The Paddler ezine Issue 33 Winter 2016/17 Canoe cover - Page 156

ThePADDLER 154 Preparing for allergic reactions and other medical emergencies was Lars and Suzi’s responsibility. We had adrenalin pens and antihistamine tablets ready for just such an emergency, but at Slavens we were surrounded by Rangers and Park Police. Suzi couldn’t have chosen a better place in the wilds to get stung. We were prepared for this and more. But as the summer days shifted into fall, and the leaves on the trees began to droop and the temperature dropped, we realised that the Bering Sea was beyond what was fun for this particular adventure. You can read more stories about our Yukon River Family Expedition on and at Paddling with children must be fun. There must also, apparently, be mud, or something like it. Liva and Tiuri were expert at making the most of every sand bank and gravel bar we passed or pitched our tents on. Tiuri invented games and took photos of moose and their calves, while Liva measured animal tracks in the sand, her tiny palms dwarfed by wolf prints. The kids took their turn with small chores, leaving the heavy lifting to the adults. When we lashed the canoes together as a raft they crawled between them. When the canoes were close but separate, Tiuri built his own tiny raft with his father to send goodies between the two canoes. There was always something to do, even homework, and the kids would often read a chapter as we paddled downriver, burning the pages on the fire at the end of each day. Jane and I got off the water in Tanana. Lars, Suzi and the kids continued as far as Galena, paddling with a German family with two small children, half Tiuri’s age. Before we split into two, we paddled for a few days as one large group of three canoes, six adults and four children, with not another soul in sight, and many kilometres between one remote village and the next. This was adventurous parenting at its best. Pitching camp and preparing food surrounded by bear and wolf prints is, quite likely, beyond the comfort zone of a lot of parents. But the Call of the Wild beckons to all who choose to listen. A quick search of the Internet reveals that more and more families choose to answer that call, and on the rivers and in the wild places of this world you will find more and more children of the wild and the parents that follow them.