27 Aug 4th Paddle Found Makes One Happy Camper
The fourth paddle found in this year’s Paddle in the Park Contest has been discovered in Killarney Provincial Park!
Does this picture seem familiar? For the first time in Paddle In The Park Contest we have a repeat winner – and it’s just our second year! In 2013, Chris pored over hints and clues for most of the summer, then once he was sure he knew where Kevin Callan had hidden a paddle in Algonquin Park, he set out to find out if he was right. Chris took a long drive, then a long paddle and all his efforts paid off when he came home with a new BADGER®. In a repeat performance this year, Chris again pored over hints and clues for most of the summer, and once he was sure he knew where Kevin had hidden a paddle, this time in Killarney, he set out to find out if he was right. And once again after some effort to get there, he was rewarded with a great experience, and also with a new Cherry 55″ varnished “Classic Sliver” BADGER® paddle.
Now before you call “Shenanigans”, when you read about his efforts, you’ll see this guy is serious about his paddle finding. He checked all over for clues here and on our sponsor sites, followed Kevin Callan’s movements and even memorized the published clues. (We’ve decided to picture Chris sitting at his desk in a room with one light-bulb, FBI style picture board, print-outs tacked to the walls, staring down at a map and whispering one of Fiona’s rhyming clues to himself.)
But then again, Chris was nice enough to write up his adventures, so we’ll let him tell you about it:
For the second year in a row, I’ve been following the Paddle in the Park contest, keeping track of the clues and organizing my plan of attack for when I may have time to “get out there” next. With the addition of my new adventure partner, Hudson, a 3.5 month old Golden Retriever, I was ready to try my luck, hoping to add a new paddle to my collection.
This past weekend gave me just that opportunity, with a few free days and a couple of paddles in mind to attempt to find. After putting in a long day of paddling and portaging on Saturday, Hudson and myself came up empty handed (pawed?) on attempt 1 of 2. This isn’t to say that the day didn’t turn out great as we got to paddle through one of the nicest areas in Ontario.
On Sunday it was off to the Bell Lake access point in Killarney Provincial Park. Hudson and myself had left early enough that we arrived at 8am, ready to start a new adventure. From the clues provided for The Happy Camper paddle, I figured that the portage between David Lake and Great Mountain Lake sounded like the place. However with 2700m or so of ground to cover, finding a paddle would be no easy feat, especially with a light breeze that added a bit of extra challenge along the way.
On the second portage of the day, I was lucky enough to spot a moose just across the little bay. As we started to paddle, we realized the moose was using the lake as a safety zone to stay clear of a number of wolves that were keeping a close eye on her. The moose would head up into the forest, then minutes later come crashing back towards the lake a few hundred meters up the shoreline, with the wolves hot on her tail. This continued for at least a kilometer of shoreline, and I watched in amazement that this was happening right in front of me. Eventually all involved headed back into the cover of the trees and I continued my paddle up David Lake.
Finally, we reached the trailhead towards Great Mountain Lake. As Hudson and I started across the trail, we both breathed a sigh of relief when we realized that it followed a low-lying area and didn’t involve too much elevation change. I kept my eyes peeled, looking for the telltale string on a tree, not really sure what else might give away the paddle’s location. About three quarters of the way across I entered an opening, it took me a while, looking back and forth, trying to figure out which way the portage trail went, and whether or not a different trail was intersecting at this same spot. As I figured out which trail to follow, I remembered back to the second part of the clue “Just keep a keen eye on how you must navigate”. That’s when I knew this had to be the spot. I looked around closely at every tree, finally noticing one with the navigation arrow on it. It had two horizontal white strings, cleverly hidden behind a couple of dead branches, camouflaging them from unsuspecting portagers. Hudson, unimpressed by the “stick” that I had found, decided to find his own stick to pose with.
I was all smiles as I started the paddle back towards the car. Luckily the wind was now at my back, which made the trip seem much easier. Hudson was quite tuckered out from the long hike across the portage and slept for most of the paddle back to Bell Lake, except for of course introducing himself to every other portager we met on the two remaining carries. At the conclusion of the trip, I couldn’t have been happier, new places explored, new experiences and a great couple of days with my new adventure partner.
Thanks so much, Chris, for that great write-up!
You still have a chance at 4 more paddles hidden somewhere in Ontario Parks, so make sure to keep coming back for more hints and clues to their location. (Have you checked the map lately? Maybe you should before heading out for the long weekend.)
Oh, and of course since a new paddle has been found we are drawing a winner for the Happy Camper Paddle at 12:00PM on Tuesday September 7th! Why so late? Well we here at the contest have vacation plans and want to get “Out There” too. 🙂 So you have a few more days to get your name in the draw (you can do so once per day)! We’ll announce the winner shortly after we’ve been contacted by them.
Good luck everyone!!!
Here is what the Chris has won, and below what is up for grabs on Friday: