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tripping novice paddlers 5 days
Spanish River
Monday, July 23, 2007 to Friday, July 27, 2007
length: 117.1km, 5 days
difficulty: novice

participants: Beth Baskin, Cara Robinson, Heather McCance, Keith Nunn, Liam Nunn, Morgan Baskin, Tripper Dave,


For the second year in a row, our two families have canoe tripped together. This year was a chance for Dave and Heather to do a little bit of whitewater again and for the Nunn/Baskin gang to try travelling in two boats. The Spanish seemed an ideal choice as it's a very easy whitewater run and should involve little or no portaging.Beth and Morgan run a set of rapids

Dave and Heather did great in their return to whitewater. The move to two canoes for the Nunn/Baskins was more challenging.

The plan had been that Beth and Morgan would be one canoe and Liam and I the other. We always knew that I would be effectively paddling solo, but figured that would be ok, if a bit slow at times.

However, the plan depended on Morgan sticking to her agreement to be a real bow paddler after 12 years of being essentially a passenger/luggage when we tripped. She said she was up for it and she had been paddling more lately in her own solo boat. I should have been more prepared for the predictable reality however, and had a plan ready.

Day 1, which started late and was short, was ok, but slow. Day two was not great, with Morgan playing "I'm tired", and "I am paddling" cards in a predictable first canoe trip manner. After some bossing and grumpiness, we finished the day with Dave and I paddling solo and Beth and Heather as a team.

Day three, she started with the "I'm tired" stuff right in camp before we set out. This led to a great deal of grumpiness on the part of all the adults and to Dave and I soloing and Beth and Heather paddling together.

Not only was I concerned that this nonsense was spoiling the trip for the adults (particularly Dave), I was concerned that this might spill over into the MKC solo course we had (rather expensively) paid for in August. I had a brain wave: she's become much more aware of money, having saved up for a solo boat and drysuit, and courses and guides cost money.

The solution would be a financial one: for every day or significant part thereof which she didn't paddle on the course we'd paid for, she'd owe me $100 and for every day or significant part thereof which she didn't paddle on this trip (starting from that moment) she would owe her Uncle Dave $50. Worked like a charm.

We still weren't burning up the river, but reasonable progress was made. By the end, things were fine and we can definitely do this again.

Other notable events included the traditional pan-sized pierogi dinner, some swimming in current with the two youngest (Cara and Liam), Beth's first trip as a full-time stern paddler, and Liam's great little draws and cross-draws when we were running rapids.

The water level in the Spanish was reasonably good and there was no need to drag, line or portage anywhere. We did run into partyers at the start at Fox Lake Lodge and at the end at the Elbow, but in both cases they were remarkably respectful (at least after being asked politely).

It was great to be on the river with Dave, Heather and Cara again and I'm looking forward to next year already.

I've posted pics at http://gallery.vvcc.ca/gallery/spanish2007.

posted by: Keith Nunn

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