Shish-Kong Lake, ON - Katya Smirnova

My name is Katya Smirnova and my Watermark is Shish-Kong Lake.

When I was 21 years old, I spent my summer working at a canoe tripping camp in the Temagami area. I had been in a canoe before, but not on trips that were as long or with portages that were as steep. On my very first trip with two co-leaders and a bunch of 10-11 year olds, I forgot my fishing rod at our campsite, only realizing after we had done two portages and crossed two lakes. This fishing rod was incredibly important to me at the time so my very supportive co-leaders said they could easily finish the paddling day safely without me. I climbed back into my canoe, having never properly solo-ed a boat before and began the arduous journey back for my rod. I cursed myself and cried on the way back, telling myself I was stupid to think I could do this journey on my own. After many failed attempts and falling into knee-deep mud, I pulled myself together and trudged on.

By the time I had made it back to the mysterious and quietly beautiful Shish-Kong lake, I felt like a pro-paddler. I had acquired a new confidence and a more solid sense of self than I ever had before AND managed to get to my fishing rod back. I proudly paddled back with my fishing rod in tow, through all of the lakes and portages I had already done twice that day, and made it back to my trip group on time for dinner and wild blueberry picking.

Ottawa Riverkeeper
Katya Smirnova
Katya Smirnova