Finally, after a full summer of being “Out There”, the portageur.ca paddle has been found and claimed (and Preston is now free to post his trip photos on Facebook)! So paddles up and a hearty congratulations to Nicole Dubovski!  If you remember, the preseason clue had alluded to the fact that this year’s contest wasn’t going to be easy, and the Portageur.ca paddle definitely proved to be the most difficult find to date. (We even hear that it had at least 2 past paddle-finders stumped. *cough* Jeff Bardell! *cough cough* Chris Hocking!!) But it seems our PITPC tricks did not get past our newest paddle-finder, Nicole, when she and her family tracked down this hidden BADGER like they were old-pros. Perhaps they had a bit of luck on their side as well, with the way things turned out in the end. Read Nicole’s account of where this particular BADGER was hidden and find out how she and her troops located the very elusive 2016 Portageur.ca paddle.

I had great fun this summer trying to guess all the locations of the hidden paddles. Loving all the photos that are steadily being posted, seems like so many more than last year. I did not have much luck determining exact locations, but something was ringing so familiar with Preston’s clues. By clue #2 I had already determined it was somewhere in the French River area, somewhere between Mann Island and the Voyager channel. Too large an area at that point, and we had already completed a Georgian bay trip for the season, plus we really wanted to go out to Temagami so we planned our 7 days and headed out to Chinigouchi.

nicole-find-portageur-1
When we got back, and saw the paddle had not been claimed yet. I pulled out the French River Provincial Park map and waited for more clues. By the time clue #4 came out I had it pinned down to 4 square kilometers. Hubby thought I was nuts but we planned to drag the family out again. Even if the paddle was claimed we would still go out and have a great time.

Clue #5 and Clue #6
With clue #6 I had narrowed it down to 1 Square kilometer. We planned to make site 723 our home base and search out from there, making sure to keep the Bustard lighthouses in view. We chose this particular camp site because it is has always been a favored spot in rough weather when we come out of the Bad River Channel. (It is a perfect safe haven to spend the night before heading over to the Bustard’s . (This is one of our favorite areas, a perfect starting point for our search.) We left no tree unchecked, and we searched everywhere with no luck. When nightfall came we decided someone must have found it already. So we enjoyed our sunset, watched the stars, saw some meteors, and planned to head to the Bustard’s in the morning.

nicole-find-portageur-2
I got up with the sun and got my sunrise photos. Preston was right when the clue he gave said it was an “Ideal rock for viewing sunrises and sunsets!” And while enjoying our morning coffee, we went over the clues and photos again… just in case we missed something. When somehow Hubby noticed that the small tree behind our tent had a crooked top similar to the one in Preston’s photo that we had studied so carefully……what ..right behind my tent?! Really? Was Preston that sneaky?!

BIG-Portageur-CLUE-3

Indeed he was, there buried deep in the trees right behind our tent, where I had just spent the entire night pondering where I had went wrong, low and behold there it was. Mind you, I did stand back and look at the cedars, and sure enough the mirage sat in the distance (the islands around the light house do appear to hover above the water). All three lighthouses clearly visible, in the open breeze. Trees clearly have no business growing there (just like one of the clues said)!

nicole-find-portageur-3
If we were not so fond of Georgian Bay and the million adventures that it has given us over the last 30 years. And if my husband hadn’t noticed the bent tree top behind the tent… we never expected the paddle to be right in the campsite! My whole family has had the experience of a lifetime sleuthing over clues and maps, and combing the islands and trees. We had ten legs and ten eyes between us, and they were duly rewarded. I cannot be more thankful for such a wonderful adventure. It all came together on the one campsite we have had circled on our map for years and years as a safe haven site. I guess we should have marked it with an X.

Nicole Dubovski

Thanks for sharing your rewarding adventure with us, Nicole. And thanks for taking part in this year’s PITPC!

See what PITPC “treasures” Nicole has won below… X marks the spot, indeed!

The Portageur.ca Paddle and Prize Pack:

This well hidden, oiled, ash Portageur.ca Paddle, with custom laser engraving, comes with a Badger Paddle Sock and a wood PITPC collector’s tag.

Portageur.ca Paddle

Badger Paddle Sock and PITPC Wood Tag

63″ Ash, Custom Shape: Modified Ottertail, Oiled with Badger Paddle Sock and Laser Engraving

Total MSRP $214.00 CAD from Badger Paddles

The Portageur.ca 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!):

neoair-xLite-portageur temagami-jeffsmap-set

Canoeroots Magazine Subscription

Portageur Personal Java Press

Portageur Java Mill

Portageur.ca Decal

PORTAGEUR.CA PADDLE PRIZE PACK

Badger Canoe Paddle (oiled) Ash 63″ Custom Modified Ottertail – Badger Paddles $139.00
Laser Engraving – Badger Paddles $75.00
Portage Hat – Portageur.ca $29.95
Portage Decal – Portageur.ca $8.00
Sea To Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat – Portageur.ca $199.95
GSI JAVA PRESS 30 OZ – Portageur.ca $29.95
GSI JAVAMILL – Portageur.ca $29.95
Canoeroots 1 Year Subscription – Rapid Media $19.95
Set of Temagami Maps – Jeff’s Maps $75.00
  TOTAL PORTAGEUR.CA PADDLE PRIZE PACK VALUE $606.75

Photo of the actual Portageur.ca paddle before being hidden:

portageurpaddle

Please log in to view user profiles.

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!