The Loon Lake Beaver Dam Canoeing Saga

Hi everyone, I wanted to let you know what my weekend was like. Wow was it crazy busy, Laurie has been occupied with the kids and I was doing overtime at work. So, I figured I had some making up to do. I decided to take the family to Perth Lake to do a little canoeing and picnicking.

Even though the kids are still quite small, they are so pumped when we get out in the canoe. Aidan, who is nine, is strong enough to paddle on his own in the front at this point and always insists on being the lead paddler. We try to give him the opportunity to paddle as often as we can. Emma, who’s seven, rides in the center which she is perfectly content with. This particular day the wind was just too much and the waves along the lake were tough to navigate so Laurie took over the lead. We had a blast and even saw some loons perched out on a fallen tree. This instantly reminded me of a funny and rather crazy story from a childhood canoe trip I took with my sister and parents. It is strange to look back now as a parent myself and wonder what I would have done?

We were on Loon Lake in Upstate New York camping for an extended two week stay. My mother had what seemed to be a great idea to picnic at a location she spotted on a map just near the water. Mom decided that my sister and I, along with my dad, should take our canoe and have a nice ride on the water while she would go on foot with the picnic supplies and meet us at the predetermined spot. Now, keep in mind I think I was about 10 and my sister was 6, similar to my own children’s ages.

So, we set out for what would end up being an adventure of its own. My father decided when we neared the edge of the lake to guide us down a tributary as a sort of “short cut”. Being so young and assuming he knew where to take us, I happily took the lead and away we went. The waterway started to narrow to the point of no return. There was wetland vegetation packed so tightly around the canoe it was impossible to turn around. We had no choice but to proceed and hope and pray we would once again find ourselves in open waters.

Eventually we came up against a beaver dam and under Dad’s guidance my sister and I had to get out of the canoe and all three of us lifted the heavy wooden boat over the dam to continue on. This went on and on with us encountering at least eight more dams along the way. Naturally my mother panicked when we were hours late for our lunch date.

Eventually, sunburned and exhausted we made it through and rejoined her. I didn’t realize at the time how panicked my father was until much later in life when we laughed about this saga. I can imagine as a father myself what he must have been thinking and feeling going through something like this. Instinctually I would have been on my phone looking for ways to get help. That wasn’t an option when I was growing up. We had to get tough, dig down and use our wits.

This memory had me thinking about how much different life was back then and the luxuries of technology we have now. There were no cell phones, no GPS services, no real way to call for help if needed. We had just a map and intuition. It does make me miss those days to a certain extent because if we had those things, I wouldn’t have the adventurous childhood that I did. I think it’s important that we all take a step back and simplify, which is why I moved to this small town. I hope that our more simple and country style life can give Aidan and Emma memories of their own that one day we will laugh about.