Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book Review - Cottage Country Canoe Routes by Kevin Callan

I love Kevin Callan's books. When a new one comes out I let out a little excited squeal in the bookstore that has all the other customers looking at me funny. Cottage Country Canoe Routes has a special place in my heart, however.

My mum first bought this book when it came out in 1993. I was in high school, living smack dab in the middle of cottage country and was determined to try everyone of the trips described in the book. Ignore the fact I'd never gone on a canoe camping trip in my life. I read that book so many times I memorized it, and spent ages making lists of gear I'd need, sample menus and of course, trying to convince my parents to let me go.

I'm convinced the reason I didn't get to actually fulfill my dreams back then was because none of my friends were willing to go with me and my parents wouldn't let me go alone.

When I moved out, I bought my own copy of this book and though I haven't done all the routes yet, I have done some. This book has gone on many a day paddle, and has fallen in the lake, gotten rained on, and had food spilled on it, but I can't bring myself to buy the updated version even if it might have more accurate data (especially considering at least some of the areas where you could camp for free when Cottage Country Canoe Routes came out, you now have to pay to camp at.) The written descriptions are humorous and full of information beyond simple portages and put ins. The pictures are beautiful, and will surely inspire you to head out and see the splendor of cottage country for yourself.

The areas covered in the book are Georgian Bay, Muskoka, Haliburton and Kawartha Highlands. There is a good sampling of possible routes for each area, and most are novice to moderate level routes.

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