Sorry all – we took another hiatus from the blog!\. Our hands have been a little fuller than usual the past few months. Introducing the culprit who’s stolen our attention since March – the newest member of our family – Theodore aka Teddy Handfield!
Over Christmas, Antoine and I decided we were ready to welcome a dog into our new home. We settled on the whoodle breed – a mix between his favourite poodle and my ideal wheaten terrier. We spent the start of 2019 puppy proofing our new home in preparation for his arrival in the spring. From mid-March onwards, we were wrapped around his little paw, trying to train our little bundle of fur to be an upstanding canine citizen. Positive reinforcement, visits with friends and other dogs, puppy kindergarten classes, and the book Training the Best Dog Ever helped us immensely with this!
We also socialized Teddy in our canoe, following the instructions in an aptly released new video by one of our favourite outdoorsman Joe Robinet. Teddy learned that the canoe was fun and safe on dry land in our backyard, before taking him on the water for the first time at Meech Lake in mid-May.
A big part of Teddy’s training has been introducing him to fun, new experiences. We hoped that Teddy would become our hiking, canoeing, road tripping companion, and this meant we needed to bring him along on all kinds of adventures. We started small, with daily drives around town and visits to friends’ homes. Once Teddy was fully vaccinated, we were able to introduce him to the world of hiking, taking forest walks in the ravine behind our home, trekking Green’s Creek Conservation Area and jogging along the Ottawa River parkway.
His love for the outdoors led to more adventures! We’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that most parks and trails in Ontario are pet-friendly, so long as dogs are on a leash. Teddy also does really well off-leash, so finding spots like Conroy Pit in Ottawa or off-the-beaten trail hikes are a plus. Here’s a quick overview of some of the spots we’ve camped and visited with Teddy in May and June.
Thousand Islands National Park
On May long weekend, we camped with a group of 8 at sites #7 and #8 on Aubrey Island in Thousand Islands National Park. Aubrey Island is approximately 5 kms from the Gananoque marina. It was an easy paddle through cottage country along the St. Lawrence River. We lucked out in terms of bugs; the cool spring temperatures meant they hadn’t hatched yet and didn’t plague us as per usual for past May long weekends. But unfortunately the weather did not fully cooperate; we had to cut our trip short after one night due to severe thunderstorm warnings.
Teddy did so well on his first big canoe trip; even dipping his toes into the chilly St. Lawrence. We were so excited to introduce him to the world of swimming next!
Driftwood Provincial Park
For Father’s Day 2019, we decided to take our first long roadtrip with Teddy to Sault Ste. Marie. Since it was Teddy’s first lengthy car ride, we chose to break the drive up into two with a night at Driftwood Provincial Park. Approximately 3.5 hours from Ottawa, we’d driven by this provincial park countless times en route to the Sault, but had never stopped. We stayed at site #42, directly on the beach, in the middle of monsoon rains. My hand hovered over the “book” button on a hotel in North Bay numerous times on the drive, but in the end we’re happy we stayed and discovered what a nice park this is. The downpour let up for about an hour which allowed us to set up our tent and take Teddy for a walk along the Ottawa River and through the forest. He got his beach zoomies out, and even went for a swim. Mmm how we love wet dog in a tent!
The beach at Driftwood Provincial Park is not open to dogs, but the place was empty due to the weather and our Thursday night arrival. We took advantage, but realize it would be less fun for Teddy should we return in the future. Driftwood looks like a great option for embarking on a canoe trip down the Ottawa River. Next time perhaps!
Chutes Provincial Park
On our way to the Sault, we happened to stop in at Chutes Provincial Park in Massey, Ontario as Teddy was in dire need of a potty break. Who knew this little gem of a park existed?! The park is home to gorgeous falls, well treed campsites, a dog friendly beach and fenced exercise area for pooches. We decided we’d extend our return trip by a day to break up the drive back to Ottawa, and planned a stay at Chutes for one night. We chose campsite #91 which offered ample privacy and sounds of the falls. Teddy was becoming a big fan of camping in the tent!
Crown Land Canoeing – White Lake and Ottie Lake
In June, we also snuck in two canoeing adventures on White Lake and Ottie Lake once the weather warmed up. These lakes are approximately 1.5 hours from Ottawa and have crown land islands and shoreline, so we were able to swim and enjoy a picnic lunch. By this time, Teddy had become really comfortable in the canoe, and he’s turned into quite the water dog. We love being able to get away for quick day trips to nearby lakes.
If anyone has suggestions for canoeing or hiking spots near Ottawa, let us know in the comments! 🙂
In July, we’re on the road again for three weeks of vacation. We’ll be back blogging about those adventures soon! Thanks for following along.
Liz, Antoine & Teddy