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Geoffrey Peake works on the computer with assorted technical stuff around during the 1999 Winisk to The Bay Onriver.Online trip. (Photo - Michael Peake)



Telling the story

When we tell people we go on long northern canoes trips, they say "Great!" When we tell them we take along computers and satphones and write stories every day and send photos, the usually response is, "Are you nuts?"

Well... yes we are. But despite the apparent contradiction in seeking out peaceful, remote wilderness accompanied by all the things we try to get away from, it's not that simple. For decades, the results of our northern trips have been slide shows for friends or a photo spread in the newspaper where two of us worked. In other words, we enjoyed telling and showing people what it was like to be on that trip and in some way share the experience. Well, technology now allows us to tell and show people what it is like to be on the trip.

Our communications system is reflective of the technology today -- compact and effective. We can reach a broader audience within hours. It is remarkable to gather e-mail from around the world and be able to answer a question from someone in Switzerland or California or Saskatchewan about some facet of our online trip that people are following from their own homes. And if anything, the answers are more intimate, more real if they are given almost immediately instead of weeks or months later when we're in a different environment. The immediacy is vital. And besides, some of us are in the business of writing and editing quickly and efficiently, so at this stage of our lives, it's second nature.

We house all this expensive stuff in our watertight Pelican cases thanks to our friends at Daymen Photo in Toronto. We even adopted some of the Modern Mobile Office style and had some help from the folks at Mobileexpert.ca who supplied us with Coolpads to raise and swivel our laptops and keep them cool too and a pair of Cable Stables to keep the so many odds and ends of this technical life in order.

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