Normally, towns and cities along the river are hidden by high banks cloaked in thick brush. Not knowing exactly where you are, it’s easy to miss civilization. Not so with Prince Albert. Staring up at condos, houses, pizza places and parks, I wondered what life was like not living out of a canoe. It was a short-lived but pleasant fantasy rudely interrupted by Jan hollering at some young folks in the bank who had noticed him passing by. Noticing me, they asked where we were headed.
The normal response to that question is not fit to print. I generally know what the next question is going to be and that the typical response to that is neither fit to print nor repeat. For proof, I offered to paddle over, let them look over Kai Nani and decide for themselves.
Doubts turned aside and eyebrows raised, question upon question came at me rapid fire. Not the usual ‘What do you eat?’ or ‘Do you sleep in the canoe?’ but more things like ‘What’s paddling like with the river so low?’ and ‘How are you picking your campsites?’.
We’ve seen and talked to precious few people actually on the river. Lots of folks near the river, but not on. Like their forebears, I suspect these young people were drawn to the river by the same forces that pushed and pulled at their ancestors. And like them, they had questions about the river and our travels on it. Insightful questions that had me feeling welcome and on some level kindred.
I hope to meet more people like these. Generations apart and culturally split, the river proved to be common, familiar ground. How much more Canadian can you get? How much more Canadian can you be?