enjoyed some falafel lunch and shared briefly part of my trip, and met his wife Margaret and son Michael.  I am told Michael the son had done his first guiding trip at the age of 14!! What a kid. After lunch Bruce and one of the other trippers took me in my car back to get my gear. I didn’t really need the help, but I appreciated the service. So back to the bridge to pick up my canoe and gear.  It was all sitting exactly where I had left it - untouched!

Back at the lodge again once more on my way home, Bruce gave me a hat and more importantly my sticker...  I earned it fair and square. I spent a night solo in Wabakimi.  I also bought a very nice jacket with the Wabakimi Outfitters logo on it. Bruce tells me I should wear it when I go in to Canoe Canada in Atikokan…   I will!   I said good - bye and let them know there will be a Wabakimi 2024!    As long as I am still in the neighbourhood, I will definitely do a Wabakimi again…  


It is now time to make the 430 kms trip back home to Atikokan. On the trip home I reflected.. My heart full of gratitude... I just left the wilderness to drive home to the wilderness! My little house is in the back of town in Atikokan. The little old mining houses on my street look more like a row of cabins at a resort. They are just humble little abodes set amongst the trees and rocks. I am surrounded by wilderness and wildlife...  

I am now satisfied that if I want to take my canoe out and get on the lakes where I live and do a solo - I am totally capable. I live at the edge of Quetico park, and the crown land around me is endless. No more do I have to book five months in advance or deal with reservations and other people that are irresponsible with their campsite clean up. I am officially in the wilderness, where going camping is as easy as - just go!  That's how I grew up.  Bush camping, up the mill road, down by the dam.  Crown land.... 

I am already planning Woodland Caribou for September long weekend. Finding a trip partner is now a bonus but not necessary.  I will go either way.  I am no longer limited to needing someone to go with me. I have built up some confidence to go it alone… :)   I am capable!

Now about my Langford canoe. I have been waiting to do a review on this canoe but I felt like I needed to do a few trips to assess it fairly.  

Canoes are like shopping for vehicle.   They each have their own utility, or what they are designed for, they come in different price points and materials and weights.  I have a mixture of needs that no one canoe can give me perfectly. I don’t always paddle solo, and also, I love river trips! 

But for me when I picked up a canoe the priority was that I find something light, shorter and stable. My 16’ Langford, is shorter, stable and light! Despite my heart challenges, and not being super strong, I am able to get it on and off my car by myself. It’s shorter so its definitely easy to maneauver on my own. On the water with my dog moving around and me casting line or reeling in a fish...  or trying to get in and out on my own, it’s stable.  The wide body gives me plenty of room for gear even in a 16’ canoe, I think two people and a comfortable amount of gear would be fine!  I get endless compliments on it.  It's a show stopper estetically... 

That said, it is light. So that means it catches the wind and can be a real challenge to paddle in the wind on my own even with the front weighted down with my gear.  If it was me and another paddler - no issue whatsoever. 

I paddle solo a fair bit (ie when I want to go fishing) so I have to sit more centre in the canoe. In other words I sit in the bow of the canoe turned around, or on the kneel bar (yes I have one!).. Being a wide body the reach for the paddle stroke is longer. So I probably have to use a longer paddle to get in a really nice stroke.  I would probably move faster in a 16' Souris cuz it's narrower.

While a trade was appealing… After considering the pros and cons of my boat for my needs, I think I did good all things considered.  I love my canoe and while for some applications a 16’ Souris will be better, ie in winds etc - overall the one I got is the right first boat for me. I like the stability and weight. I just can’t paddle it well solo in windy conditions...  In reasonably calm waters it tracks like a dream and is a really nice boat!

In conclusion what I need is more canoes!     So… I will start saving for another one rather than trading the one I got. I think I would like a 16’ Souris in my collection too so I have choices!  Oh and a Nova Craft for the Kopka and Athabasca, and Steel River!  

Bruce of Wabakimi tells me the right number of canoes is N+1. N being the number of canoes you now have + one more!  He’s not wrong.

On Sunday night back at the Princess Cabin I was really pleased to place my Wabakimi sticker in my Ontario Parks passport book.  My first SOLO overnight in the wilderness with the help of Wabakimi Outfitters...  I couldn’t have asked for a better place to do it. It was remote, It was wilderness. But oh so familiar, it felt just like home!