“Just stand up,” our guide told us. “Stand up?” I thought, “That’s crazy!” The chorus of that song from South Pacific came on inside my head…”Sit down, you’re rocking the boat!” But in this case, that “boat” was essentially a modified surfboard that was floating on the Muskoka River in northern Ontario’s Explorer’s Edge Region.
I’m usually one to push myself, but the notion that you’d stand up on an already very unstable board sitting in the middle of water was sheer lunacy to me! After all, if you lost your balance, you’d find yourself in the river and I was already having a rough day after learning that morning that Mountain Biking was definitely not for me…
But our guide stood up, indicating the method of first crouching and then slowly standing. Then other bloggers in my group stood up (they included Anita from Travel Destination Bucket List, Red from Red Hunt Travel, Jill from Jack and Jill Travel the World and Lisa from Girl About the Globe). Finally it was my turn and boy, was it nerve-racking!
I held my breath as my knees rose but finally, I was standing…and I couldn’t believe it! I dipped my long paddle in the water and propelled myself along. This was Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP), the latest new craze in water sports. And as our guide from Muskoka Outfitters put it, SUP is quite the upper body workout!
“Don’t make any sudden movements” we were warned. Sharp turns of your body could shift your center of gravity and tip the board, leaving you in the chilly water! At least I had on a “personal flotation device” (more commonly known as a life jacket), but I was determined not to get wet!
We paddled our way up river, which felt like an eternity. My forearms were killing me and I was starting to feel the paddling in my abs. But on we went for what felt like 30 minutes at least!
Just around a bend, our guide turned around, leading us back to the dock. “You won’t believe how quickly we’ll get back,” he told us. And he was right! Now that we were heading down river, it took all of 5 minutes or so to get back to where we started! I was pretty flabbergasted by what a difference going with the current instead of against it made!
Back on dry land I felt very accomplished. Nobody had fallen in and I’d broadened my horizons by trying something new….something I might even do again sometime! By the time we stopped for the night at the Hidden Valley Resort in Huntsville, Ontario, we were all in the mood for a nice celebratory dinner (which the hotel’s restaurant and its fun waiter/bartender happily helped us with).
Perhaps most impressive about our remote location was that, here we were, a mere 2 hours of north of Toronto and on the right night, one can see the Northern Lights! Alas, there was no activity on the night we were there, but we spent a good long while gazing up at the night sky in all its glory from the dock on the lake out back, where, earlier in the day, a family of groundhogs put on a little show for us!
Still though, it was pretty hard to believe that after two hours of driving we were in a totally different world, where adventure seemed to be around every corner! “Explorer’s Edge,” indeed in the great Canadian wilderness!