LAKELAND PROVINCIAL PARK, AB
Pulling our canoe off Jackson Lake in the afternoon sun, I’m gripped by one obsessive thought: I’m coming back and bringing my family to paddle the entire Lakeland Canoe Circuit.
I’d spent the day paddling with some new media friends on our #TakeItToTheLake expedition and it had been amazing: shimmering aspen forest, brilliant blue skies, clear calm lake and plenty of good laughs.
I knew from our short half-day excursion that I’d only skimmed the surface of the route. The entire circuit encompasses four lakes, 38 kilometres of paddling, and takes an average of 3.5 to 4 days at an easy to moderate pace. Backcountry campsites are free within the provincial park, and Alberta Parks also supplies firewood and portage carts for moving between lakes.
At just three hours from Edmonton to trailhead, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect introductory multi-day backcountry paddling expedition for my family of five, including my wife and our three kids (ages 10, eight and four).
See, the thing about paddling together is, it encourages bonding. You can paddle a canoe as just one person, but everyone knows it’s far better with two.
Further still, it’s best when those two people are paddling in unison, communicating and working together. Add in an element of challenge and sharing the daily task of survival – making fire, preparing food, building shelter – and you have a formula for great family adventure.
There’s nothing like the simplicity and necessity of a backcountry paddling trip for stripping away all the distractions and reminding us of what’s really important.
For me and my family, that means we’re going to #TakeItToTheLake again very soon. Follow hashtag #TakeItToTheLake and check out zenseekers.com for more stories and adventures, and start planning your own lake adventure.