John: I grew up in suburban Toronto but I knew from an early age that I was destined to take the road less travelled. I studied geology at the University of Western Ontario and made my first trip to the Barren Lands as a student geologist in the summer of 1970. I met Kate while travelling across Africa from Tunisia to Kenya in 1972. She was an Australian registered nurse and midwife. I returned to Canada and she to Australia but we kept in touch. Those were the days when an international phone call cost $20 for three minutes and e-mail wasn’t even on the horizon so it was old fashioned pen and paper!
Upon return to Canada I embarked on a commercial helicopter pilot’s licence. I had completed about 350 hours flying and just secured my first job based in Calgary when I was involved in a serious car accident. It left me on crutches for 18 months. I got a desk job as a geologist with The Ontario Department of Mines. Meanwhile Kate had secured permanent residency in Canada and a nursing job in Regina, Saskatchewan. She arrived in Toronto in May 1975 but didn’t stay long in Saskatchewan. We were married in Toronto in January 1976 (me still on crutches).
In April 1976 we drove to La Ronge Saskatchewan in our battered VW Beetle. I got work there as a geologist, Kate worked in the hospital as a nurse. Our two daughters were born there. Since 1980 our home has been in Western Australia. We now live on the south coast in Albany.
Kate : Though I have always had a desire to travel ‘off the beaten track’ as evidenced by my meeting John in Africa, my first canoeing experience whilst living in La Ronge sowed the seeds which eventually grew into the trips described on this website. Like so many young people raising a family, work and study got in the way and left us little time for such adventures. However, the Saskatchewan wilderness left its mark on us and when we retired at sixty there was no stopping us. Since then we have had the opportunity and time to explore the outback of our amazing state of Western Australia, go hiking in Spain, Scotland, Tasmania and locally on both the Cape to Cape and Bibbulmun Track, but perhaps our most rewarding experiences have been canoeing in Northern Saskatchewan and the Nunavut. It is my fervent hope that my journals which form the base of this site will inspire our four wonderful grandchildren to one day be inspired to experience the magic of wilderness.