The seeds of what was to become the Give'r brand were planted over 10 years ago with the first annual Ontario, Canada trip. Ben Miller, Connor Close and I paddled one aluminum canoe and one semi-sea kayak. We carried a mix of gear and food that we hoped was enough to complete this dream-journey.
When we pulled away from the marina on Day 1, we were a sight to behold ... green to the scene, no doubt, but determined to sort it out and give it our all. Seven days and 140 km later, we arrived at our planned destination, humbled by nature and the big water of the great lakes and in-flowing rivers. We also gained a solid foundation of experience, which we didn't yet realize would result in years of adventures to come.
The present day roots for Give'r were solidified on the 5th annual trip of this kind, back in late summer 2011. That years' roster included five brave souls, all from Jackson, WY. We created custom hats to commemorate the trip, which featured the phrase Give'r (a term frequently used in that region of Canada) and an outline of the Tetons (where we called home). Check out the full background story here.
Every year we keep going back to Ontario, Canada, and every year has been different – with a wide array of crew size, experience level, route, watercraft, timing, weather and much more. The number of variables and nature of the area explored means that no trip can be replicated, and that each day’s experiences and moments are viscerally unique.
Being off the grid in remote wilderness and self-contained for 5-8 days means it is inevitable that things will go "wrong" and that we'll be humbled by mother nature in many ways. Embracing this uncertainty and volatility is what brings the crew together, rolling with the punches and giving it our all, whether blue skies or squalls. The memories are lasting and the experiences have served all well beyond the confines of the trip.
This year, we returned to Give'r country in late spring, and the Return to Our Roots was anything but disappointing. Here are a few images from our journey. As I continue to sort through photos and reflect on the trip, I plan to share more of the play-by-play of this year's adventure. Stay tuned!
Keep on Given’r!