River Of Fire: Book Review

“….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.

See the full review and more: Paddler recounts epic canoe journey by Bob Armstrong of the Winnipeg Free Press. Plus, don’t miss the book launch September 28th. See more: River Of Fire Fall Book Launch.

New Hap Wilson Books Coming 2017

Hap Wilson books to look for this year: Lake Superior to Manitoba by Canoe (Firefly Books, release date May 2017); River of Fire (Latitude46 Publisher, release date September 30th 2017).

Book launches and talks to be announced.


The Trans Canada Trail water trail, Path of the Paddle, guidebook and much more…


Mapping Canada’s Canoe Route, guide to the Trans Canada Trail Path of the Paddle, Firefly (release date – May 2017); River of Fire (Latitude 46 Publisher, release date – September 30th).

New Cabin Falls EcoLodge Adventure Website

cabinfallsshotCabin Falls EcoLodge Retreats Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park, Temagami, Ontario, Canada 

Nestled in a pristine setting, surrounded by 250 year old-growth pine forests and perched over a 10-meter waterfall, Cabin Falls EcoLodge is one of the most unique rustic lodges in Canada.

Since 1984 Cabin Falls EcoLodge has hosted hundreds of like-minded Nature enthusiasts. Photographers, artists, families, executives and survivalists have connected with their passion for adventure in one of Canada’s most scenic river parks. First constructed for only a few, the lodge has grown to accommodate up to twelve people in a beautiful, rustic yet elegant setting, perched atop a thirty-foot waterfall.

Cabin Falls Ecolodge is owned and managed by well-known Canadian adventurers, Hap and Andrea Wilson. And there is no place like it in all of Ontario; Cabin Falls Ecolodge is the only privately owned lodge in the park.

Find your Cabin Falls EcoLodge adventure at the new CabinFalls.ca website:

Hap, Andrea & Cabin Falls at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show

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

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.

Temagami poster 2016

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!)
Adult: $14
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/

You definitely don’t want to miss this!

Hap & Andrea take 2nd: MRX – Coureur des Bois

Hap & Andrea place second in their category (C-2 co-ed) for the 220km Coureur des Bois – Muskoka River X Classic adventure marathon canoe race!

Hap and Andrea have taken on the MRX every year since its inception. Their first year they finished, winning the award for heaviest carry, with the second year seeing them having to pull out due to injury. This year, when the River X crew announced an expansion course to the Muskoka River X Classic with the Coureur des Bois, Hap and Andrea signed up immediately for the epic challenge.

“Building on the heritage of the canal expeditions of the 1800’s, the Coureur des Bois Teams will travel along the expedition routes of these early explorers as they traverse Algonquin Park east to west from Whitney to Oxtongue Lake. After an overnight layover at Oxtonque and using only the supplies that are carried with them, teams will then merge with the MRX Classic on Lake of Bays on day two. Paddling the full north-south length of Lake of Bays the Coureur des Bois’ will complete stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the MRX Classic before returning to Huntsville.” ~MRX Website

A totally self supported race, the teams had to paddle 220km in under 48 hours or less to complete the Coureur des Bois and MRX Classic. An amazing feat to be sure! So a hearty congratulations and paddles up to Hap and Andrea, as Team EcoTrailbuilders, for finishing with an impressive 2nd place win in the C-2 co-ed category for the Courier des Bois, as well as to all the paddling adventurers who took on this incredible marathon challenge! Read Hap’s full account of their gruelling race experience below:

Each year we ask ourselves…why are we doing this? I don’t really have an answer for that; after all – we are trippers – not racers, even though we like to challenge ourselves every so often. But why would anyone want to canoe race over 220km. through beautiful backcountry wilderness in 36 hours when it usually takes two weeks time to REALLY enjoy the experience! And it’s a tough route: Andrea and I had never paddled the park south of Hwy. 60… one of the reasons we signed up for the race. And because our fall schedule is so tight, we had only a couple days open to experience it, sure, as we sped by at 10kph (that is, when we weren’t stopped to boil up a pot of tea). The race route chosen was perfect and hats off to Mike and Rob for putting all this together – not to mention Rich Swift and Algonquin Outfitters as key sponsor. We felt pretty strong this year after a heavy expedition and ecolodge schedule but – let me tell you – we are both hurting now! Lifting this mornings’ coffee cup was about all we could handle.

Photo Credit: Muskoka River X (via Facebook page)

Hap and Andrea during the pre-race check • Photo Credit: Muskoka River X (via Facebook page)

The route through the park was a mix of pretty lakes (starting at Whitney), Rock, Pog and Lake of Two Rivers, then entered a labyrinth of creeks that got several teams mixed up trying to find the right channel along the Madawaska. A meandering creek at this point, taxing everyone’s energy…throw in a few good portages (over 4,000m. in all first day) and by the time we reached Tea Lake (around 4pm…one hour before they close off the race) we were feeling the gnaw of fatigue. The termination time of 5pm. was tight but race officials didn’t want paddlers running the Oxtongue too late into the night. As it were…we still hit dark at Twin Falls and Ragged Chutes, having to navigate several rather gnarly C1’s by headlamp (apologies to Bill Swift who loaned us the Swift Winisk for the race…yes, we put a few scratches on the bottom). We finished up around eight or nine, 14 hours total time which we were pretty pleased with, set up camp at AO and managed a pretty good sleep.

RACE DAY TWO: Wake up call came too early – five-o’clock and we packed up feeling okay, except that I had forgotten to pack the coffee! Andrea and I can’t function without the caffeine in our blood so we were both off the morning of the second day.

Mornings are generally hard enough, for me, anyway, and I know Andrea was hurting after Day One. It took the whole of Lake of Bays, navigating big rollers coming down the lake, to start feeling better, sort of…but after a hard tripping year and trailbuilding season, we have a lot of resident injuries and joint pain to contend with. After Baysville things got a bit better and we started to get into a rhythm.

Hap & Andrea (Team #9 EcoTrailbuilders) near the head of the pack during MRX Classic portion of the race.

Hap & Andrea (Team #9 EcoTrailbuilders) near the head of the pack during MRX Classic portion of the race.

By this time, the other racers doing just the RiverX (who started at Huntsville – we started at Dwight Beach), started to mix and the river was a little congested at the rapids, people piling up at portages. Andrea and I started taking longer breaks, boiling up tea, lunch break under the pines, while other racers sped by (we would catch up and pass later…it took us longer on the portages because we had heavier, 2-days gear load but we could make up time paddling once the ibuprofen and honeyed tea kicked in). Thanks to the Muculloch family for their support too – it was certainly a lift to see them as we approached Bracebridge, and to Andrea’s mom for cheering us on at Baysville.

We kept up a good pace through Bracebridge and pell-melled it through up the North Muskoka to High Falls just as dark set in – two portages that can be a bit confusing to do by headlamp. Had a 45 minute dinner, hot drink before setting off upstream in the dark. No fog this year but we could feel the cold of the night creep in slowly. The riffles and current were, again, a tough negotiation and we walked up one in our barefeet so we could keep our shoes dry. Made it to the checkpoint at Port Sydney and sat in the heated shelter and made more tea. The warm tent initiated a desire to sleep. We figured we had spent over 2-hours during our race time just making tea and meals along the way, but it also helped us mentally to deal with the hardships. Mary Lake was difficult, windy, intimidating as waves constantly edged the gunnels wanting to flip the canoe, taking an inordinately long time to reach the north end. Last portage and the notion that we would make the distance in relatively good time – a couple hours better than two years ago, and a total of 36 hours for the entire 220km.

MRX CdB 2015 - Hap & Andrea's Live Map

Andrea and Hap’s route as marked out by the AO MRX CdB Live Map

But the best thing about this race can be attributed to two things: first of all – the beautiful wilderness Muskoka and Algonquin Park own, sometimes taken for granted; secondly; the people you meet along the way…other like-minded folk (maybe a bit crazy too) who love the challenge, stop to help you out in difficult situations, and to Mike, Rob, Rich and all the sponsors and volunteers who work hard to provide the experience for all to enjoy. Next year? Andrea and I will let you know after the aches and pain subside.

Heart of the Continent Book – A CALL TO ADVERTISERS

Heart of the Continent by Hap Wilson



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:

Email: info@eskakwa.ca or call: 705-732-8254

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.