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A Moody Shoreline And A Moment To Reflect

I have wanted to visit the Temagami region for over 20 years. I first learned about the area when it became a hot topic in the mainstream media, with reports of the old-growth pines being in danger from logging and mining. I wasn't a big camper back then, and I thought that Temagami was very, very far away. But I did think to myself that one day I would like to see those 300 year-old trees.
Over the years, Temagami and its trees moved to a back corner in my brain. Not forgotten, really. But not thought about, either. Then, with the advent of social media and my jump into the Ontario outdoors blogging world, I started to see posts about the place on Facebook and Twitter. Temagami moved its way back to the front of my mind. I found out about Wolf Lake. Once again, I thought about how much I would like to see those very, very old trees.
This past weekend, it happened. It was a very short stay, but one that had an impact. We'll be going back and it won't take 20 yrs for a return visit.
The weather was windy and cool for much of the trip. You could say the lake was moody as I looked across the water of this sacred place to ancient pines that have seen the seasons change for centuries. This place I've wanted to see for more than half my life.

Smelling And Feeling Fine With Sam's Natural Personal Care Products - A Review

A couple of months ago, I received a package of “personal care” items from a company called Sam’s Natural. Personal Care is a polite way of describing stuff you use on your body to keep you smelling and feeling good. In this case, my personal care items were deodorant, lip balm, hand lotion and a bug repellent. Along with the box of complimentary* items, came the request that I try them out and then let them – and all of you – know what I thought about them. Of course I took them up on the offer. I love trying new products, and I really love sharing my honest opinion. So, after using them steadily since August, I feel like the products have been put through a pretty good test.

When Sam’s Natural first contacted me, I had never heard of them. So I did a bit of research before I accepted their offer to ensure that their company was one I’d be interested in endorsing. I was happy to see that their products are all-natural, vegan, sulphur and heavy-metal free and are not tested on animals. I had never used an all-natural deodorant, but have been curious about how effective it really is. Here was my chance to give it a try!

This US company hand-crafts their products in small batches using their own recipes. I liked their simple packaging and branding which seems to reflect the company well. You might not care about branding and packaging, but I’m a bit of geek about these things and am always happy when the marketing compliments the products. Originally, Sam’s was developed for men and their web marketing really reflected this when I first started to investigate the company. But I see they have changed their website to reflect the fact that there is a product line specifically for women. To be honest, I think most of these products will work well for men or women. Well, except the beard oil. That seems like more of a guy thing to me.

Sam’s Natural does ship to Canada, with standard shipping rates. I like that the website has a shipping rate calculator right there on the shopping cart page, BEFORE you checkout.

So. How did the products perform? I mentioned earlier that I started using them in August. Where I live, this past summer was the hottest on record. Ever. And where I live, it’s a sticky, wet, gross heat. You know the saying – it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity that is the worst? Well, we had the heat AND the humidity. While I hate humidity, I have to admit the conditions were perfect for trying these products. If they worked well here, they will work well anywhere!

#WeGetOutside Season 2 has launched!

After taking a break for the summer, I launched Season 2 of the #WeGetOutside Twitter Chat on September 20. And what an awesome launch it was! We had folks participate from across Canada and the US, sharing stories about what we did this summer. If this chat was any indication of how things are going to roll out over the next few months, Season 2 is going to be a blast!

I'd like to send out a huge shout out and "Thanks" to all of those who participated and have encouraged me to keep the chat going. Together, we're building an awesome community of outdoors enthusiasts.

Check out the highlights here:

Rules? What Rules? Camp Rules....

Summer! It's that long-awaited season of kicking off the formalities and heading outside to do... 

Whatever the heck we want to do!

The rules are different in summer. Waaayyyyy different. Especially when you go camping. Here are the Sometimes Eventful camp rules. What are some of yours?

Another Badger In The Family

One day in May, way back in 2012, I met a guy named Mike at Guelph Lake. He was selling these awesome paddles in gorgeous colours from a company called Badger Paddles.  They were so beautiful I had to have one. We decided that Emma had to have one, too. Mine is orange. Hers, a purple and teal number made especially for little paddlers. Emma's was a present for her 7th birthday. Because everyone - especially a 7 year-old beginner paddler - needs some #WildernessBling in their kit. 

I didn't know much about paddles when we first met Mike. But I knew these paddles were special. They are handcrafted by Mike and Fiona in prime Ontario canoeing country and they are beautiful. I know, I know. “Things” aren’t supposed to bring happiness.  And I know that gear shouldn't be bought based on beauty. But our beautiful paddles made me very happy.  In fact, I've been using my Badger for four years now and I still always feel happy when I look at my beautiful orange paddle dipping in and out of our Ontario lakes. Over the last four years I've also learned a lot more about paddles and paddling and can say with confidence that a handcrafted Badger is a solid piece of gear.  

I've gotten to know Mike and Fiona a bit since that first paddle purchase. Some of you might recognize Fiona as one of the creators of the Paddle In The Park Contest​.  And if any of you have visited a Swift Canoe booth at an Outdoor show, you have probably seen or met Mike as he helps out the Swift folks and sells his own paddles.  They funny thing is, I had never actually met Fiona in person, but we've become friends over the years through the magic of Social Media.  

Fast forward to this May. Our little Emma has grown up a lot. She just turned 11 years old and has outgrown that first beautiful teal and purple paddle. So of course, we contacted Fiona and Mike to order Emma a "grown-up" paddle. Knowing that this paddle will probably travel with Emma for many canoe trips over many years, we decided to go with a personalized design.  

Mike and Fiona’s expertise shone as they helped us choose the right paddle size and style and guided us through the variety of woods available to us. We talked about how tall Em may get, how the different woods affect the weight of the paddle and what kind of paddling she will probably be doing as she gets older.  Through the whole process, they wanted to be sure we were getting the best possible product.  Emma picked her colours and her and I worked together to create a stylized logo of her name, which would be laser-engraved on the paddle blade.

We decided to stop at the Badger shop on our way to Algonquin Park, where we would meet Fiona in person for the first time, and Emma would get her new paddle just in time for our May long-weekend trip.  

The paddle unveiling was awesome! As the protective Badger Sock was slid down the paddle, Emma's expression said it all.... I wish I had a picture of that exact moment, but in all the excitement I didn't even think to pull out a camera. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you her eyes lit up and her smile was huge. 

Emma's custom paddle is a beautiful piece of #WildernessBling. Blue with purple paint splatters, it is the perfect design for a fun and funky paddler. And her laser engraved name turned out great.

And what was it like to meet Fiona in person? Well.... Exactly the way it feels to connect with an old friend and kindred spirit that you just haven't seen in awhile.

Thanks, Mike and Fiona, for making the paddle purchase an awesome experience for us and for blossoming paddler, Emma!