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  • August 17, 1997

    Michael Peake writes:

    Michael Peake  As Governor of the Hide-Away Canoe Club, I think it is time for me to get out from behind the camera and put a few words together. Now, admittedly, the title of Governor is a self-imposed one and lightly regarded by some people - it seems, most of the people on this trip!
     Our canoeing group, the HACC, is a very special one. Since 1981, we have paddled thousands of miles together is all kinds of conditions across Canada's north. We have given everyone a title.
     I have the honour to be your Governor. Geoffrey Peake is our incredible Chief Guide, routing us down these wild northern rivers with great expertise and wisdom. David Peake, the Quartermaster, organizes the outfit and gets us going every morning with a fresh cup of coffee and breakfast. Our Chaplain, The Reverend Peter Scott provides a spiritual lift in a most unique and highly individual manner. Peter Brewster, our Piscine Director, has written daily reports this trip and provides us with great fish meals - when we give him a chance to get a line in the water. Our newest member Tom Stevens, proved a hard worker and able paddler.
     We are now in George River and at the kindness of Edgar Cyr, writing these words in a construction kitchen - and at a table too, I'd forgotten how handy tables are. And that brings up a point. I recall finishing a 28-day trip in the tiny village of Coppermine on the Arctic Ocean. We were taken in by an Inuit family and I vividly recall going to the sink and turning on the tap and being amazed that hot water came out without having to heat it. That may seem a silly or stupid observation but it is a bit of what canoeing is all about.
     Why do we do these trips? A lot of people ask us that. One of the popular questions we get is how do you treat your water? My usual response is, how do you treat yours? The water from the George River is as pure as it comes. I can't say the same about most municipal versions.
     These trips are tough, that's for sure. And that's partly the point. They bring you back to the basics of living. Food, shelter and weather. These are the only things that really matter when you're on the land. They also give you a chance to reflect on one's usually harried city life. Of course, I miss my family - though I brought a few along on this trip. I also miss my wife Margaret and my beautiful 18-month-old son, Thomas, whom I call Spud, whose picture is taped to the cover of my daily journal.
     But I return to all of them a refreshed and renewed father, son and husband. Our experience on the George has been shared with them and you for the first time almost as it happens. We did that not to brag about ourselves but to tell you something about this great northland and its history which we are so blessed to have and enjoy.
     We hope you have enjoyed our travels. It has been a unique experience for us to get your e-mail questions and comments. Of course, we have not been able to see the CANOE website and look forward to getting a look at it.
     Thanks for your interest and support. It has been our pleasure to share a great piece of Canada's north with you.
     Let's do it again sometime.

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