“Portage Dawn”, A New Limited Edition Print by Hap Wilson

Dawn Portage by Hap Wilson (Print)

“Portage Dawn” by Hap Wilson

(Note: The image here shows a hapwilson.com watermark for posting online but is not part of the actual “Dawn Portage” print.)

A short note from Hap:

Many thanks for your interest in my artwork… it was inspired by the over 100 trips down the Lady Evelyn, sometimes at dusk and sometimes at the breaking of the day…always beautiful, always different. Each print is signed and numbered: please let me know if you want the print “personalized” and to what address the prints are to be shipped to. Thank You!

Instructions for Purchasing Limited Edition Prints:

Shipping costs and HST are as follows.

Ltd. Edition Print; 11”X14” NSF (250 run) “Portage Dawn

One-print: $60.00 |   Two-prints: $110.00 | (Each additional print $50.00)

HST:  Please add $7.80 for one-print | $6.50 for each additional $50.00 print

Note: Present available payment options include Paypal invoicing, INTERAC e-Transfer (email money transfers), personal cheques or money orders at the present time. Please email info(@)eskakwa.ca or make your cheque or money order out to Hap Wilson. Mailing address: 1141 Crawford St. Rosseau, ON, Canada, P0C 1J0  For more information email: info(@)eskakwa.ca or call:705-732-8254

SHIPPING COSTS:

Please find your general location below and add the corresponding shipping cost to your purchase total. Thank you!

Canada:

GTA area: $12.00 (express post, 2-days)

All other Ontario: $14.00 (express post 2-3 days)

East coast: $18. Reg. or $22.50 express

West coast: $16. Reg. or $19.00 express

USA:

$10.00 regular mail (7-10 days) or $19.00 with tracking (6-7 days)

 Other Available LIMITED EDITION PRINTS and BOOKS

The Skier by Hap Wilson

 

 

“The Skier” limited edition print: reg. $120 on sale for $100.00

Trails & Tribulations, reg. $26.99 on sale for $18.00

Grey Owl and Me, reg. $26.99 on sale for $18.00.

Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley

Plus… Vintage copies of “Rivers of the Upper Ottawa” and “Missinaibi” (artwork on covers) on sale for $35.00, reg. $50.

 

She Said, He Said – Muskoka River X 2014

Muskoka River X 2013 - 5 Minutes After Start

Muskoka River X 2013 – 5 Minutes After Start

Last year, Hap and Andrea took part in first ever Muskoka River X with a finish time of 23:46:00.1, and this year the results for this world class expedition race showed exactly how challenging this marathon can be… Even more so than last year! Racers must complete a 130 KM route with 20 portages and all in less than 24 hours. Plus they are do do it completely self-supported. However, this year the gruelling adventure took place during some unseasonably cold and wet Ontario weather and, out of the 64 teams that started, only 44 arrived at the finish. Here is Hap and Andrea’s Muskoka River X 2014 report, starting with (the Queen of the Dreaded Portage) Andrea Wilson… 

She Said:

I heard the rain coming down hard on our steel roof when the alarm went off at 5:00am. I groaned and rolled over, dreading the next 24hrs. Hap, already up, brought me in a coffee (as he does every morning – I know, I’m a lucky lady!) and announced that we’d be leaving for the race in half an hour. No time to doddle but enough time to shove a third pair of wool socks and fleece zip-tee into our dry bag.

The rain had let up by the time we reached the start line and the Huntsville docks were full of eager paddlers and their friends and family. Thankfully, this year Hap didn’t hang back at the start and take photos while I froze in the bow seat. When the air horn went off, we slowly followed the masses under the bridge and then set into a strong and steady stroke. The morning was overcast…maybe it wouldn’t rain like it was forecasted after all???

No such luck. While paddling on Lake of Bays and admiring the many beautiful cottages along the way, the rain began again and remained on and off for the better part of the day. The wind picked up, creating swells on the big lake, which precipitated more steering and bracing the canoe than paddling forward. By the time we hit checkpoint one in Baysville we were absolutely drenched. As soon as I stopped paddling, I started to shake so I immediately changed into a dry shirt and second rain-jacket. Being used to paddling in all kinds of weather our spirits were still high, regardless; but, the looks on many of the other paddlers’ faces were grave.

Screen shot of the MRX 2014 Livemap - Team EcoTrailbuilders

Screen shot of the MRX 2014 Livemap – Team EcoTrailbuilders

The ride down the south branch of the Muskoka River was a blast – high water and lots of current; we were in our element! Not long onto the river, however, I felt a twinge in my left wrist but tried to ignore it. I’d slipped on some wet rocks while carrying lumber over a portage to our cabin in Temagami this summer. At the time, my wrist had bruised up within an hour. However, like the trooper I think I am, I decided to ignore it…chalking it up to building more “character.” The wrist hadn’t bothered me since the week I’d injured it…until now. Much of the way from Baysville to Bracebridge, I found myself gritting my teeth as we changed paddle sides…which is about every 10 strokes with a bent shaft paddle! So I knew by the time we hit the Mathiasville Dam that I was aggravating a relatively important joint in my body. If I pushed myself, I was afraid that I might cause permanent damage.

We paddled a little further before I got up enough courage to tell Hap that I thought maybe it best if we didn’t proceed past Bracebridge. Much to my (egotistical) relief, he too was feeling pain in the opposite wrist to mine. We agonized over pulling out of the race in Bracebridge – we’d never quit anything before…it’s not in our characters.

I think scratching from the race in Bracebridge was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to make. We were 2 hours ahead of our last year’s time and we were feeling strong, well fed and hydrated…and, of course, had another dry set of clothes for our evening paddle. We could have finished the race and reached our goal of knocking off a few hours from last year…but we were both in pain. I like to think it was wisdom that kicked in (and not the lure of a hot bath and a shot of scotch at home 😉 ) that made us pull out of the race. The remaining 45km out of a total of 130km would have to be traveled by us next year.

I think the Muskoka River X Challenge is a terrific adventure – rain or shine. Many thanks to Mike and Rob and their team of volunteers – they put on a top-notch event, which we always enjoy being a part of.

~Andrea Wilson

And we will end with Hap’s report…

He Said:

Having done the race last year we knew well what to expect this time. It was cold (but not freezing!) and strong winds would course broadside the long length of Lake of Bays. I had misgivings about entering this year because of joint injuries and an arthritic shoulder (not to mention I had just contracted our son’s sinus cold!). Not that I’m whining about it, we still have a very busy fall and direly need our faculties intact. I could put up with the pain, to a point; after all, having guided expeditions for over three decades part of the guide mantra is to be stoic in the face of adversity, right, like fending off polar bear visits, running Rocky Defile on the Coppermine and personal injuries or discomforts…fear or pain not to be worn on your sleeve in front of clients (in this case my wife…who had to also deal with her own injuries). That being said, we dove into this insane race with bated optimism and some angst, tagged on to a liberal dose of ego (we don’t quit anything, or so we thought).

Hap at the start of Muskoka River X 2014, captured by Andrea.

Hap at the start of Muskoka River X 2014, captured by Andrea.

 

It is, nonetheless, what one would consider a ‘compact’ adventure, or a weeks’ canoe trip rolled in to one 24-hour blitz as one friend had remarked to us. Rob and Mike are top-notch organizers who do not leave out any details, concerns or personal care. It is impressive to see the dedication to both the Big East and River X races by these guys, coupled with great sponsors and almost fanatical volunteers. And it’s good to see the race growing in popularity (there are more crazy people out there and that makes me feel good because I know I’m in good company!).

By the time we reached Bracebridge after pealing two hours off our last years’ time, still warm, well fed and hydrated we had to make a rather tough decision – to perhaps pull out early and prevent further damage to old wrist injuries that flared up. After 85 km. and an estimated time of completion computed at 19 hours, we decided to quit. For us that took more courage than paddling the remaining 45 km. to finish…as I said, we don’t quit at anything we put our minds to.

Andrea, my wife and paddling partner, never fails to astound me. Even though she had more anxiety about doing the race again than I did, she was the first to say “okay, next year, we can do it again, maybe get a faster canoe” and her enthusiasm is contagious. We are trippers first and always, as are the majority of racers, and it’s good to see such eclectic crazy canoeheads getting in to this masochistic competition; also great to hear of the ‘good Samaritan’ misadventures that befall the course, where canoeists/racers stop to help those in trouble.

Next year – for sure…we’ll be there again, injuries or not, maybe ramp it up to a faster canoe so that we can sneak into the top run category. Denial works well with getting older too. Maybe we’ll see the likes of Kevin Callan out there on the course next year – I understand he likes challenging canoe routes (but he once told me he doesn’t like paddling in cold weather…that’s just our secret, okay?)

~Hap Wilson

Read Hap and Andrea’s Muskoka River X accounts from last year here: She Said, He Said: Muskoka River X 2013 or view Hap’s 2013 Canoeroots feature on this epic race here: Hap, Muskoka River X, and Canoeroots Magazine. To find out more about the Muskoka River Xvisit their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Bala Falls Portage – A Much Broader Issue

Hap Wilson on the Bala Falls Portage Ban Controversy:

Ontarians should be outraged – at least those who value Canadian historic and prehistoric public lands. The Bala Falls Portage issue, recently covered by the Globe and Mail, is a much broader problem that needs serious investigation. Last winter I was called on by Swift River Power Corp. lawyers to stand as an expert witness for their team. I refused. I then became an expert witness for the Township of Muskoka Lakes who are fighting to stop the power development.

In my Wild Muskoka guidebook I had put an alternate portage on the north side of the falls predominantly for those beginning trips down the Musquash and Moon Rivers. This is the portage Swift River (and OMNR) prefer, of course, because they want to develop the historic portage site still used by local camps and paddlers. I was then grilled by Swift River lawyers about my choice of portage locations but I maintained that the historic portage was still in active use. Local historians (Shnier et al) proved the historic use of the portage by Thompson in the early 1800’s; I also maintained that from my own extensive travels on rivers, that the portage is located in the most likely place south of the falls.

 

Portage Ban - Ontarians Should Be OUTRAGED!

OMNR & Swift River won the first round in the courts and we all know that the appeal won’t look any better. I told the Globe and Mail in a short note that they need to look deeper into this issue. This has been happening across Ontario in a multitude of ways, i.e. OMNR placating to the whims of big business at the expense of self-propelled recreation interests.

Recently I talked with a spokesperson at the Culture & Heritage Ministry in Toronto who informed me that each OMNR District in the province is basically self-regulating; ha, no surprises there! That means they can stretch, or ignore certain aspects of the Public Lands Act or Heritage Acts based on current industrial or impact-tourism needs. OMNR closed off the Bala Falls Portage because of safety reasons…how absurd is this when you can easily name a hundred other similar locations exist on other rivers in the province. Does this mean that OMNR will shut-out paddlers from other locations based on liability fears (or big business interests)???

The township will lose the Bala Falls court appeal because, hey, the Crown-based Canadian legal system won’t want to compromise the peoples’ faith and trust in the present system – that the ministry overseeing our natural resources and Crown Land make the best collective decisions for the People…and we all know how well our fisheries and forests have been managed in this country!

OMNR can’t afford to lose this fight and the Crown judges know this. This is actually a huge precedent setting case in Canada but most people haven’t picked up on it yet. The Crown can’t lose because there would certainly be investigations and court cases pop up across the province – if not the country….and if you think Ontario Crown Lands are run by a bunch of bandits, you should see the internal machinations within the Crown ministries in Manitoba!

••••••

Written by Hap Wilson :: July 13, 2014, submitted via email.

For more information, visit savethebalafalls.com.

Hap speaks out: Save The Rangers

In September 2012 the Liberal government cancelled the 70-year old Ontario Ranger program, formerly known as the Ontario Junior Forest Ranger Program.

The Ontario Ranger Program provided an opportunity for young workers to gain first-hand knowledge of resource management through a work and learning experience. More than 78,000 Ontario youth have participated in the 70-year old program.

Yet without any prior public consultation – the program was abruptly cancelled.

MNR Rangers Logo

The Ontario Government made claims the Stewardship Youth Ranger Program, an existing day program, would deliver the same experience and would offer more jobs.

Not surprisingly, this is simply not the case whatsoever. In fact, it’s NOT the same at all!

Now, the new Premier Kathleen Wynne government has committed $295 million dollars in the 2013 provincial budget for youth employment.

 

The ranger program was, for thousands of young people, a life-altering experience for all the right reasons. ~ Hap Wilson, Requiem For A Ranger

 

It is time to speak out and do your part to help get the original Junior Ranger program reinstated. You can take action here: Save The Rangers (savetherangers.ca)

See what Hap has to say about this travesty, and how the new program poorly imitates the original Ranger program by way of The Toronto Star: Requiem For A Ranger

Full link: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/08/23/requiem_for_the_ontario_rangers.html

Copy of Op Ed piece stored on the Save The Rangers website: http://media.wix.com/ugd/d73ceb_037117aa61dd144d2d5999388bda000f.pdf

SaveTheRangersLogo*Please note, the majority of the text for this post was sourced from our friends at SaveTheRangers.ca. For more information about how you can help this historical and culturally rich program become reinstated, be sure to contact the good folks who are spearheading this campaign by visiting SaveTheRangers.ca.

Footbridge on the Centre Falls Trail

Centre Falls - 1978

Centre Falls – 1978

Since at least 1947, there was a footbridge on site along a challenging section on the Centre Falls trail in Temagami (now part of Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park). That changed in 2003 when the MNR removed the footbridge for liability and budgetary reasons. The path that must now be used predates the bridge but includes a very difficult and steep climb up and down the small ravine.

A direct message from Hap Wilson on the removal of the Centre Falls Footbridge in Temagami:

When I was a park ranger in Temagami back in 1978, one of my first jobs was to rebuild the footbridge at Centre Falls (then Lady Evelyn Waterway Park – pre Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Wilderness Park).

The old bridge, built in the early 1960’s by a dozen Junior Rangers and two foremen over a 2-week period, spanned the sixty-foot ravine beside the falls. I had a crew of four and we rebuilt the bridge in five-days in early May. Tar and rolled asphalt helped preserve the joints.

The bridge was still in good shape well into the new century; however, the MNR removed the bridge for liability reasons a few years ago, even though the couple of planks that had deteriorated could easily have been replaced.

It is a very difficult lift or drop through the ravine without the bridge. When the MNR took down the bridge they left all the spike-laced debris in clear site instead of dragging it back into the bush; when we built the bridge we made sure the old take-down material was cleared away.

If you think this iconic footbridge should be rebuilt again, let me know…I’ve seen a lot of trippers struggle through this dangerous cut in the rocks.”

~Hap Wilson, June 2013

To let Hap know YOUR VIEW, leave a comment below, email him at info@ecotrailbuilders.com or find other ways to contact Hap Wilson here: Contact Hap Wilson – Eco Trailbuilders

Rebuilding Centre Falls Bridge - 1978

Rebuilding Centre Falls Bridge – 1978

Hap and his crew working on Centre Falls Bridge - 1978

Hap and his crew working on Centre Falls Bridge – 1978

Rebuilding Centre Falls Bridge - 1978

Rebuilding Centre Falls Bridge – 1978

Path of the Paddle Project – The Trans Canada Trail by Water

“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.

 

TCT - Path of the Paddle map preview.

 

 

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.”

 

Hap Wilson & Andrea Turner-Wilson

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).

“Like” PTP on Facebook to learn how to become involved or visit the TCT website for more information about this historic trail system.

To follow the progress of the TCT – Path of the Paddle project, be sure to connect with PTP and Hap Wilson – Ecotrailbuilders on Facebook or Twitter.