A canoe trip is the epitome of slow travel

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“There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” (Kenneth Grahame)

For the past three days, I have been on a canoe trip in Algonquin Provincial Park, a vast region of lakes, granite cliffs, and pine trees that occupies a swath of central Ontario, Canada. It has been immortalized in the famous paintings of the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, which many readers will recognize.

My husband and I have wanted to take our kids on a canoe trip for years, but we felt we should wait until the youngest was able to walk independently on a portage route, rather than add to the list of things needing to be carried between lakes. Now that he’s four, this was the year.

We packed ourselves into an 18.5-foot canoe with a third seat in the middle, big enough for two small bottoms to sit side by side. The littlest child wedged between my feet at the back of the boat, from which I steered, and my husband provided much of the paddling muscle up front. We packed our camping gear, food, and clothing into two dry bags and a bear-proof barrel. Then we chose a route that required only two portages, as these rough trails linking lakes are often the hardest part of a trip.

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