When I think back over the summer, it is often the big things that stand out, the long canoe trips, the trips where significant things happened. There certainly were many big things that happened this summer!

On May 14, Barry dropped his vehicle off. He said he was heading on a canoe trip and he’d be back to pick up his vehicle on September 21. I asked where he was going. He said he didn’t know – but he’d be back September 21. I am writing this on September 12. I haven’t seen him yet.

On June 30, Stephan started a solo trip from our dock that would take him to Arviat via the Churchill River, Reindeer River, Reindeer Lake, Cochran River, Thlewiaza River to Hudson Bay and up the coast to Arviat. That’s a total of about 1500 km. Forty-one days later, Stephan called me from the airport in Arviat. He had arrived and was flying back home to Vancouver.

In later June a group stopped in that had started their canoe trip in International Falls as the ice went out. Several weeks ago, they announced they had arrived in Kugluktuk at the mouth of the Coppermine River.

Even though these big things are interesting and rather cool, they are not what most of the stories from the summer are all about. Most of the stories are about those hundreds of people that are going on just an ordinary canoe trip. Maybe for the first time, or maybe the 4th or the 10th time. It’s about these people coming back from 2 nights or maybe a week, so excited about the things they had done and seen: the muddy portage they had negotiated, or the northern lights, or the bear they had seen along the shoreline, or the sunset, or the rain and wind, or the time they had spent in conversation sitting beside their campfire with a special friend, or the rapids they had run, or the time they spent cleaning up a campsite when some previous group had left a mess. Even though these stories may be more ordinary, they are also special. They are special to each individual and group that returns from a canoe trip. In some small way these events shape and mold each person. And they propel each person to want to come back and experience this magical place again next summer.

So, I look forward to seeing you again next summer. We look forward to more stories and new adventures. I look forward to continuing the relationship we have developed over this summer and previous summers. See you again soon!

- Ric