The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  SUMMER 2002

PAGE 8

OUTFIT 109
 

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In this issue

Front Page

Expeditions

Spring Run

Summer Packet

Canoesworthy

From the Editor

Canoelit

 

 

From the Editor

 

Welcome to the Summer Camp issue. Though more by chance than planning our two central stories focus on young men getting their first real taste of northern canoeing adventures. One had disastrous results, the other indelible, wonderful memories.

Like many, my own canoeing experiences began at a classic summer retreat – Camp Temagami some six hours north of Toronto. It was a premier camp in its day with a large tripping program and a rich history dating from 1903. Nestled on two islands connected by a bridge, it was a busy hive of boy activity. The sister camp, Metagami, was down the lake.

Camp Temagami unfortunately folded in 1972 though the name has been revived recently by a new camp in the same lake, it carries no link to its illustrious past

I spent three summers in the early 1960s at Camp Temagami and they were wonderful times. The “Bay” trip was the big one everyone talked about – done by the Seniors who headed north of steel to James Bay. Heady stuff. Though I was too young to get in on that.

The images are strong; the sloping canoe dock, the tripping shed run by large suspender-clad Russ, the wooden crates of dried apples, our silver and blue wood-canvas canoes (probably Chestnuts), the gunwale-banging salute we would give camp when we returned from a trip, the councillors' cabin with its off-limits status and forbidden material; all these images are settled into my photographic subconscious – and remain there – to occasionally be peeled off from the well compressed stack as they are being now.

Summer camps are a place to set a risk standard and a tone that you will carry throughout your life. It is not a time to challenge death, whether through foolish or foolhardy experiences or taking risks sensible people would deem unnecessary.

I have another reawakening with boys’ summer camps in my future. My six year-old son, Tom, who has not done much paddling yet, has a date in his future with a good boys camp in a few years. They will be his memories to be made, and I will make sure they are safe ones. At least as safe as common sense and respect allow.

                                         Michael Peake

 Summer 2002         Outfit 109 

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