Have you ever thought about strapping some gear to your board and heading out on either one of your favorite canoe tripping routes or somewhere new? This summer we decided to give it a try. Being experienced canoe trippers, we were a bit concerned about the amount of gear we would be able to carry. We wanted to bring enough camping equipment and food to make our experience more than a minimalist one… we are canoe trippers after all!
We decided to take two 14ft touring boards with adequate deck rigging on the bow and stern. The Blu Wave Catalina 14 and Focus Freedom 14. We both had 2 full 30 liter dry bags, along with one smaller 5-10l litre bag. In order to have fresh gourmet food on the trip, I also put a small cooler on my board. 70 liters each plus the cooler gave us plenty of space to bring all our equipment, clothing,and food. Once everything was packed into the dry bags, I was concerned it was a bit much to fit on the boards but once we loaded them up there was still lots of space, the boards were stable and still had a bit of freeboard left.
We specifically chose a route that had no portages for our first attempt at a trip. If we had chosen to take dry bags with shoulder straps we think portaging would be a breeze. One trip for gear another for boards and paddles would be easy. Certainly not as efficient as a canoe but still better then a kayak! We picked Big Gull Lake in the North Frontenac Parks Region, as it allowed for a short drive from Ottawa and offered a beautiful long lake to explore. We paddled about 8km into the campsite along the north west shoreline, putting in on the north side of the lake off Ardoch Rd. Weather was not on our side as we paddled into a headwind and pouring rain, which provided a fun challenge! We were both very happy to have our baseball hats on so as not to get pelted in the face by the rain.
We set up camp in the rain, made some quick delicious quesadillas and got a fire started. That night we had an adobo marinated pork tenderloin with grilled sweet potatoes and corn. We stayed for 2 nights on a great site with a gorgeous view.
The next morning we were thrilled to wake up to see the sun trying to come out from behind the clouds. We indulged in some huevos rancheros with all the fixings (guacamole, bacon, refried beans, fresh salsa). Later in the afternoon we grabbed our boards and explored the south end of the lake, enjoyed some time in the new 2015 Therma Rest hammock (its awesome!) and grilled up some bacon avocado burgers with a green bean quinoa pine nut salad with honey mustard vinaigrette .
On the way back out we were blessed with glorious sunshine and paddled back on the other (south) side of the lake to get 8km of new scenery and soaked in every minute of it.
It was a great trip, and we would not hesitate to do more challenging trips in the future on stand up paddle boards! There is no denying that the canoe is still the ultimate tripping craft, but for all the reasons why we love to stand up paddle board, go challenge yourself to more then just day paddling!