Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Author: Mary Riley
Hans McKee had “a really bad feeling” as he and his friends watched two canoeists head out onto Algonquin Park’s largest lake on May 17, 2004.
“I’ve never canoed Lake Opeongo because it’s so big and dangerous when the weather is bad,” the paramedic said on Thursday from his Omemee home.
“I take the water taxi.”
He recalled the weather was bad on the lake that day, with two-metre high waves, high winds and whitecaps.
“We saw them come out of a portage area and start out on the lake.”
Mr. McKee, who works with Peterborough County EMS, said he and a group of friends have gone to Alqonquin Park on an annual camping/fishing trip for years.
The 2004 group included his friend, Northumberland County EMS paramedic Robert Miller, who lives in Fraserville.
The two men will receive the Governor General’s Award for bravery in Ottawa on Friday for their actions that day.
“It was the end of our trip that year; most of the guys had already left to go home,” he said.
“There were about four of us left.
“The couple was university students; they came out of the portage area, and as they started (on the lake) they weren’t wearing life jackets. We yelled at them to put them on and they did.”
Mr. McKee said the couple’s gear was stowed properly in their canoe, and he later learned they were experienced canoeists.
Still, he said he couldn’t believe they were attempting to cross Opeongo in the prevailing winds and high waves.
“We saw them canoe around the point. We could see them bobbing in the waves. And then, they disappeared. The next thing we knew, one of our guys was yelling, ‘They’re in, they’re in.’ The canoe was completely submerged and the man was hanging onto one end and the girl on the other.”
Mr. McKee said he and Mr. Miller knew the water was dangerously cold and that without help, the couple’s chances of surviving were slim to none.
“We weren’t sure if we could attempt a rescue in those conditions. But, we had four guys in camp. Two of us were experienced and two were not. So, we went. But, I was pretty nervous.”
The two men launched their own canoe and headed into the waves to rescue the couple.
“We were all right heading toward them,” Mr. McKee said.
“But, I was really worried about how we were going to turn around to bring them back. I said a few prayers, for sure.”
He said when he and Mr. Miller reached the pair, the young man asked, “Should we apologize now or later?”
The two paramedics told them to save their breath and strength; there would be time for apologies “when we get back to shore.”
Throwing a rope to the man, Mr. McKee tied it around his own waist. After waiting for a break in the waves, the two men managed to turn their canoe and begin towing the capsized vessel with the two victims clinging to it.
“It took us an hour to paddle back to shore,” he said.
After the couple, who were feeling the effects of the cold water, were given dry clothing and something hot to drink, Mr. McKee said he asked why they tried to cross the huge lake in such weather.
“They said it was the last day of their trip and they had to go home,” he said. “But, they had about a 12-mile paddle ahead.”
Mr. McKee said he didn’t feel his actions merited an award.
“The RCMP investigate these things and they nominate for the awards,” he said.
“They called and asked me about it before. I put it off for about a year because I didn’t think it was all that special. Other people have done much [braver] things.”
But, the RCMP persisted, and Mr. McKee agreed to accept the award.
He said about a year ago, he called the couple, who live in the Kingston area, to say hello.
“There’s a nice sidebar to the story,” he said.
“While they were in the water that day, they proposed to each other. They said they would get married if they survived. And they did.”
This Week was unable to reach Mr. Miller for his comments.http://www.mykawartha.com/article/10583
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
The Canoe, Ontario
My paddle clean and bright,
Flashing with silver.
Follow the wild goose flight,
Dip, dip and swing.
This is the familiar refrain of an old canoeing song, and what better than the canoe to stand for everything Canadian? The canoe has slipped quietly into the stream of the nation’s common parlance. Whether you’re practicing your J-Stroke out on the lake, rooting for your favourite professional soccer team in the national Voyageurs Cup, or simply standing at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg, you are reflecting a bit of Canadian canoeing history. Canoes take many forms: from the slick lines of a racing canoe, to the ruggedness of a seagoing cedar canoe, from cleverly assembled birch bark, to the shiny fiberglass, or the comfy inflatable. Early explorers and voyageurs took their cue from the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, utilizing the canoe as the most versatile and reliable mode of transportation. We received many nominations making this important historical link between the establishment of European culture and industry in Canada, and the canoe. Furthermore, if it weren’t for the humble canoe, half the wonders on this list would be inaccessible!http://www.cbc.ca/sevenwonders/
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Mist in the morning, pours from the lake.
Sunshine sparkles ..There's breakfast to make
Choosing journeys to take.
Tarps rolled, tents dried,
floating on glass.
Tiny paddle whirlpools,
moving slowly past.
And around the next bend,
the perfect site at last.
The packs are full
Canoes and sighs.
The path wears on,
The paddles are dry.
Exhaustion and mosquitoes
A natural high!
The stars flicker bright.
The crackling fire
Is our warmth and our light.
In my cosy cocoon
I smile, through the night.
June 23, 2001
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
1. Barron River – Campsite on river, no good swimming, some good fishing. Close to exit at squirrel rapids
2. Big Porcupine Lake (3 different years – same site) Best site we have ever been on. The westernmost site on big pork
3. Booth Lake - Got hit by lightning here
4. Daisy Lake – on the way to White Trout Lake, quick stop
5. Dividing Lake – Nice site, tough portage to get there
6. Farm Lake – on the way to Booth Lake
7. Grand Lake – First stop out of Achray on the way to Opalescent, moderate site
8. Kingscote Lake – very bad site, on the way to Scorch. See trip log algonquinadventures.com
9. Little Trout Lake – nice site – nice lake
10. Misty Lake – on the way to White Trout Lake
11. Opalescent Lake – good site, big snapping turtle kept us from swimming. Site is right on the portage.
12. Oxtounge River (2 sites) – High falls site is very good, room for a dozen tents and a fabulous waterfall
13. Park Lake – worst site possible, in view of traffic on hwy 60, exposed, confined, do not go here!
14. Pen Lake – nice lake, lots of good sites and one great one that we haven’t been able to get on
15. Rockaway Lake – best fishing ever! Not in the park, on the way to Dividing
16. Scorch Lake – take the trail UP to the best view in the park
17. St Andrews Lake – on the way to Opalescent
18. Sunbeam Lake – Very good island site (easternmost), very nice Lake
19. Timberwolf Lake – on the way out from White Trout, quick stop in bad weather
20. Tom Thomson Lake (2 sites) – great Lake, site on island has great cliff jumping
21. Welcome Lake – very pretty Lake with huge SAND beaches, well worth the trip.
22. White Trout Lake – nice site, next to the farm on the map
23. York River – at high falls, no thunder box, lots of people with pop and chips, but still nice
1. Aster Pond
2. Bartlett Lake
3. Bear Lake
4. Big Rock Lake
5. Brigham Lake
6. Byers Lake
7. Canoe Lake
8. Cradle Lake
9. Crotch Lake
10. Dagger Lake
11. Fawn Lake
12. Galipo River
13. Godda Lake
14. Grand Lake
15. Grassy Bay
16. Hambone Lake
17. High Falls Lake
18. High Falls Pond
19. Joe Lake
20. Kimball Lake
21. Kitty Lake
22. Littledoe Lake
23. Livingstone Lake
24. Magnetawan Lake
25. McCarthy Creek
26. McIntosh Creek
27. McIntosh Lake
28. Minkey Lake
29. Mole Lake
30. Ooze Lake
31. Petawawa River
32. Queer Lake
33. Ragged Lake
34. Ralph Bice Lake (Butt Lake)
35. Rock Lake
36. Rumley Lake
37. Ryegrass Lake
38. Smoke Lake
39. Stratton Lake
40. Tattler Lake
41. Tepee Lake
42. Willow Lake
1. Bonnechere Lake
2. Branch Lake
3. Cork Lake
4. Harry Lake
5. Hollow River
6. Opeongo River
7. Snow Lake
8. Tim River