74 Years Young and Paddling Strong!

When Tiit's son mentioned that Tiit would be up for joining I thought it was a bit of a crazy idea, so I liked it. I didn't know if Tiit could paddle or what kind of shape he was in but when I invited him and he instantly said "yah I could do that", I knew he had the right state of mind. Would he have the right state of body was the big concern? I will let hm continue the story. Here's Tiit:

I had been messaging with Markus over the last week about joining him on his canoe leg from Parry Sound to Killarney.
There were many reasons not to go: I had time constraints; I had no camping equipment and certainly had no experience in canoeing (except for paddling around our lake).
However Markus’ father had been a good friend over the years (we had both been classmates in the School of Architecture in Toronto (Class of 67) and I had known Markus since his birth.
Living in the USA for the last 30 years, I had not seen him grow up and had only heard of his adventures, rowing across the Atlantic, paddle boarding from Vancouver to Victoria, etc.
It wasn’t a difficult decision: I would go for it.

After a shopping blitz at Walmart and Canadian Tire (sorry, Mountain Equipment Co-op) and buying a barrel to keep everything dry, I was fully equipped for the voyage.
On August 12, 2015 we rendezvoused on the beach at Killbear Provincial Park and we were off on what I estimated would be a 6 day trip.

Markus had a barrel of food supplies (Trail Mix and Quinoa) and I had a pound of spaghetti and tomato sauce (for energy) and cans of Tuna for protein.
No wine to spoil our haute cuisine aspirations.
Our Day 1 adventure was started with Markus navigating with his iPhone but unfortunately he dropped it in the Lake.
Good news: it was in a waterproof case; Bad news: no flotation device so it plunged to the bottom.
Markus jumped in to retrieve it but it was too deep and too dark to retrieve. Fortunately, I had my iPhone so, no interruption in our navigating ability – Google maps would see us through.
He also managed to find and call a scuba diver in Parry Sound to go and try to retrieve the phone.
 The rest of Day 1 was getting into the rhythm of paddling; trail mix breaks with a break for lunch – a longer break for trail mix.
That day we did 6 hours of paddling.

Dinner that night was spaghetti with tomato sauce (Costco) and exotic mushrooms (non-halucigenic) from David Jenkins, a break for Markus from his daily quinoa/curry dinner. (note from Markus: I have more variety than quinoa!)

Then it was time to test my high tech camping equipment: my three man tent could barely accommodate me and only if I oriented myself diagonally. The sleeping bag was warm but slippery and within an hour I was sleeping beside my Thermarest rather than on it.
The next day we had wind that shifted from the west to be from the south, pushing us to our destination with a heavy sea running with 1 M waves. We chose to go with the open sea and the waves. As long as the wind did not pick up and swamp us from the rear, we were looking good.
After 10 hours we made camp and had ate the balance of our spaghetti.
The next day threatened rain and we camped early after 8 hours in order to be ready for the thunderstorm.
Aside from the rattlesnake that appeared to want to share Markus’ tent the thunderstorm was mild and we were able to enjoy Markus’ quinoa/curry specialty.

The thunderstorm cleared all the turbulence and the next morning the sea was tranquil, no waves, but with heavy fog (visibility less then 10 M). With the calm sea we could avoid the inland waterways and again continue in the open sea, making excellent time.

canoeing in the fog.

Even though visibility increased to 30 to 40 M. the shoreline was never visible and certainly there were no reference points.

However Markus and the Google maps were able to get us through the fog to our next campsite and another Markus Quinoa specialty for dinner. (note from Markus: It was Buckwheat)
We were now within two hours of Killarney and were within cell range.
The message came from the Scuba Diver that he had retrieved Markus’ iPhone. However was it functioning?
We arranged for it to be picked up (thank you, Vicki) and delivered to Killarney the next day.
The next morning we were in Killarney for Brunch – Flap Jacks, Eggs Benedict and Markus’ iPhone.
After 4 days our 6 day journey was completed.
Yes, all the spaghetti was gone but there was plenty of Trail Mix left.
Markus’ cooking must have worked since I weighed more at the end than at the finish.
My conclusion?

Markus will succeed in his 5 year quest.
His father, Erkki, would be proud and I am glad to know Markus better and have him as a friend. 


A final note from Markus: Tiit absolutely killed it. We paddled more hours and more kms a day than any previous day of the trip. He sort of put all of us 30 yr olds to shame. I was always a bit nervous seeing him get out of the canoe as it looked very sketchy but once he was in it he was a strong paddler. Huge respect to Tiit. Thank you.