“….Ontario author and canoeist Hap Wilson has written Lake Superior to Manitoba By Canoe, his account of his work establishing a 1,200-kilometre water portion of the Trans Canada Trail. Wilson provides maps and GPS co-ordinates for readers interested in tracing his route themselves. The book, from Firefly Press, also includes stories of bear confrontations, being struck by lightning and enduring ticks, blackflies and mosquitoes, which might be better experienced second-hand.” ~ Bob Armstrong, Winnipeg Free Press.
Yes! It’s that time of the year again, when all the paddling and outdoor explorers gather for one spectacular weekend of presentations, demonstrations, as well as Canada’s largest showcase of outdoor gear and adventure travel experiences, all at the Toronto – OAS 2016.
Hap and Andrea wait out a storm while out mapping the route for the TCT
This year, look for Hap and Andrea at their NEW Cabin Falls Ecolodge booth, where there will also be books and other Hap Wilson works available. Plus, be sure to catch Hap at the Paddler’s Pavilion, where he will be presenting this year’s topic: TEMAGAMI.
Plus, receive a discount off the cost of your admission ticket to the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show when you print out the coupon image (see coupon image below) or purchase your tickets online using the promo code: HAPWILSON
OAS 2016 Show Info Show Hours
Friday, February 19, 2016, 11am – 8pm
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 10am – 6pm
Sunday, February 21, 2016, 10am – 5pm
Admission: (Don’t forget the coupon or online promo code above!)
Youths 12 – 17: $12
Seniors 60+: $12
Weekend Pass: $18
Children 11 & under are free
For more information, or to purchase your tickets online, see: http://outdooradventureshow.ca/toronto/show-info/
Resource & Service pages have been dedicated for advertising space in Hap Wilson’s new book. One-quarter, half & full-page ad space is now available at a first-come, first-serve basis. These pages have been an important user-resource in Hap Wilson’s guidebooks over the years. For ad pricing and information please contact Eskakwa EcoAdventure Co. at:
HEART OF THE CONTINENT Mapping Canada’s Canoe Route Explorations from Lake Superior to Manitoba By Hap Wilson Published by Firefly Books
Release Date: spring 2017 (Canada’s 150th.)
THE BOOK: A Brief Synopsis
Five years ago the Trans Canada Trail executives approached Hap Wilson about designing and mapping a canoe route from Lake Superior to Manitoba. Unable to build a land-based trail, the TCT had decided to earmark this National canoe route as an integral part of the Canadian cross-country trail system. Dedicated to Canada’s First Nations and canoeing icon Bill Mason, the route is called Path of the Paddle, tracing a diverse route over 1,000 kilometers from Thunder Bay to Whiteshell Park in Manitoba. Following the historic Pigeon River and the Gunflint Route, Path of the Paddle uses a little known route through Quetico Wilderness Park, north beyond Atikokan and the Turtle River Waterway system, up to Dryden and on to Kenora, finishing up along the Winnipeg River and Whiteshell Provincial Park in Manitoba. The book also includes many adjoining routes, kayak and paddleboard touring destinations, and local hikes up some spectacular vistas. Maps are hand-drawn with an artistic, historic look approach, detailed for safe navigation, with drawings, charts and photographs, along with journal notes. As with any Hap Wilson guidebook, this project has taken several years of intense field and studio work to complete; scheduled for release of spring 2017 as a celebration for Canada’s 150th. birthday.
Monthly information will be available for viewing by checking back here for updates at hapwilson.com.
There is a new book by Hap Wilson in the works along with renowned publisher, Firefly Books. With the release date set for spring 2017, and in celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday, the book has been given the title:
“HEART of the Continent” Mapping Canada’s Canoe Route Explorations from Lake Superior to Manitoba
The book will include Hap’s photography, illustrations, maps, and journal notes. Be sure to watch Hap Wilson’s Facebook page, Twitter, and this blog for more details as they become available to the public. Also be sure to follow Firefly Books on Facebook and Twitter for all their great publications!
At one time, there were very few Canadians who had not heard the name Grey Owl. Today, there are very few Canadians who have not heard the name Farley Mowat. As a Canadian author and environmentalist whose works have been translated into 52 languages with more than 17 million books sold, Farley has also been a long time patron of EARTHROOTS. Thus, as co-founder of the important environmental group EARTHROOTS, Hap became associated with Farley, who then became a bit of a mentor for Hap. So it was with great honour that Hap received this short scribbled note (see below) from Mr. Mowat upon reading Hap’s book, Grey Owl and Me: Stories From the Trail and Beyond .
‘Hap! “Grey Owl” is great — really enjoyed it. Many Thanks. F.’
But Farley Mowat isn’t the only one who thinks Hap’s Stories From the Trail and Beyond is a great read. Below are some more reviews taken from various sources across the internet and other mediums:
Wilson doesn’t go so far as to admit to being Grey Owl’s modern-day equal, but in many ways he’s picked up where Belaney left off. As celebrated he was as an author and orator in England, Belaney died young, consumed by alcoholism and depression. Wilson, on the other hand, has logged almost 40,000 wilderness miles and is still going strong. In his outspoken passion for the land, lakes and rivers of northern Canada, he’s inspired a new generation of canoe trippers-and no doubt more to come. — Conor Mihell
“Now Im sitting here with 10 good quotes and double entendres from Grey Owl that I would like to drop into this review, but Im pretty sure none of them would fly with the editor (whats French for seal again?) so Im going to leave them out. Suffice it to say that even though there is a strong environmental aspect to the book and that environmental awareness is clearly the main order here, Grey Owl and Me is often just way too fun to be clean, and the really clean parts arent that quotable. But thats just how Hap [Wilson] rolls. If you want environmentalism with some edge, I cant think of a better place to jump in than right here.” — Chronicle-Journal (Thunder Bay)
Wilson’s stream of conscious writing style has the feel of a campfire story: It’s impossible not to be engaged by his tales, which range from idyllic summer canoe trips to winter dogsled expeditions, and standing at the frontlines of environmental debates with the likes of Paul Watson, the founder of the notoriously radical Sea Shepherd Society. The book is hard to put down. — Canoe and Kayak Magazine, 20100801
If you enjoyed [Hap Wilsons] other hilarious and jaw-dropping memoirs, you wont be disappointed. This one, too, is sprinkled with sparks of brilliant and insightful writing. — Ottertooth.com
As expected, Hap’s call for environmental conservation is reflected in the very materials of this book, which has been printed on paper from well-managed forests and other controlled sources as approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). For more information about Mixed Sources and the FSC, visit their website: www.fsc.org. Don’t forget that you may purchase books directly from the author, and Hap always includes a personalized message and/or signature for those who ask. Contact Hap for purchasing and details.
“Since its founding, the TCT’s vision has been a trail stretching from coast to coast to coast. A trail for the enjoyment of hikers/walkers, cyclists, horseback riders and, more recently, canoeists and kayakers in summer, and cross country skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers in winter.” ~ from the TCT Website
Named “Path of the Paddle” in honour of Canadian canoeing legend Bill Mason and our Canadian Canoeing Heritage, this water trail will now be part of the world renowned Trans Canada Trail system that connects 3 oceans. With plans for over 1000 km of passage throughout Northwestern Ontario along with 6 unique trail segments connecting Thunder Bay to the Manitoba border, the Path of the Paddle (part of the Trans Canada Water Trail system) will provide an unique Canadian wilderness experience, for every season, within the Heart of this Great Continent.
Not only does Hap support the project, but he is also designing the trailhead signage as well as working on a manuscript with detailed mapping of the routes through his extensive fieldwork (along with his wife and partner, Andrea Turner-Wilson). It is expected the PTP guide book will be made available for 2014.
All my books had and still have a huge environmental “push” in a political climate where it has become a User-based system of management…and I use the word management very loosely. Basically…it’s a ‘use it or lose it’ mentality, hopefully where adventure tourism edges out industrial motives. Path of the Paddle is straddled in complex bureaucratic red tape that I’m wading through, hopefully making some gains in changing an outdated government system that has always bolstered a consumptive use of the wilderness.”
~ Hap Wilson (2013)
Hap also recently referred to the project on his Facebook page in a comment, “Bill was a kindred spirit and devoted environmentalist; not all paddlers are of such faith and dedication. The Trans Canada Trail water route I’m working on for a new guidebook (Path of the Paddle) honours the name and work of Bill Mason.”
The Path of the Paddle (PTP) project would not be possible except for the work of a small number of dedicated people. PTP recently applied for its incorporation as a Not-For-Profit organization having also recently obtained their Directors & Officers insurance (to help protect the directors and many volunteers who are working so hard to make the Path of the Paddle project become a reality).
“We stood at a long, sloping bedrock terrace; before us, riverside, was a neatly trimmed, brown log cabin, and set below the cabin, overlooking the falls, was a quaint canopied gazebo. And elderly man was waving us over. Excited to know more about this haven in the midst of rock and pine, miles from anywhere, we complied and met the man on the deck with a barrage of questions. He welcomed us by pouring freshly brewed cofe in real ceramic mugs.” ~ Hap Wilson, The Cabin, (upon viewing this wilderness cabin paradise for the very first time as a young lad)
Located on the first falls south of Katherine (Divide) Lake on the Lady Evelyn River (now the Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park), the Cabin Falls is Canada’s most unique wilderness eco-lodge retreat.
Original 1931 picture from the Cabin Journal.
Original 1931 picture from the Cabin Journal.
Built in the early ’30’s, with this cabin (as one can imagine) the building and reparations of, are no easy task as all materials and supplies have to be flown in from Temagami, paddled down river (through two rapids with canoes lashed together) and portaged twice, sometimes three times.
Lumber and all other supplies have to be flown and paddled in.
Canoes lashed together with Andrea helping to steer the load.
Over 100 Beaver aircraft flights have been made to bring in lumber – almost all it milled in Muskoka from local timber mills cutting on private land (not Temagami!). In fact, much of the material was salvaged from construction sites or old buildings being torn down. Almost all work is done by hand tools only – from skinning logs with a draw-knife to paddling in propane fridge. Solar powered since 2000 and soon to have its own hydro-power by way of non-intrusive pelton turbine, this eco-retreat is a paradise of mind as well.
Propane fridge being brought in by canoe with Hap in the stern.
Andrea skins the logs with a draw knife in the summer heat of 2012.
The old deck (circa 1931) being torn apart and replaced (2012).
“… I felt that I would, someday, become conjoined with this wonderful place at the falls; call it premonition or gut feeling, the seed was planted for a new adventure that was sure to unfold sometime in the future.” ~ Hap Wilson, The Cabin, (upon visiting Cabin Falls for the very first time as a young lad)
Originally built by two American brothers as their own personal wilderness nirvana, Hap now has been taking client trips up to Cabin Falls EcoLodge for over twenty years; welcoming mostly executive and family groups, as well as photographers, writers and artists to a memorable wilderness eco-retreat. All fly-in by floatplane from Temagami but other visitors may include canoeists who are passing through and in need of shelter on trip as Hap always leaves a little cabin (away from the main structure) open for trippers in need.
Hap at work making things comfortable around the cabin.
But the history of the cabin’s custodians have not always been peaceful perfection. Besides the fact that one of the original owners, Newcolm, chopped his wife up with an axe and slit his own throat with a razor at their home in 1934; at one time there were many who saw Cabin Falls and it’s occupants as a threat to their destructive economic ideals and single-minded industry.
“We woke up the next morning to a smoke-filled cabin. It was so thick outside that we couldn’t see across the river, less than fifty yards away. …”They’re trying to burn you out!” he announced. … “Elk Lakers — two of them — they were boasting about it in the local bar last night and someone overheard them,” Dawson expained, saying nothing more and returning to the post office. Shit. So, they actually did it, the bastards. They burned out the park, just like they said they would.” ~ Hap Wilson, The Cabin
To learn more about Cabin Falls, it’s history and it’s soul; read the book The Cabin – A Search For Personal Sanctuary, written and illustrated by Hap Wilson or visit for yourself!
Hap has always applied himself to his environmentalism as an art; creating change and awareness in people’s minds by use of his stories, his honest attitude to his writings, his ability tocapture the spirit of the land – in both words and in illustrations – mapping the routes to make it easier for our needful souls to connect with the earth, to live more simply, and to celebrate Nature (and our place in it) by remembering our more ancient selves like Hap has…. Always his motivation being to protect Her.
Through his guide books, his stories and art, Hap has helped to paint the very canvas of what our waterways and lands have become today… where rivers and trails are still being utilized by people and their canoes – yet to be completely handed over to industry. By just getting out in a canoe and using these ancient and modern-day routes with respect, you are doing (a little bit of) your part. Because Hap knows, and so do you, that if we don’t use it, we are subject to losing it.
“The Rivers book came about as a response to the heavy traffic on the Dumoine after my first river guidebook came out in the late 1980’s (dedicated just to the Dumoine). To relieve the pressure off the Dumoine I mapped out the “sister” rivers (primarily the Black and the Coulonge), equally exciting rivers, in order to displace more user-traffic…and it worked nicely. It also offered the paddler more choice, and it was easier on the environment; as well, it generated an awareness for river protection in a province bent on damming all rivers for hydro-power. All my books had and still have a huge environmental “push” in a political climate where it has become a User-based system of management…and I use the word management very loosely. Basically…it’s a ‘use it or lose it’ mentality, hopefully where adventure tourism edges out industrial motives. Path of the Paddle is straddled in complex bureaucratic red tape that I’m wading through, hopefully making some gains in changing an outdated government system that has always bolstered a consumptive use of the wilderness.” ~ Hap Wilson (2013)
If you have yet to pick up a guide book by Hap, you will not quite understand the depth he takes to connect the reader to the land and the trail. An honest review, blogged at A Whole Bunch Of Ings, captures just how advantageous having a guide book by Hap can be (in this case, The Rivers Of The Upper Ottawa Valley).
“I picked up a book today which was unreal. I have rediscovered our local library over the past couple weeks, and stumbled on Rivers of the upper Ottawa valley (myths,magic and adventure.) … The title says it all basically. This is a comprehensive,detailed,cornucopia of awesomeness. Everything from maps of what Algonquin tribe lived where (and a bit about each) to legends,to safety, oh and it’s a guide book as well! … It’s the kind of book which get’s you excited about a area, and honestly has given me so much information about things I never knew existed in my own backyard.” ~ A Whole Bunch Of Ings