2007 Mantario Labour Day Weekend

Canoe Trip & Course

1st John deGraff Venturers

2007 August 31 - September 3




Paddled on 7 lakes a total of 18 km each way:
Big Whiteshell Lake, Crowduck Lake, Ritchey Lake,
One Lake, Two Lake, Three Lake, Mantario Lake.
On the return trip, we bypassed Crowduck Lake, portaging from Ritchey Lake to Big Whiteshell Lake. Portaged six portages, totalling 4 km each way.



Venturers: Aaron, Brian, Robert,
Sam, Jeremy, Jeremy,
Advisors: Cindy, Walter & Elizabeth.
Volunteer leader and organizer: Donna Kurt; co-leader: Ed



Participate in the trip by viewing this slideshow movie:
Mantario 2007 Labour Day Weekend
Canoe Trip & Course

"Jeremy" Photo © 2007 Donna Kurt
Apple Quicktime MOV movie 30 Mbytes, plays for 9m39s
(download Quicktime, a free player for Mac/Win).



This was the first trip to Mantario for Elizabeth (Liz), Waldemar (Walter), Aaron, Brian, Jeremy, Jeremy, Robert and Sam, while being a repeat Mantario Canoe trip for Cindy and old hat for Donna Kurt and Ed.

We had a little wind in our face for the trip to Mantario Lake, and it took us almost 9 hours to get there, but it was an opportunity to have everyone change positions, practice different methods of portaging, as well as loading and balancing the canoes. The young men did fantastic carrying the heavy aluminum canoes over the portages, a feat in itself given the condition of the portages. During the latter half of the paddle to the cabin, Donna would occassionally set into a specific paddle stroke and call out "stroke" upon which any one of the young men were to identify the stroke as they knew it from the previous year's Flatwater B course. Sam didn't have any prior training, but he did well nonetheless. This little game not only helped pass the time, but it gave an opportunity for the guys to reflect on how they were doing their stroke, but there was no formal paddling instruction until Sunday.

On Saturday, the group hiked the Mantario Trail north toward the top end of Mantario Lake, and while viewing the panorama of Mantario, we found and sampled many gem-studded puffballs (young ones) and found numerous other species of mushrooms. Liz and Walter, being mushroom officiandos, collected mushrooms to make into a stew back at the cabin. The young men enthusiastically soaked up the natural environmental information we shared; they also enjoyed the sauna, as the water was quite cool, and learned about "diaper PFDs". I must say that their company was very refreshing and "youthanizing", they made me feel like one of them; I remember them singing verses from Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", a favorite song. I also felt very spoiled having them prepare all the meals and do all the dishes, and because Cindy prepared all the food for the trip.

Saturday afternoon and evening brought some wonderful lightning storms to the north of Mantario Lake, some of this was captured on film and is in the trip video I produced.

On Sunday, the Venturers endured over 8 hours of Paddle Canada Flat Water Level B and C canoeing instruction, paddling back and forth on the lake below the cabin,ad-nauseum; they did very well, especially with the wet maneuvers like paddling a swamped canoe, canoe rescue, canoe overcanoe, assisted reach, all featured in the trip movie. The sauna helpedwarm them from the cool swims.

On Monday, the grey sky drizzled on us on and off duringour paddle back to Big Whiteshell Lake and our transportation back toWinnipeg and was booming as we paddled north on Mantario Lake.  In"the narrows" we pulled off the lake, in respect of the thunderbirds.  The young mens' paddling skills showed asignificant improvement on the trip back to Big Whiteshell Lake, somuch that we shaved over an hour off the time it took topaddle to Mantario. Their portaging improved, as it would from repeated lifting and carryinga canoe, theuse of the required muscle groups and using different carryingtechniques. They carried a heavy aluminum canoe, andI am sure they will appreciate lighter canoes in the future.  Theportages and paddling were moreenjoyable, now that wecollectively had better skills on the trails.

The bald eagle that always oversees our crossing of BigWhiteshell Lake was there yet again, a good omen. This isa trip that I will never forget, especially the "youthanizing" part of it. Thanks for that, Venturers!

Until next year, safe paddling!



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