Every year about this time I get super excited because I know that it’s almost time for the Outdoor Adventure Show! It is one of my favorite events of the entire year.   My first year attending was in 2016 with my mom, and last year was my second year attending.  It was last year that I said to myself, next year, I will be presenting here.

So, this year was extremely special to me because not only was I going to go to the show,  but this year I was asked to be a part of it. Yes! I would be presenting on the Paddling Adventures Stage at the Outdoor Adventure Show and I was super excited and could not wait.

Due to a nasty concussion I received just a few days into  2018, I had several moments where I was unsure I was going to be able to pull off my presentation.  I was ordered for weeks not to use a computer or any electronic devices,  followed by limited screen time which I am still adhering to at this time.  Anyone who has a blog or a YouTube channel or works on a computer all day for their job, could understand that this was quite a difficult feat for me.
After working for several hours every morning and then having to sleep to recharge my brain and get rid of the headache received from the mornings computer time,  I would scavenge any minutes that I was able to, to create my presentation and rehearse it.   It was extremely difficult because I would just get started on something and my head would force me to have to stop. (Same as writing these posts and creating videos, all things I love dearly). Eventually, I got my presentation done and it was almost time for me to present it at the show!
I made special arrangements to be able to speak first thing in the morning on Saturday. I left work early on Friday so I could drive to Toronto and then nap for three hours, just so I could go out and have dinner the night before, accompanied by my friend Sue from Sue’s Outdoor Crew.
We headed to bed early so I was well rested,  and at 9 AM the next morning we headed to The International Centre. I met up with Jon from Backcountry Custom Canoes outside the venue, along with my friends Sam and Shylo,  who drove up from Muskoka to help me photograph and film my presentation.
Once I got my pass from the lovely organizer, Mona, I headed to the stage to test out my audio and video and nervously awaited the audiences arrival.
All of the practicing I did seemed to help and my speech went off pretty much without issue.
After speaking to an awesome crowd, standing room only, I was delighted to be able to meet a lot of the people I have been communicating with over the past few years and get some photographs with them.
I was very happy with my presentation and even though my headache was already starting to creep in, I decided I was going to ride out the day as long as I could.  It was great to meet Heather finally from Exploration Project and visit for a few minutes with my friend Ben from Two Men and a Canoe. He makes great videos and did a quick interview with me as well.  Thanks Ben!
I was able to talk to so many wonderful people!  It was awesome! (thanks to Sam for the photos)
The people from Paddle Canada came by quickly to drop off a gift for me as well, which I thought was so kind.  I didn’t even get a chance to visit their booth, even though I use their website on a regular basis.  Thank you guys so much for the great gift!
After speaking to everyone that was waiting for me, I spent some time visiting with my mom, my brother and his girlfriend, and my friend Beth who I’ve known since grade school. I was truly grateful to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.
I spent some time walking around the show and visiting the various booths and seeing friends along the way, like my friend Ashley from Young Outdoors with her baby Nora.  Last year, Ashley accompanied me on my very first backcountry trip with the Tipi and unbeknownst to either of us, Nora was along for the trip as well!  This wee one has already winter camped!
At noon, I headed to the Best of Canada stage to see my friend Jim Baird who was speaking on winning Alone, Season Four.  He did amazing, as he always does on stage. I first met Jim last April at the KW symposium recently renamed the Ontario Backcountry Canoe Symposium.   I really enjoy hearing Jim speak. His presentations are always educational and extremely entertaining, as Jim is a very funny guy.
When Jims presentation was over I headed back to the paddling adventures stage to hear my friend Mike Ranta speaking about how to kill a bear with your bare hands. Yes, you read that right.  LOL.
He did a wonderful job and entertained the massive crowd that had gathered to see the man who had paddled across Canada solo three times along with his adorable dog Spitzii.
Once the presentation was over, it was time to visit some of my friends and vendors at the show.
I did an interview with my friend Zack Fiddis, The owner of Frontenac Outfitters which you can see in my YouTube video publishing Thursday. Zack has some beautiful boats for sale at his store, and also offers a variety of courses.  He has tons of information to help you pick the right gear, or outfit you for your next backcountry trip.
Next I stopped by to see my friends at the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre, where I received most of my training.  Dympna had come by right after my presentation to congratulate me on a job well done, but was busy helping people with their questions when I got to the booth. I was able to steal a few moments from my other coach James Roberts, who also owns Ontario Sea Kayak Centre, along with Dympna.  I managed to grab a quick interview with him that will be in my Day One Video.  If you haven’t had a moment to check out OSKC’s New website, you should take a peek. They offer lots of courses for all different levels of paddling, incredible trips, and host some pretty cool events for paddlers of all levels.
I next headed over to the Ontario Parks booth to finally meet my friend Sheila Wiebe.  Sheila is a wonderful person full of infectious enthusiasm and it was great to finally meet her in person.  Sheila spoke to my friend Sue and I about the new Ontario Parks Calendar and the celebrations planned for Algonquin‘s 125th birthday.  Her interview is one of the highlights of my Day One OAS video and this chat can not be explained in words.
A place  I am always excited to visit at the Outdoor Adventure Show, is the Algonquin Outfitters booth.  I managed to get a photo with Randy but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to interview him. Randy was incredibly busy helping people plan trips for the 2018 season, something he excels at as he is an expert on Algonquin Park. I heard he spoke to well over 1000 people throughout the weekend, handing out brochures, maps, and even selling a bit of gear.  Amazing!
While I was at the AO booth, I did manage to get a quick interview with Jeff and Deki, from Unlostify.  Their maps have just launched, and I wish them all the best in their new venture.  If you’re looking for a cool map for your next trip, check them out.  Currently they have maps available for Killarney, West French River, Kawartha Highlands and The Massasauga Provincial Park.
After taking a quick break for something to eat, and visiting with my friend Marissa who owns and operates See Sawyer Run, Sue and I attempted to check out Kevin Callan, The Happy Campers Presentation. Unfortunately, for us, the room he was presenting in was so packed we weren’t even able to get through the door to see it.  I heard it was awesome and did manage to get an interview with Kevin on Sunday, that you can see by clicking this link.
After not being able to get in to see Kevin‘s presentation, we ran into Brad Jennings and Leah Catherine from Explore the Backcountry. I managed to get a quick interview with the pair which will also be in my video.  Shortly after our chat, we got to see Brad and Leah’s presentation on Off the Beaten Path and Lost Canoe Routes. I thoroughly enjoyed their presentation, it was full of interesting information, and was very entertaining.  If you are ever able to get a chance to see Explore The Backcountry present, make a point to do so as they always give excellent presentations.  I also have some clips that will be in my upcoming  video.
As I am a new lover of Pook Toques, I had to make a point of stopping at their booth.  It was definitely one of the highlights of the day.  I was treated to an incredible demonstration of all the ways you can wear a Pook Toque. You will have to watch the video to see this performance! It was truly amazing and I am still in awe of the video I took.  Another one that you just have to see to believe.
I was very happy to steal a few moments with Leanne Hennessy who was helping out at the Happy Yak booth.  LEANNE has an excellent page called Live Love Get Outside.   Her and her partner just recently completed a 40 day trek of The Appalachian Trail where they exclusively used these meals. They are freeze dried, Canadian made lightweight meals for the backcountry.  They had samples for us to try and they were indeed very yummy.
As per every year, I drooled walking through, by, and around, the Swift booth. Every year it seems their canoes and kayaks are better, more durable, and more physically appealing.  I am always impressed with their new patterns, color schemes, and designs they come out with every year. I never stop at the Swift booth, I just walk away as fast as possible, wiping the drool from my chin and holding my credit card tightly. LOL
I was delighted to run into my friends Tony and Petula from Let’s Discover On. They have a wonderful blog full of awesome videos on all the great activities and adventures you can go on in the area.  Tony also posted a great little clip about my presentation and commented on the amount of people that came out to hear me speak,  which was used in my presentation video that I posted last week. Thanks for your continued support. Always so good to see you guys and catch up!
The next great vendor to check out was KIHD products.  I took a few minutes to chat with Ingo about their extremely popular stick stoves and the different types they offer for various ways to camp, each one offering a different price point making these stoves easily available for any budget. I picked up one of their stoves while visiting the booth and can’t wait to test it out for myself.  I also have a video clip from my time at the KIHD booth which you can find here.
The Parks Canada booth was busy helping visitors as always. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to speak to anyone there and eventually moved on to the falconry booth to take lots of cute pictures of the owl and falcon that were there.
Next to the falconry booth was a favourite of many  visitors at the show, Quick Wick, The worlds best firestarter. I have personally used these fire starters on my trips, and they do work incredibly well.
We stopped shortly after at the Kawartha Lakes Booth to have our pictures taken looking like fish.  I have presently only done a day trip to the Kawartha Highlands, but hope to do some back country camping there this year.
While roaming around, I was lucky enough to run into my friend Dave Johnstone, The Canoe Collector and got to take a quick photo. I was hoping to be able to spend some more time chatting with him, however, I didn’t get to see him again.  Dave has a great blog with some really entertaining posts. If you get a chance, check out his page!
I also ran into my friend Liz Clingman who is from the United States and visits Ontario to do camping and paddling trips. It’s always great to see her and get a chat in.
A day at the Outdoor Adventure Show wouldn’t be complete without visiting with my friend Sean Rowley from Paddling Adventures Radio. Although I unfortunately did not get an interview with Sean, I did get a photo. If you haven’t listened to their podcast, you should check it out! Once a week they post a radio show podcast on topics associated with different types of paddling,  and it’s a great listen!
It had been a very busy very long day, but I was so happy to be able to spend the entire day at the show, staying right until closing. Sue and I headed to the Beer Market, to meet up with some friends from the show. I stayed up way too late but did not have any alcohol in hopes that I wouldn’t feel too bad the next day and be able to attend the show for a few more hours before heading back to Muskoka.  I managed to do just that,  and will be posting Day Two of the Outdoor Adventure Show next week,  right here on my blog.
For some great interviews with some awesome outdoors people, please check out my YouTube video,  posting on my channel this Thursday!
I hope you enjoyed my post. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment or send a message.
Happy outdoorsing!
Camper Christina
Can’t wait to see the video? Click here to see it now!!!