So after a little bit of a wait, and a whole lot of mystery, we now have the story of the Nova Craft Canoe Paddle – found and claimed by Leslee Bond! A big paddles up and congratulations to Leslee! So why didn’t Leslee claim her paddle right away? Well, it turns out that Leslee was not aware of the contest before spotting the paddle, and did not realize that you were all out looking for it and that we were all anxiously waiting to know who had it. Actually, there was quite a bit of hoopla around the Nova Craft Paddle this year. And really, Leslie finding the paddle isn’t even half of it. But that’s a tale for another day. You can read Leslee’s account of her paddle find below. Now if we could only find out what happened to poor Ms. Moss (for whom Preston still pines).

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For the past 40 years or so, my family and I spend a week at the cottage, on the Pickerel River. My father is a member of the Smoky Creek Hunt Camp, as was my grandfather and my great grandfather, who actually helped build the cottage that is there today. You have to bring everything with you, as there is no road access, boat only. Besides all the packing in and out, I enjoy the fact that there are no cars, no way out but water vessel. It gives you a feeling that you are very remote and away from it all.

family

On the portage between the bodies of water, there is a plaque on a tree that pays tribute to my great grandfather, Charlie Almas. We usually stop to take a photo under that sign, but this year I forgot my camera. Here is a picture of me with 2 of my sisters from a few years back. ~ Leslee

A busy traffic day is a few passing motor boats, and canoes going to Smokey Lake through the portage that starts at the inlet, next to our cottage. I’ve seen paddlers come and go from there all my life and have made the trek numerous times myself and know it well. But on this occasion, when I found the paddle, I was hiking in from the interior, alongside the waterways. Each year a few of us will hike the trail from our cottage back to the portage. This year only my Dad and I wanted to go and check out the trail. It’s a good 45 minute walk, through some rough terrain, and at 82, my father is still hard to keep up with. There were a lot of trees down and a lot of evidence of moose using the trail as well.

Thank you for the lovely canoe paddle. And yes, why wouldn’t I take it. As my father and I were hiking in the woods along the Smokey Creek portage area, (off the Pickerel river), I saw something out of place in the woods, and had to investigate. Much to my surprise there was a canoe paddle strapped to a tree. After reading the plaque, my father said, “Why not?” My Dad got a real hoot out of the whole thing. Me too! ~ Leslee Bond

I came across the Nova Craft Paddle simply by luck, I confess; I wasn’t looking for it. We had just crossed the gorge, after making repairs to the bridge, when I noticed something odd in the woods. After investigating, I discovered the plaque [wooden tag] and paddle. Since I had not heard of the contest before, we were quite bewildered by the whole thing, but decided to take the paddle. It just seemed too good to be true. We couldn’t wait to get back to the cottage to tell the tale. We were tickled at the idea of winning something, and in the woods to boot. Something interesting always happens on that hike, but I think this even tops the bear we saw 2 years ago.

Wow! After looking at the website, I feel quite honoured to have found the paddle. In all honesty, I didn’t know there was a contest and I kind of stumbled upon it. The page on the lost paddle was quite entertaining, I didn’t know I was such a celeb. Haha. I couldn’t agree with you more about the rewards of nature. If I had my way, I’d be out there 24/7. ~ Leslee Bond

For me, it’s the rewards at each end of that hike I enjoy the most. When you get to the portage end, you know you’ve made it when you see the rusty truck that was left there in the 60’s. Then we go a bit further and sit by the waters’ edge, on a moss “couch” and have snacks while we wait for wildlife sightings and just enjoy the peace and quiet. Sometimes you get lucky and see a distant bear scratching his back on a tree, or blue herons land in front of you. When we get back, it’s the immediate jump in the lake, to cool down, that I look forward to.

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This time, I got a different and exciting story to bring back, as well as a beautiful canoe paddle. Thank you for the opportunity to make my family tradition even more special.

Above story submitted via email from Leslee Bond

Thanks (and again, congrats!) to Leslee for her official claim, and for providing us with the perfect ending to the Paddle Finding portion of this year’s PITPC. And yes, as her father mentioned, why not?! As we always say: find the paddle, keep the paddle! Clearly we affirmed for Leslee (albeit in a unexpected and creative way) what she and her family already know from spending time at their cottage; the Rewards are really and truly “Out There”. So yes, we are awfully happy that Leslee decided to take and keep the paddle. See all the (+1) Rewards and prizes Leslie has won below, and watch the trailer for the PITPC Behind the Tent Scenes Screens video for a bit of a sneak peek at the rest of the story behind the 2016 Nova Craft Canoe Paddle… Oh, and don’t forget the mysterious and untimely demise of poor Ms. Kate Moss, whose unexpected fame will forever live on thru the PITPC and the Smokey Creek Portage wooden plaque so lovingly placed there by Preston, who is still feeling a bit over-elmed by the whole sad situation. We know, from your reports, that she was still standing after Leslee found the paddle. But we don’t know much else at this time…. do yew?



The Nova Craft Canoe Paddle and Prize Pack:

This well hidden, oiled cherry Nova Craft Canoe paddle, with custom laser engraving, comes with a Badger Paddle Sock and a wood PITPC collector’s tag.

Nova Craft Paddle

Badger Paddle Sock and PITPC Wood Tag

57″ Cherry BadgerTail, Oiled, with Badger Paddle Sock and Laser Engraving

Total MSRP $214.00 CAD from Badger Paddles

The Nova Craft Canoe Paddle Prize Pack:

Once you lay official claim to the paddle, you will also be awarded the following gear and prizes from our generous sponsors (minus the paddle already found and claimed!):

Badger Canoe Paddle (Oiled) 57″ Cherry BadgerTail – Badger Paddles $139.00
Laser Engraving – Badger Paddles $75.00
Portageur Decal – Portageur.ca $8.00
Exploring Killarney & The French River Book – The Happy Camper/Kevin Callan $19.95
Portageur Hat – Portageur.ca $29.95
Chinook Tarp – AO $44.98
Pelican Micro Case – AO $25.98
Set of Temagami Maps – Jeff’s Maps $75.00
OR Swift Cap – The Happy Camper/Kevin Callan $26.00
Bear Bell – AO $3.98
Canoeroots 1 Year Subscription – Rapid Media $19.95
AO Gift Certificate – AO $20.00
Wildrock Gift Certificate – Wild Rock Outfitters $50.00
10 L Sealline Baja Dry Bag – AO $29.98
Original Pack Towel – XL — KO $31.35
 TOTAL NOVA CRAFT CANOE PADDLE PRIZE PACK VALUE $599.12

 

 

AO Sealine Drybag 10L

Canoeroots Magazine Subscription

Portageur.ca Decal

Wildrock Gift Certificate

ao-pelicancase

temagami-jeffsmap-set OutdoorResearch-Cap-KevinCallan killarneybook-kevincallan giftcard-AO

Photo of the actual Nova Craft Canoe paddle before being hidden:

novacraftpaddle

 

Written by Fiona
Mother, wife, friend, artist, paddler, and owner of Badger Paddles. As co-founder and title sponsor of the PITPC, I'm not eligible to win. But I still wanted to get "Out There" too, and help advocate to get lots of people to spend more time in nature. So I'm really only in it for the fun, and not for the prizes!