Our first official female paddle-hider was definitely born to canoe. As a young girl, Andrea Wilson* used to spend hours steering her cedar canvas boat to her will. Back country canoe trips came next. No stranger to the trail, Andrea first became a Wilderness Guide (and Portage Queen!) when she was a mere teen. Having helped to build the successful SmoothWater Outfitting in the early 90′s along side Hap Wilson, Andrea has also spent many years working in the seasonal paddle sports industry for canoe builders such as Swift Canoe, and retailers like Algonquin Outfitters and Northern Lights Canoe & Kayak, choosing to spend her winters on the slopes and trails as a talented Level 3 Ski Instructor.
Whatever the season, you will indeed find Andrea “Out There”! Not only eager to explore the trails and waterways of our natural world, Andrea has been dedicated to exploring the shores of her own mind as well having completed an honours degree in Gerontology (with a specialization in Religious Studies), a degree in Ethics, a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities; and is even now working her way through her doctorate with the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where she is researching “spirituality in the conversations of older women”.
Also Hap Wilson’s long time sweetheart, Andrea is the unnamed “young woman” that Hap pines for in the book “Grey Owl and Me”. As Hap’s true partner on the trail – and in life – they were finally married in a traditional Scottish wedding on their woodland property in Muskoka, Canada – where they also live with their children. Andrea can usually be found not far from the side of her loving husband and family, along the water trails, guiding, or spending time at their one-of-a-kind Cabin Falls EcoLodge in Temagami, whilst portaging her canoe across the famous “Golden Stair Cases” of Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park.
*Fiona (co-founder of PITPC and co-owner of Badger® Paddles) first met her friend Andrea while working for Swift Canoe & Kayak over 20 years ago, and was quickly impressed by her amazing skills – especially the ability to independently whip the heaviest of Royalex canoes onto her own shoulders like they were made of ultra-light Kevlar®. A true outdoorswoman, Andrea was the first person to come to mind when Fiona and Preston were discussing the idea of adding the first official female PITPC paddle-hider for the 2014 season, especially considering the countless times in her life that she has been referred by others as the “Portage Queen” or even “Queen of the Dreaded Portage”. Thankfully, this very special woman woman has agreed to hide a very special paddle for the Paddle In The Park Contest 2014 season, in order to help celebrate all women (Portage Queens, Canoe Princesses, or otherwise) in the outdoors . One of three “Algonquin Outfitters” hidden canoe paddles this season, the specific paddle that Andrea will have hidden is specially marked for women, because the lucky lady** who finds this carefully hidden paddle will also be crowned as a true “Portage Queen”!
** (Or lucky man, if he wants the “Portage Queen” title for himself!)
Hey Portage Queens! Want your own “GIRLS PORTAGE TOO” poster or sticker? Shop online here: badgergiftshop.ca