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Pam Martin & John Kernaghan

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Happy Birthday, Canada!! We were privileged to cross Canada last year on our SUP road trip. We miss the wide open roads, beautiful vistas, unparalleled paddling opportunities and meeting friendly fellow explorers. Never stop appreciating this magnificent country! ❤️🇨🇦❤️ #Canada #canadaday #roadtrip #trains #railroad @trainstationinn @visitnovascotia @tourism.canada
Excited to see the story and photos of our cross Canada SUP trip published by Canadian Press, both in print and online. Check out the link in our bio for the National Post's online version. We had a blast exploring the waterways of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and plenty in between. A huge thank you to everyone who helped and to those you guided us to their favourite local paddling spots. We weren't able to mention all of the highlights in the article but if you are interested check out our blog canadaonboard.ca for the full stories of our escapades 😀🚐 and great ideas for places to SUP including the people who can help you get there this summer. @canadaonboard @cdnpress @nationalpost @hamiltonspectator @supbearfoot @jodiboydrmt @queen_city_sup @pacificapaddle @cbwestsup @livelifeintents @neddies_harbour_inn @newfoundlandlabrador @tourismpei @tourismcb @nicolavalleypaddle @destinationnb @maferries @visitnovascotia @cascadiaboardco @bluwavesup @bluejellyfishsup @jkernaghan1
Anyone interested in visiting the Toronto Outdoor Adventure & Travel show this weekend can use promotion codes CANADA or PADDLING if you purchase tickets online and you will receive a $4.00 discount at check out! And we have a few free admission tickets available. We will give them to the first people to contact us until they run out :)) We will be at Booth 675 - come and say hi or check out the presentations we are doing Friday & Saturday about our crazy, fun cross Canada Stand Up Paddle road trip Canada Onboard: Coast to Coast 150. #OAS Toronto #adventure #travel #outdoors #paddle #roadtrip @theperiwinkledragonflycompany @canadaonboard
A perfect red chair roost overlooking Kidston Lighthouse in beautiful Bras D'Or Lake, a stones throw away from quaint but bustling Baddeck, NS. A welcome respite for travellers expanding their minds with the amazingly illuminating history found in the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Next stop Tatamagouche, NS. Read more about our Cross Canada Paddling Roadtrip, celebrating Canada 150, on our blog: CanadaOnboard.ca 🇨🇦 @cbwestsup @bluejellyfishsup @visitnovascotia @nstourism @tourcanada @tourcapebreton @capebretontourism @parks.canada @parkscanadaredchair #sharethechair #baddeck #explore #explorecanada #explorecanada #explorens #capebreton #nova scotia #cabottrail #adventuresforthesoul #roadtrip #canada150 #parkscanada #alexandergrahambell #alexandergrahambellmuseum #museum #crosscanadapaddlingroadtrip
Although we love the paddling and scenery our adventure is about so much more. Savouring the cuisine of local eateries is high on our list of must do experiences. The Dancing Goat Cafe & Bakery, along the Cabot Trail in Margaree, NS is one of our favourites. It's delicious food, engaging locales and comfortable ambience proved the perfect spot for us to slow our pace and get some work done. Read more about our Cross Canada Paddling Roadtrip celebrating Canada 150 on our blog: CanadaOnboard.ca
Jeremy Smith of @cbwestsup leads us swishing through the grasses with our gear. He knows all the secret, hidden launches along the Margaree River, raising the adventure factor of our afternoon paddle to a higher level. Check out our blog CanadaOnboard.ca to read more about our Cross Canada Paddling Roadtrip celebrating Canada 150🇨🇦 @cbwestsup @bluejellyfishsup @visitnovascotia @nstourism @tourcanada @tourcanada @tourcapebreton @capebretontourism @visitcapebretonisland @capebretonpost #visitnovascotia #explore #explorecanada #explorens #novascotia #capebreton #cabottrail #margaree #margareeriver #adventuresforthesoul #roadtrip #canada #canada150 #crosscanadapaddlingroadtrip

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Thankfully the drive to Winnipeg from Kenora was relatively short. In our journey (which we started to call epic), the pace of some 335 kilometres a day over 30 days was beginning to show and the pressure to get in two paddles per province was hard to sustain.

IMG_1624We tried to keep the Maple Leaf pristine as we crossed the country and it was still shiny as we posed for onlookers at the La Salle River near Winnipeg.

The mission was to see as much of Canada as we could from the water during our celebration of the country’s 150th birthday, and Manitoba would deliver a nice piece of that experience after a couple of false starts. The province also provided a first taste of the prairies’ nuanced landscape.

IMG_1615Louis Riel House in Winnipeg was shuttered for the season but we lunched on the grounds and rested in the ubiquitous red chairs as we thought of the Metis leader’s remarkable life.

We rolled into Manitoba with the dream of paddling The Forks, where the Red River and Assiniboine meet. But one look at the swift waters sent us scurrying for alternatives.
We found a nice launch point for The Assiniboine at a park not far from our hotel and arrived eager to try the storied river the next day, only to find Winnipeg police and paramedics were running an emergency drill on the river and the ramp to the river was shut off by yellow caution tape.
DSC_0581Windblown material from the canopy of trees spanning the LaSalle provided a show of nature’s art on the water.

A frenzied online search revealed a paddling blog and the recommendation to ply the La Salle River, which runs into the Red River. It threads a slow and sinuous path south of the city, beginning to the west in Portage La Prairie.
IMG_1630Pam, with superior mechanical skills, was in charge of strapping our Cascadia boards to Badass, the wild Wicked Campers van we took west.

We accessed the La Salle through La Barriere Park, just south of the city’s Perimeter Highway.
It was a homespun launch point with a worn wooden palette as a base but it was still easy on the eyes with shaded parking spots amongst the trees and a canopy of trees on the banks which almost met to form an arch in some of the narrow sections.
Fall was well advanced here and rafts of fallen leaves slowly moved with the current while patches of brilliant blue ski through the trees lit our passage gloriously. In sections of still water, the crosshatch of branches overhead were mirrored around our boards. It felt like we were moving across an artist’s finely-painted canvas.
IMG_1643The La Salle opened up for stretches to reveal farmland. In trapping days, the river was busy transporting beaver and other pelts east.

The La Salle is described as a lazy prairie river due to its serpentine route and leisurely current, but it could also be a wind tunnel depending on which tack the river took on our two-hour experience. So it was cruise efficiently in some stretches, bear down and buck the wind in others.
It was not so lazy during the booming fur trade as trappers used the La Salle and associated waterways to satisfy Europe’s hunger for beaver and other pelts. Folks who regularly paddle the river still see beaver as well as eagles and great blue herons.
DSC_0493Badass was on the move to Saskatchewan under pristine skies as we piled more clicks on the 425,000 kilometres we started with in Hamilton.

When planning our trip, we’d looked at trying to get up to Lake Winnipeg, where John remembered writing about sailing events at the 1999 Pan Am Games, but our chief enemy, time, wasn’t going to allow that. Like so many waterways we saw during our trip, or contemplated as we planned it, we held out hope we’d return to check out its waters.

Feature photo: The La Salle River was welcoming but came with a few surprises as we curled around sections of the serpentine waterway to hit stiff winds.

 

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