canoeing the st.marys river in may

The last time I went camping, it was 1984. I have been to music festivals, done some RV trips, but the last time I slept in a tent and cooked my food on an open fire was 22 years ago.

The May long weekend here in Canada (known as Victoria Day weekend), myself, my husband, my sister, her boyrfriend, my brother, his girlfriend and one other great couple looked at the weather and decided we should make the 2.5hr trip from Halifax to Smithfield, where you will find St.Mary's Riverside lots.

We left Saturday morning. My hubby and I took the pickup loaded with tents, chainsaws, coolers, camping chairs, a GENERATOR LOL!, branch trimmers, canoes, paddles, a whole bunch of other stuff we thought we might need and hit the road.

Sarah and her man took the opportunity to get the bike out, it was a perfect day for motorcycle ride. We all met up at exit 25 on the 104 HWY. We loaded up with ice and fishing licenses at the local gas station and started our journey into the outback of Guysborough County. The roads for the most part are smooth. There are definitely some rough patches on HWY 348, but that's the nature of things when you head out into the wilderness. In the winter you might want 4 wheel drive, but 8 months out of the year even a small hatch back will get you there.

Dave and I were the first to arrive a the St.Mary's Riverside lots. There was some minor winter kill that we chunked up with the chainsaw clearing lot 12 access for the incoming crew. Within 30 mins we found ourselves riverside, the temp was 26 degrees C. The sun was shinning and by the grace of god we had a steady 20kms breeze which kept the black flies from a full on assault.

After about 2 minutes of taking in the river, it was "Operation Canoe". We had two canoes, so we would make two trips with one couple per boat. I think we just threw all the gear out of the pick up and loaded 'er up with the canoes, paddles, life jackets, some beer and ciders. Dave, Chris, Amanda and I went first.

An easy 'put in'for canoes and kayaks is about 5kms up river from the property, just before the lower Caledonia bridge. We had Sarah and her man drop us off so that we could end our trip at lot 12 on the St.Mary's Riverside Property.

The moment we pushed off the banks, a calm came over me. When I glanced back at David, I could see the calm had reached him too. Ahead Christopher and Amanda just sat, didn't paddle, let the river take them down for the first few hundred feet. By the time we caught up to them their smiles looked different. There was serenity in their faces. If there is one thing canoeing this river will do for you, is bring a sense of ease back into your life. We all have so much to keep up with, so much to do with so little time. I needed a break from it all and the St.Mary's River made that happen, not just for me, but everyone on that beautiful long weekend in May.

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