Muskoka River, ON - Malka Rozencwajg

Upon entering teendom.. I trekked along with a consortium of male youth— one or two eager to trip-up a female trekker also upon a north of cultivated Canada exploration through off-beaten-track terrain outfitted via a group comprised primarily of urban denizens. Two camp staff having experience with northern terrain trekking led our party of 12-to-14 age trekkers: all in attendance were not yet 30 in years. Our trek ensued within the Muskokas through Group of 7 canvas backdrop turf where we witnessed the effects made to the landscape via receding glaciers of the ice age less than a season after the snow of winter receded during early spring when our troupe partook with the aid of avid locals in a spring rite involving dipping plastic garbage bags pierced with spikes to offer drainage in icy finger singeing swift-moving Muskoka country streams abounding in spring's thaw with endless droves of smelt. How we over-gleaned though admittedly a portion of our booty ended flowing back through the tops into the swollen waters surging over the natural shoreline— as did a couple of overenthusiastic fisher attemptees— Fortunately only smelt ended swept beyond our retrieval! Afterward all participants were taught how to prepare their booty for frying. How we ate! It served as an interesting lesson in anatomy too— definitely not the time to insist upon lady-alike cultivation!

When spring approached summer we sought to emulate backwoods couriers as our entourage coursed through a water system within Muskoka entailing portage and a tented overnight stay with a campfire breakfast. Then we more easily routed to a junction point where trappings of civilization awaited via warm blankets hot cider and cars with heaters blaring—

—after travelling through terrain unblemished via trappings of cultivation except the remains of past campfire pits dug past the brush not afar of the shore. As our canoes incrementally diverged through turf our line of wayfarers sang and banged-out rhythms utilizing cutlery upon metal cups grasped strung from loops of our portagers knapsack kits to take our mind away from the weight above our heads. We pitched tents upon less profuse with brush sections past the generally inhospitable to picnicking brambly terrain nearby the bank. Our guides cautioned we maintain well aback of the edge of the deeper forest where animals linger.. although I skirted inside briefly to glimpse remains of seldom seen beauty of rare boreal forest orchids such as lady-slippers. At intervals upon our way members of our sortie rang-out tunes familiar to the summer of love. Some of the boys attempted tapping-out Wipeout upon being advised seasoned local adventurers via hollering and assorted noise-making action kept wildlife lurking in the wood aback. It must've worked— Our sortie saw not one fur-bearing creature upon our day-and-a-half expedition, unfortunately— or much of other alive wildlife throughout our off-the-beaten turf exploration— despite our collective viewed remains of fur and porcupine quills in addition to deposits of fish scales attributed to raccoons washing their catch at the shoreline along with one episode of glimpsing one beaver aback of the shoreline at the edge of the forest zealously chiselling a fallen tree.. clearly undaunted via our presence. Then a wind further along the river in a less-brambly space our sortie leader chose to pull in to give us a rest from oaring and to engage our troupe in an investigative walkabout along with a campfire cooking lesson after we witnessed tent-pitching technique amongst inopportune brush!

Via the utilization of newly-gleaned oaring manoeuvres through the ever swifter water.. attempting a waltz as our collective of canoes veered among the increasingly-tugging at spots whirlpools at odds with the river every canoe attempted to avert via vigorous gesticulating of varied-purpose oar-tips: Good thing the diverging then water levels remained mainly not above our heads through that section as a couple of our canoe members capsized! Regarding it all.. fortunately still dry at the bow of my troupe canoe.. at times needing to stay the vessel I incessantly paddled a figure-eight! Periodically craggy edges of boulders jutted-up from the face of the water's surface. Fortunately our consortium of canoes managed to avoid smashing into via quick-witted oaring manoeuvres although the increased rushing of the river as we traversed one river system via portage into another increasingly swifter— more drawing water by then a-swirl with random white peaks breaking the surface to even faster pre-summer river waters— to eventually manoeuvre through a descent via a staircase of rapids bringing our line of canoes.. pulled by that point without any way of turning back—

The group mindfully veered our collective of canoes through this craggy descent into a very still corridor— alike a neck— entry into an expansive lake! Fortunately all partakers remained intact! By then our envoy of entirely inexperienced youth-years voyageurs withdrew all oars.. not needing to use them.. allowing all wrists a break as we glided as though into a grande finale— via the neck of smooth ribbon of water.. drawn via some below-the-surface current— to enter a serene lake circumfrenced by heavily-treed forest and sparsely-dotted via small puffs of white clouds above.. blue sky.. as if guided—

Our group comprised of mainly concrete environment males who after a choppy descent glided into the smooth-surfaced corridor of water effortlessly— as if our reward! As our procession of canoes glided past the neck of black below the surface though serene smooth-surfaced rivulet flanked by sheer-faced rock cliffs leading high up towards their plateaus. We traversed too brief of a period of exhilaration through the placid ribbon of current-pulled water preceding an entry into the expanse of a less often traversed via the general populace.. lake. All our envoy remained quiet— clearly in collective awe.

Muskoka River, ON
Jessica Gordon
Malka Rozencwajg

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