Oh Canada / by Coltin Calloway

The first time I hit ole Champy was on the north side during “Gulf to Gulf Odyssey.” I remember what a relief it was to paddle into Lake Champlain and see the mountains that surround it’s shores after paddling on salt water for nearly two months. A week ago I was able to paddle into the lake for a second time on a long distance trip. This was a very special moment for me considering I was sharing the moment with my wife, two best friends and finally enjoying some sunny weather.

After two weeks of rain and hard portages, it was a collective decision among the crew to detour off of the trail and paddle south on Lake Champlain into Burlington for a few days off. Luckily we made it to Burlington on July 3rd and had the pleasure of watching the awesome firework show. We had a great time on the the 4th filming for Outdoor Gear Exchange and filling our bellies with chili cheese dogs and a few beers.

After some much needed R&R, we got back on Lake Champlain and started our paddle north to get back onto the trail. The islands on the lake made our paddle safe as we paddled our open water crossings. Paddling long days of open flat water can become tedious, but the views on Lake Champlain helped our mind wander. 

We finally made it back to the trail at the mouth of the Missisquoi River. This begins our upstream paddle to Canada. If you have not paddled up a river before, let me enlighten you…you take three steps forward and four steps back. However, with hard work and beautiful wildlife you can make it through the day. 

NFCT sign

We have had the task of roping our canoes full of gear up rapids. When we hear the white water ahead we all shake our heads and give one another a look of “what the hell are we doing?” As we approach the rapids ahead of us we only learn more about our strengths and how being a team makes the world go round. Oh Canada!