Once upon a time I applied to be the woods explorer. It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was really only about 6 months ago. My application video was different than pretty much every one that I’d seen and I was hopeful this would make me stand out and have a better chance of being picked. Instead of listing all the reasons why they should pick me, I tried to show them, that I was product savvy and could sell their brand and explore while doing it! To me, that is what they wanted and I honestly believed I had a good chance of being picked! Until I saw the other videos on You Tube… lol.

The job description was to explore the Trans Canada Trail  for five months during the summer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t picked along with over 3800 other Canadians. Even though I didn’t get the job, applying for it totally changed my way of thinking and my life! Below is the video that was posted by Woods advertising their dream job.  I watch it today and still get goosebumps!

I followed the #WoodsExplorers along with a few others who were very dedicated to their journey. I believed in what they were doing overall, helping to promote the TransCanada trail so that in the year 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday, the country of  canada could be connected via the Trans Canada Trail!  I decided that I could help them in their journey,  even though I wasn’t picked to be a woods explorer and I could also adventure as much as I wanted to.  I didn’t need to actually get the job to do what I wanted to do… right?   The more I watched the explorers, the more inspired I got with my own adventures.

One particular explorer, Melba Seto was someone who I constantly connected with. She was a real human and funny and communicated well with the followers. Another person following their adventures closely was someone who I believe had a good chance of winning the position as well, my now friend, Karen Simpson.

Karen and I were both inspired by the explorers, and in turn, we did our best to inspire them back. Sadly not everyone is the nicest person on the earth and there were always comments in the mix that shouldn’t have been there. People who didn’t really understand what was going on, or just wanting to be difficult, so Karen, myself,  and a few others did our best to offset those comments as best we could. “Inspiration is cyclical” … Melba Seto

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Woods Canada noticed our contributions and one day early in July,  I received a direct message on my twitter,  @camperchristina thanking me for my contributions to the #woodsexplorer campaign and advising me that they would be sending me and my mom a limited edition shirt.  I was delighted, as was my mom. The shirts arrived and I took what they meant very seriously.  Being an honorary Woods Explorer, I did my best to promote the TCT just like the real explorers did, currently I’ve posted 8 blog posts on sections of the TCT I’ve done, proudly wearing my shirt on every one of them.  My mom joined me on as many as she could and I used social media to do my best to promote the TCT and Woods along the way!

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My 70 year old mom who I've coerced into camping and adventuring with me!

My 70 year old mom who I’ve coerced into camping and adventuring with me!

Karen and her partner Jeff, also received a set of shirts for their contributions to the campaign.  Karen’s a Mountaineer,  a marathoner, a mom, a business woman, a storyteller,  an outdoors person, someone who loves nature & so much more !  Somehow between all our communications with the explorers, we started communicating with each other as well. There’s nothing like like-minded people getting together to inspire each other further, right? Especially if that other person is a strong successful Independent woman with similar interests who only lives an hour away!


We both started blogs  and did a lot of adventuring throughout the summer, not letting not being picked for the job stop us from doing what we loved. We joked back-and-forth about how one day we would meet and hike the Trans Canada Trail together or go camping for the weekend and well, now that day has come!

Upon chatting one day on Facebook, I realized I had a free weekend in October and Karen suggested I come visit her and her partner/chef Jeff, further referred to as ‘Cheffrey”  in the Kawarthas, at their property. I was delighted and totally excited! How could I refuse meeting the great Karengeterdone !

The plans were made. I’d head up early Saturday morning and visit until Sunday evening. I could not wait with the promise of good food , great company & lots of outdoor adventure opportunities, who could? Not to mention the cool stories we would share!

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I set out at 430am, deciding not to bring my awesome little kayak as Karen had 2 at the property to use.  The drive was great and I arrived bright and early at 8:20 am,  just in time for a delicious breakfast made by Cheffrey! What a treat!


Breakfast was toasted ciabatta bread, fresh salmon, over easy eggs and a bit of pesto on top. SOOO delicious.  On the side we had tomato slices with aged white canadian cheddar melted on them.  I was in heaven.  We talked and got to know each other better and I learned all about their property, Bella Vita, that they had been working on for 5 years now.  It wasn’t a cottage, but they weren’t camping either.  What they were doing, was a different kind of camping, and I totally loved the idea of it all! I got a tour after we ate and was delighted at what I saw. The property was magnificent and I was so excited to be in a place with people who valued nature as much as I did. They cut down only the trees that needed to be cut and used all the wood and scraps on the property to build things.  It was quite incredible, but that story is for another post, by another blogger to share.  This story is about my weekend adventures with my honorary woods explorer, Karen, and adventure, we did!

We prepared to go out for a paddle on the little lake that Karen’s property is on.  Melba had sent a message wishing us a nice weekend and I thought it’d be fun to FaceTime her from the dock, so we did. We had a lovely chat, showed her the lake via iPhone, said hi to Adam and shared a few laughs before saying goodbye and starting on our paddle.  She was such a cool person and Karen and I chatted about the Woods Explorers and their adventure and how it affected us and our lives while we paddled.

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The colours on the trees were very beautiful. They were not 100% fall colours, I believe the website said about 50 actually, but they were still very pretty.  Karen took me to an island that she had been telling me about to show it to me.  I had told her that I intended to do a photo shoot this weekend for all of my platforms to have the same profile and cover photos for CamperChristina.com and she had thought this island would be perfect! She was right! We took a few test shots deciding to come back later when the sun had moved a bit higher with my tent and other props we would need for the pictures. We headed back to the dock for our next adventure! Testing out the Go Girl! You can check out my post on it here .


After our Go Girl testing, we decided that we would go back out to the island to do my photo shoot, as the weather was to turn later on, and it had already started. Karen was such a sweetheart! She had even brought a box full of apparel for me to use, bright garments that would pop in the photos. What a thoughtful and amazing person!  I settled on a royal blue jacket that went with my chair and my tent. It was bright enough to pop but also one of my logo colours (to be) green and blue, so I thought it would work perfectly.  We jumped back in the kayaks with all my gear and headed to the tiny island to set up the tent, chair, etc, for the photo shoot. The wind had picked up and it was really hard to get the tent staked, but I got it done eventually and karen paddled around me taking a ridiculous amount of photos.  Again. such an awesome person to help me do this upon just meeting me!

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I eventually settled on these two photos that you now see on all my platforms, facebook, my blog here, Instagram and my new Google Plus which is still a huge work in progress.

I took the tent down, put the chair in the bag and packed everything up in the kayak and Karen and I headed back to the dock. We changed our clothes and decided to head out to do some geocaching, which is something I have never done and was very anxious to do.  We had seen all of the #woodsexplorers do it during their 5 month journey and it intrigued me.

First, we had a lovely lunch made by Cheffrey, Grilled Ciabbatta bread with chicken salad, tomato and melted cheese! It was so good!  Thanks Cheffrey for another amazing meal! I was definitely going to gain some weight this weekend, but the food was so good, I didn’t care!


Our first geocache was a bit of a disappointment as we didn’t find it. I was really upset as I was so excited to find something and no matter how hard we looked, we came up with nothing.  Karen decided we should put the outcome of our search on the app and move on, so we did. We went to the second one and found it after a bit of searching and that made me happy!


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The third geocache was very successful also. We found it really quickly and then decided that we were both freezing so we would head back to the property, add some layers, and go from there.

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Upon our return to Bella Vita, Karen and I decided to get a fire going as it was getting colder and the wind was picking up as well.  I asked if she wanted to use my flint and she said she had her own. She hadn’t used it in a long time and was very anxious to geterdone!  We must’ve sat there for 15 minutes flicking our sparks on the magnesium and tinder and wanted to quit several times, but Karen is very persistent and does not give up.  Finally we got the fire started and we were both so happy that we’d kept trying!

We made some drinks to sip and Cheffrey joined us for some good conversation! We sat down by the lake for a great view of the sun going down, and then headed back to the fire to warm up while Cheffrey got our dinner started. I wanted to help but there was no luck there, Cheffrey was a solo chef, so Karen and I talked and waited for our next gourmet meal to be prepared.

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Our dinner was awesome! Diced sweet potatoes, asparagus and steak. AMAZING!!! Karen actually checked a Facebook album where I liked food pics to see which ones I liked to make something I would really enjoy. Super thoughtful and wonderful and she hit the nail right on the head!


After dinner we cleaned up, well, as much as they would let me help.  We sat by the fire sharing adventure stories and having lots of laughs.  Around 11pm we were all very tired so we called it a night and went to sleep.  What a great day of adventuring, amazing company and delicious food!

I woke up at 6ish and got ready to go for our sunrise paddle. I went to the washroom, changed and headed to the dock to find Karen sitting on a chair by the lake, wrapped in a blanket (it was about 3 degrees), ready and waiting for me.  We jumped in the kayaks, still dark, and headed to where the sun would be coming up, if the clouds permitted it.

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Waking up at dusk has its benefits! The sky was absolutely break taking, full of pinks and purples. We sat in the bay taking photos for about ten minutes. One minute it looked like the above, the next, like below:

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The sun never rose that we could see. The sky changed completely in seconds and the sunrise was over before it started.  Just goes to show you, what can pass you by in a matter of minutes! I was so grateful we’d gotten up out of our cozy sleeping bags to see the beautiful pre sunrise!

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We paddled around the lake for about an hour checking out the fall colours and how much they’d changed since only yesterday.

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After a bit we decided to head back for some breakfast. It was chilly, and we were ready for some warm food! Cheffrey was on it and cooked us up some delicious eggs and sausages. We devised the plan of the rest of the day.  We would do some cleanup, a bit of social media catch-up, a #woodsexplorer photo shoot, have some lunch and then head out around 2 or 3pm to beat the traffic home.

Here are a few of my favourites from our photo shoot!

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After our photo shoot Cheffrey made us another tasty lunch, barbecued chicken breast with a salad Karen had made.  Both super yummy!


We packed up all of our stuff and I helped Karen and Cheffrey clean up, pack up, etc.  We took a few more pics and said our goodbyes and headed on our way back to our respective homes, excited for another adventure soon!


Honorary Woods Explorers out!

Thanks so much for reading my post. I hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions, concerns or comments please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!

Camper Christina