Yeah, it's not waterproof and it does throw off your keel line a bit, but I now consider an exer-saucer absolutely vital canoeing equipment

We finally took the plunge this weekend and took our 5 month old daughter camping.  We chose to introduce her to the outdoor life at our favourite overnight getaway site – an easy half day paddle down a lake in the Magnetewan River system north of Parry Sound. It wasn’t an overly ambitious choice. We decided to focus on the challenge of simply getting our new family member up and down the lake in a moderately contented state and to save the six week whitewater trips for next year.

Here’s some lessons learned from Kathleen’s first weekend in the great Canadian wilderness:

1.  A good Canadian knows how to make love in a canoe. A good Canadian father knows how to balance a carseat and an exersaucer on top of a fully loaded canoe.

2.  Singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to a sleeping infant as you actually row a boat is a surreal experience.

3.  A 5 month old child is like a puppy in that it wants to explore everything with its mouth. This includes pine cones, sticks and assorted wild shrubbery. If you’re a negligent father and ultimately have make a very quick decision, I recommend the stick.

Sunset on Naiscoot Lake

4.  Gradually introduce your infant to cold lake swimming. Instant immersion is a recipe for a lot of screaming and loss of bladder control (for both the infant and the parents).

5.  The 5 extra hours it took you to get ready for a simple overnight camping trip will feel totally worth it once you’re enjoying that first lakeshore sunset with your baby in arms.

Have fun out there!