Kayaks, canoes – and long underwear

A kayaker goes over the dam in downtown Queensborough: can you imagine doing that? Not me. (Photo by Raymond Brassard)

A kayaker goes over the dam in downtown Queensborough Saturday: can you imagine doing that? Not me. (Photo by Raymond Brassard)

I made mention in a post a couple of nights ago of the big event in Queensborough this past weekend: the MACKFest (Marmora Area Canoe and Kayak Festival) that saw dozens and dozens of intrepid kayakers make their way down the icy-cold Black River, through some impressive rapids, and end up at the dam on the river at our little village. Some climbed out of the water above the dam; but many others went right over it, and that was quite something to watch. Which many people did; it’s a great spectator sport (and there were lots of photographers there as well).

Some kayakers chose to get out of the river above the dam, while many others went right over. (Photo by Raymond Brassard)

Some kayakers chose to get out of the river above the dam, while many others went right over. (Photo by Raymond Brassard)

Raymond and I were impressed with two things. One was what a big draw this annual event is; there were licence plates in Queensborough from all over Ontario and even Quebec. And the second was the hardiness and good cheer of the community volunteers who served the kayakers hamburgers, hot dogs, soup, soft drinks, coffee and tea, and especially pieces of pie – all at very reasonable prices, with all money collected going to community programs.

Can’t you just imagine how much you would appreciate a burger and a piece of homemade pie (washed down with some good hot coffee or tea) after an hours-long paddle down a river that still had ice in it, and probably getting yourself thoroughly soaked in the process? (Though these folks are no fools; they wear the proper gear to keep warm enough to be safe.) Well, imagine how much you would appreciate that homemade food served up by friendly volunteers, and then multiply it by about ten to get a sense of how much those kayakers really did appreciate the food and friendly service. I loved listening to their comments, and the whole thing was just great to take in.

The kayaks made for a colourful spectacle once pulled up on land. Meanwhile, in the background you can see the tents where community volunteers were serving up barbecued burgers, homemade pie and hot coffee to the cold and hungry kayakers. (Photo by Raymond Brassard)

The kayaks made for a colourful spectacle once pulled up on land. Meanwhile, in the background you can see the tents where community volunteers were serving up barbecued burgers, homemade pie and hot coffee to the cold and hungry kayakers. (Photo by Raymond Brassard)

But it was cold out there! Even in the sun on Saturday, and especially in the very strong gusts of wind on more cloudy Sunday. The volunteers had dressed warmly, complete with hoods and layers, but a couple of them – hardy veterans of many a United Church Women church supper – told me they’d had a hard time getting warm again even once they got home. But they stayed for the duration.

Raymond and I had made multiple plans and commitments for the weekend before we realized it was the weekend the kayakers came to town. So we weren’t able to spend a huge amount of time down at the river, and our contribution was really only a bit of help cleaning things up at the end, late on Sunday afternoon. Next year I will try to be on hand to help serve (and perhaps will get my act together to make a pecan pie, the only kind of pie I ever have success with). But judging by how chilled I got even in the relatively short time I was there this past weekend, I know I will need something that I have hitherto resisted all my life:

Long underwear.

Does it come in turquoise?

6 thoughts on “Kayaks, canoes – and long underwear

    • That is very cool, Luc. I hope you had a great weekend on the Black River, and enjoyed some of the good food for sale at the end of the line in Queensborough. Your link took me to a report in the EMC on the event – not your blog, but fun to read just the same. Cheers, and hope to see you in Queensborough next year!

  1. This looks like a fun event, even for the spectators. Speaking of dams, do you know of High Falls? It’s over just off of the French Settlement Road. Kids at school talked about it, so I asked my grandfather. We were picnicing near Actinolite one time, and Grandpa said he knew where the falls are. We drove north on French Settlement Road, maybe for 10-15 minutes, and stopped the car, and then walked through the wooded area for a few minutes. Suddenly, in front of us was this amazing scene, of these falls (maybe 15-20 feet high). Maybe you’ve seen them?

    • I had not heard of High Falls before, Sash, and you’ve aroused my curiosity. When the nice weather comes back I shall inquire as to it’s more exact whereabouts and – take the proverbial hike!

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