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scenic or casual paddling novice paddlers 1 day
Canoeing at Christmastime
Saturday, December 22, 2007
length: 6.0km, 1 day
difficulty: novice

participants: Karonne Lansel,

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In the weeks leading up to Christmas I had been working way too hard, so that by the time the holidays rolled around I was feeling burnt-out, exhausted, and not very sociable. Something really spectacular would have to happen to make me even want to get out of my jammies at all over the holidays.

On Saturday, Dec. 22, my first day of freedom, it was 4 degrees, heavy clouds and slightly breezy. As I stood looking out the window it struck me: the best thing I could do for myself was to go canoeing! Another snowstorm was forecast for later in the day, but I figured I could beat it. So I loaded up the Rival and drove the five minutes over to Cherry Beach, set my boat on the ice-covered shore and slid down into the lake. I was having fun already before I even hit the water! Like the best medicine, it immediately made me feel so much better.

Nobody else was on the water, just me and a couple of swans. The bays were frozen over and there were some ice plaques floating out on the waves, making that crystalline clinking music that sounds so ethereal when everything else is quiet. Who knew canoeing in the shadow of the CN Tower could be so peaceful? 

I paddled back and forth and aimlessly around in circles for a couple of hours between Ashbridge's Bay and the Eastern Gap, grinning like an idiot all the while (my typical canoeing expression). Some pleasant "ship-to-shore" chit-chat was exchanged with a few people out walking their dogs, and I prevailed upon them to fire off a few shots on the camera I had amazingly remembered to bring along. The sun made a brief appearance as it crossed the gap between the snow-filled clouds and the horizon, dragging daylight down with it. Under the last rays, my little boat charged back up onto the ice shelf and let me out without a dunking.

It was the perfect reward for my weeks of hard labour. Santa himself couldn't come up with anything better!

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