We have put off telling this story long enough. Why were we putting off telling this story? Because we were waiting for Kevin Callan to go on a canoe trip so he wouldn’t see it. Yes, it’s true. The following paddle-finding tale will probably disturb Kevin Callan, because he has had nightmares about this. Literally, nightmares. For those of you who have been following the contest since the beginning…. you will know exactly what we are talking about… soon.
But until we get to that part of the story, let’s all give a big paddles up to Brittany Schmidt! Brittany is not new to the PITPC, and while she found the KO paddle a couple of weeks ago, she is keen to tell her story and finally be able to make a paddle claim of her very own. See Brittany’s story below and find out where she found the 2017 Killarney Outfitters hidden canoe paddle.
My husband, Nathan, and I drove to Whitefish Falls and put in at Walser’s Landing. Starting on the water by 6:30am gave us time to take in the calmness of the open water, Iroquois Bay, and the sun peeking over the mountains.
As we paddled through the channels to Kirk Creek in Killarney Provincial Park, there was no shortage of wildlife. We enjoyed the morning calls of loons, families of geese splashing in the water, a mink crossing in front of our canoe, and a family of deer bouncing away from us in the tall grass by the waters edge. Nature at its finest!After a few hours of paddling and one short portage around some rapids, we pulled up on the 45m portage that we thought the paddle might be hidden on. At first I was distracted by several delicious blueberry patches, but once I headed toward the rapids I noticed the paddle attached to a tree by a red bungie cord! We then took a few minutes to celebrate the find and snap some pictures. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The red bungie cord Brittany is referring to is actually a “Bungee Dealee Bob”, a handy but simple little device that Preston usually includes with his hidden paddles.]
On the way back, we pulled up to an empty campsite to relax and enjoy some lunch. The paddle back was a little rough with the wind picking up and the temperature in the high twenties. Needless to say it was an exciting but tiring day!
Thanks PITPC for all the adventures and inspiring us with places to explore — Here’s to all the journeys ahead!
~Britney Schmidt (via email).
But wait… the plot thickens… because then we received another email.
(Yeah, this might be a really good time to avert your eyes, Kevin!)
I hope all is well and that you’re having a great summer! Just a quick note to let you know that I was present for the KO paddle find. I had asked my sister to leave me out of the story of her find because she did spot it first, even though I would have seen that red bungie cord eventually if she wasn’t with me lol. I would have preferred that we leave the paddle, but my sister had her heart set on claiming her own. I have to say, it was just as much fun figuring out the clues and searching for the paddle knowing that the goal was to take a selfie. Of course we have to stick to our guns and only find paddles by day tripping, and this was no different. We put in at Walser’s Landing just east of Whitefish Falls. On the water by 6am, paddle in hand and heading back by 10:20am and home and unpacked by 6pm! [EDITOR’S NOTE: Home in time for super again, Chris?! Kevin’s going to lose it! 😉 ] This was on Saturday July 29th and it was a gorgeous day to be out on the water.
This wasn’t my first attempt at this paddle. After the first clue I knew it was somewhere near the “coast” of Georgian Bay, so I planned a day paddle from George Lake to Artist Lake to check out the Artist Lake to Baie Fine portage. Being solo, with Hudson of course, after paddling across George at 7am, I decided I didn’t want to battle the winds all day. So I turned back and went to plan B. Packed up the canoe and got the hiking boots out. I dragged Hudson up to that portage via the LaChloche Silhouette trail, searched and found nothing. So we continued on to Topaz Lake to rest and have lunch before making the trek back. All in all, we paddled about 5-6km then hiked 20-21km. Another great outing and a bit of training for my upcoming 7 day hike in the Rockies at the end of August.
Thank you again for all that you do! It’s amazing how many people are now involved in this contest and in “Getting Out There”, thanks to you and the PITPC team.
~Chris Hocking (via email)
Yes… you read that name right… Chris Hocking. Yes, the same Chris Hocking who is a paddle-finding legend and Kevin’s Callan’s greatest PITPC nemesis and nightmare; home-in-time-for-supper-Chris. And Brittany, the newly announced 2017 KO Paddle Finder, is Chris Hocking’s sister.
Which means… he’s baa-ack! (Sorry Kevin!)
Having helped his brother-in-law locate and find a paddle in 2015, we can only imagine how the family get togethers were going for Chris’ sister Brittany, who had accompanied the boys on their 2015 paddle find but was not really given any credit for it. Well this year was her turn, and she was determined to take it. And all is well that ends well, as this now means that Brittany has some of the same bragging rights as her husband and legendary brother. Well deserved too. 🙂
Plus this also means, not surprisingly, that Chris is now the first to be added to our (still under construction) Paddle Finder Hall of Fame as a #PaddleSelfieSeeker*. And if you don’t believe us about Kevin’s feelings on the Chris Hocking matter, just watch the video above of the scenario that Kevin personally shared with us at the beginning of the 2017 season.
So paddles up and congrats to Chris Hocking for his legendary PITPC status, and to Brittany too, of course. There are still more paddles going out this season, so keep getting “Out There”!
*#SelfiePaddleSeeking is part of the new rules for all past official paddle-finders for 2017’s PITPC.
EDITORS NOTE: For the sake of transparency, because Chris helped us with the making of Kevin’s nightmare video at the beginning of last season (seen above), he was not eligible to win prizes last year (2016) if he found a paddle as we made the new #PaddleFinderSelfie rules of 2017 apply to his particular situation last season. We then decided to make this an official rule for all previous paddle-finders in 2017 to help entice more people to participate in trying to find a hidden Badger canoe paddle while still giving the thrill of the find to previous winners. For the record, Chris did try locating at least one paddle last year but was stumped by the winds partnered with a lack of time at the mouth of the French River, less than 2 km away from the hidden Portaguer.ca paddle of 2016. Rumour has it, he had to get home for supper.
See everything that Brittany won below:
The Killarney Outfitters Paddle Prize Pack Full List:
|Badger||Hidden Badger Paddle||$ 239.00|
|KO||Backpackers Pantry Stroganoff Suace with Beef & Noodles (13 servings)||$ 83.95|
|KO||Chinook Chemun Portage Pack –||$ 109.75|
|Rapid Media||1 YR PADDLING Magazine Print/Digital Subscription||$ 20.00|
|Badger||GIRLS PORTAGE TOO POSTER||$ 10.00|
|TOTAL||KILLARNEY OUTFITTERS PADDLE PRIZE PACK||$470.70|