From Lac du Bonnet to Kenora, a region known as Manitario, our crew was guided by a mysterious force known as "Marty". Like the Great and Powerful Oz or Dr. Claw, Marty made his presence known from a remote location.
Marty knows people. And he knows good people. He knows the Manitario region inside and out, and has friends and accomplices in every picturesque hamlet. No canoe tour is too small for Marty to call in favours for.
"From every dock there shall be shouts of support, and from every passing boat, at least a wave!" came his thunderous voice, commanding all of Manitario to obey.
Marty was always one step ahead of us, almost as if he could monitor our progress from space. He would send carrot-on-a-stick directions and contacts for his many friends in the area. He set us up for great encounters and we were amazed at how well his best laid plans turned out. As you'll see, foresight is Marty's best attribute.
How could Marty have known that when he sent us directions to his friend Travis Arnold's cabin on Lac du Bonnet, that we would end up meeting Laura Burn of Mint Printing, who donated business cards for the trip? Or that the rest of the Purves and friends crew were so much fun we had to stay two nights to make sure we used that wood stove sauna and indulged in late night Kraft Dinner. Did he know that after all that we would enjoy a pre-departure breakfast with Gerald, Karen and Dylan Arnold and take some delicious jam to go? We suspect so.
Did Marty set us up to be kidnapped by Party Pontoon Pirate Matt Bruce, a man who knows how to get things done? How did he plan the seamless transition from meeting to being held comfortable captive at Charlie Gibson's Gunn Lake Lodge? (The food poisoning from bad leftovers was our own doing). Did he realise that the entire under 30 crowd of Minaki would come out to meet us - the crazy paddlers who like lakes? We think so.
How did Marty arrange the timing of our crew's arrival at the Northern Harbour Marina to coincide with their annual fish fry? That we would be given tours of every boat in the marina by enthusiastic skippers? That 'Bossman' Gary Hall would be so excited to be our resupply and help us out he could hardly stand still on the dock? Did Marty know that the marina also held Big Lake Fiberglass, and its owner Chris would finally properly patch our boat? We think Marty knew what he was up to.
We would like to thank all of those who stepped up to show us the true spirit of Manitario. And to Marty, the man behind the curtain, whose invisible hand pointed us in the right direction.