We recently got our hands on the All-in-one collar + leash combination from the folks over at www.MyRadDog.com. I’ll be referring to it as the collar/leash for the rest of the blog.
Well I think before we say anything we’d like to state that Whisky our wonder test dog loved his new collar/leash. He loved it so much he wrote his own blog about it, but since he’s a dog it didn’t make any sense and he just got mud all over the keyboard. So we stepped up and decided to write one for him.
Okay we love this product! It eliminated the need to bring a leash for our dog Whisky on our canoe trips. If you’re like us you don’t leash your dog in the canoe but then hook them up once you get to a portage. Or as we’re often crownland camping we don’t have him on a leash at all. Eventually though you hit the portage or the need arises to leash him up. So I’m loving just being able to reach down and grab the handle on the collar which then extends the leash. The leash retracts back into the collar when you release it. Making it a very tidy little package.
The durable collar is made with climbers webbing (Cordura) and has a leash (an extra strength material called Spectra) built right into it. Which makes controlling the dog in the canoe and on the portages easier without having their leash dangling all over the place. The Spectra leash is rated for dogs up to 110lbs which would be a pretty big dog to have in the canoe with you, so we’re thinking if you’re reading this the collar would be suitable for your dog. The product comes in a variety of colours and for sizes ranging from small (up to 40lbs) to XLG (41 lbs – 110 lbs).
We had the collar/leash out with us on our last canoe trip. Once we adjusted it Whisky had absolutely no issues wearing it. He was in and out of the canoe/water quite a bit and it held up nicely. Not having to unpack his leash at each portage was fantastic, my kids and my wife commented how convenient and easy the collar/leash was. We’re all about streamlining the canoe packing process, so if can ditch a piece of gear I will.
I’ll say again we absolutely loved the collar/leash and would recommend it for any of our fellow canoeists or hikers. For anyone interested in picking up this cool product from Rad Dog you can head over to their website www.MyRadDog.com. The MSRP is 39.95 which we feel is totally in line with a standard leash and collar purchase. We’re definitely fans and we’ll be picking up a few more for our other pups.
Tis the season to wear bug nets fa la la la la la la la la..okay sorry I got a little carried away there. But it’s true the legions of blood sucking , biting creepy crawlers has risen from the fast moving brooks and stagnant beaver ponds. Yesterday we had a few conversations about bug prevention on canoe trips, now it’s all we’re thinking about. Luckily we make sure to have the following on our trips
1) Bug Jackets. The ones from The Original Bug Shirt Company are fantastic.
2) Bug spray. I’m not a huge fan of bug spray myself but we make sure to have some DEET , some all natural and some designed for kids on each of our trips. If the biting hordes get to much for my trip mates sometimes just the act of spraying a little on them will put their mind at ease.
3) Eureka Canada vcs tarp system and screen shelter. We have the older version they have a no No Bug Zone version which is just as good. It’s nice to have an area set up at camp that’s bug free, especially for the kids.
4) Patience and will power. Biting insects don’t really bother me. People often state on trips that they have no idea how I’m not losing my mind over the bugs. I think once you put it out of your mind it’s a little less of an issue. Also just paddle out into the lake. There is normally a breeze and less or no bugs out there. Lay back , cast a few lines and enjoy your big free area.
Best part of the last trip was watching all the exchange students discover a love of canoeing. Many talks and few laughs centred around that aspect of their experience in Algonquin. With only one small water/canoe related soaking it was definitely a positive experience for them, at least I think so anyway. Having our Swift Canoe & Kayak t-formex prospector was fantastic. It rides extremely well and could take any abuse they threw at it. I’ll have a more in depth write up about that canoe shortly.
Hope everyone’s having a great week. It’s a short one for many with the upcoming long weekend. We normally try to steer clear of any canoeing/camping areas during the long weekend. But, you never know I may be on the water or I may be in the garden.
If anyone was wondering what the water levels we’re like on the east side of Algonquin right now. They’re up! Portages and campsites were all a little smaller when we were there this past weekend. But it was well worth it to get out and enjoy some time paddling and sitting around the fire with friends. Just remember even though the ice is gone the water is still insanely cold. So be safe when you’re out there.
We had good weather , okay weather and on our way out horrible weather combining hail, wind , rain and a temperature of zero degrees. But it was totally worth it as the trip was filled a ton of laughs , nothing a little freezing rain and hail could stop. Here’s a little highlight
-met some new folks who were on their first backcountry canoe trip
-threw out enough 80’s movies references to sink a ship
-discovered peppered pistachios
-got to see a few loons combatting for space on the lakes
-first moose of the season
-discovered someone other than me knows what “Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors” is.
-tried out some new gear that performed extremely well.
-got extremely wind burnt
And with that the first of many overnights is in the bag. While this weekend trip was exactly what I needed, it’s time to look to other places and longer trips. The season for us is just beginning.
Continuing on with the turtle theme you may asking yourself how you can get in on the action and help out your fellow heroes in a half shell. If you’d like to make an impact and help injured turtles I’d suggest heading over to Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre and go to their shop. They have a bunch of great items and the proceeds go on to help fund this organization which helps a lot of injured turtles. They aren’t the only one either many groups have formed over the years to help transport or care for injured turtles or the eggs of deceased turtles. As I said go have a peek at their page if you’re half as passionate about turtles as I am you’ll enjoy seeing the photos and reading the stories. Or head over to their website https://ontarioturtle.ca
Time for more turtle info. Do you want to get serious about your ability to identify all eight of our native Ontario turtle species? If you said said yes head on over to here http://www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond/turtle_curriculum/unit1a1.pdf. If you said no you may need to reevaluate your stance on just how awesome turtles are.
Did you know that April 17- April 23 is international turtle and tortoise week? While we don’t have any tortoises here in Ontario we do have an amazing variety of turtles. I also need very little excuse to post pictures of turtles, talk turtles or just think about 🐢 so because of that we’ll be bringing you all kinds of turtle related info this week!
So how many species of turtles have you seen on your paddling trips? We found this surly fellow making his way across a beach for a bit of a stretch he didn’t seem to impressed with the impromptu photo shoot which you can totally tell from his frown.
You’ve been asleep, it feels like months have gone by in a frozen murky blur. A dense fog has fallen on your normal routine and you feel helpless inside it. You’ve tried to break free, hell you’ve even convinced yourself that sleeping out in the snow at -35 would help, what were you thinking? Let’s be honest, you weren’t. You were just biding your time. But then, a sliver of hope, a break in the fog, a light at the end of the tunnel. The temps begin to rise and spring bursts on to the scene. The birds sing, the sun shines down, the rain washes away the last signs of winter and then ,the rivers and lakes of southern Ontario begin to open. But don’t get to excited…it just gets worse from here. That’s when it really starts, this weird feeling, small and almost unnoticeable at first, it creeps into your life. It sits there in the back of your mind and try as you may you can’t get rid of it. You take the canoe out of storage and it goes away, for a bit. Then you go through gear or maybe even replace a few things and it goes away again but this time it’s even shorter. You find yourself looking through old trip photos, calling friends up north to talk about old times…but really to see how the conditions are. It’s the itch, we all experience it. We’re surrounded by perfect paddling conditions yet we know our favourite lakes and rivers are still locked beneath a sheet of ice up north. We check each day to see if maybe through some miraculous event the 24 inches of ice that was reported yesterday has vanished. But it doesn’t does it? In fact it never does, each year we go through the same feelings the same scenarios . But still we hope. Paddle in hand and canoe at the ready, we sit and we wait. Because when that day comes, when that paddle slices through the water, the first loon of the season calls across the lake, the first Trout pulls your line tight, you relax , you settle in and forget all about the itch that had you scratching all winter.
Thanks for reading
It’s a different experience paddling along the Grand but it does have its own beauty and intrigue. It’s not all urban landscape and it’s not pure wilderness but it’s important and (at least we think) extremely interesting. We often take local areas like this for granted and spend our time focusing on our favourite northern paddling destinations.
My kids were asking me a million questions about the river and as I was rattling off info to them I thought you guys might be interested as well. So here are a few interesting facts about the Grand River Watershed
– The largest watershed in Southern Ontario at 6800 square kilometres
-90 species of fish, 250 species of birds and over 80 species at risk call the watershed home.
– If you were to line up all the rivers,streams and creeks it would total around 11000 kilometres (that’s one hell of a paddle)
There’s loads of other interesting facts and I’d recommend checking out http://www.grandriver.ca for more info. The Grand River Conservation Authority does a great job managing the system and you can find out more via the website posted above.
As I was mentioning earlier we plan on paddling the length of the river in the next few weeks from Elora to Lake Erie. We’d love to hear from any of you who live along or near the Grand. To meet up or at least wave to as we go by. Hope everyone is having a great week.