All good things must come to an end, including summer vacation. Kevin Roberts wraps up his canine canoe trip… until next year.
Day three finds us far into the backcountry. Out here it’s easy to lose track of time and days. When it’s just us and the dogs, time doesn’t really matter. We pass the time by watching the waves, the clouds roll by and keeping an eye on out for landmarks so you can keep track of where you are on the map. We eat when we are hungry and will sleep once the camp chores are finished. These are truly the dog days of summer!
We paddle close to the shore, for the sake of safety. We stay close, but not too close. If something were to happen, we want to be close enough to shore that the dogs can swim over and we can right the boat. Now, knock on wood, or on our paddles, whatever is closest, we have never capsized the canoe with the dogs in it! The trick is not being TOO close to shore, as sometimes on shore there are fun, cute, little animals which the dogs would love to play with. While they are all generally well behaved, and wouldn’t jump out to make a new friend, we also don’t want them all crowding over to one side for a better look.
On the morning of the third day is when we had such an encounter. On shore, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the flickering of a tail. A deer. We stopped paddling and watched the deer drinking from the lake. When she was done, she flicked her tail a few more times and walked back into the forest. The dogs didn’t even notice! That was fine with me and fine with the deer, too.
As the day stretches on, the clouds begin to roll in. At first, they are a welcome feeling, offering shade and cooling the temperature. But soon the clouds begin to grower darker. And darker. Then the clouds open up and pour!
We make the decision to keep paddling and see how it goes. On a warm day, a little wet won’t hurt anybody, but if the temperatures continue to drop we could be in danger of hypothermia. Seems odd to think of hypothermia to be a concern on a warm summer day, the cold rain, wind and dampness make it a real threat. Especially for the dogs, who are doing little more than sitting in the canoe. We are generating body heat by paddling, but they are just sitting, getting wet. So we keep an eye on them, and continue paddling.
We decide to stop earlier than planned for the night. A fire and warm food is just what we are in the mood for. Getting the dogs out of the boat and onto shore is a welcome relief. They are great in the canoe and patient through any rain storm, but it’s really not their favorite thing to do. Once we are in the campground we play with them and feed them their dinner.
Before we head into the tent that night, we make sure to dry the dogs off completely. We carry travel towels, which are amazing! They are lightweight, take up no space and are amazingly absorbent. These things keep sucking up the moisture, even when they are wet. It’s important that the dogs are completely dry before they get into the tent, so don’t want to be sleeping in a puddle.
Sometime overnight, the rain stops and we wake up to a beautiful last day. It’s time to leave. The last day of a canoe trip is bittersweet. It’s nice because the packs are a little lighter, everyone is relaxed and you are leaving with new memories. Mixed with this, it is always hard to leave such a beautiful experience behind.
But, there is always the next trip!
Kevin Roberts lives for adventure. Together with his pack of rescue dogs and his husband, he spends as much time outdoors as possible. Kevin lives by the motto: “Get outside and play with your dogs!”