Rideau River rapids!

Three and a half years. That’s how long I’ve been working as a writer at Carleton University — and how long I’ve been looking at the rapids on the Rideau River, just upstream from the O-Train bridge, thinking about taking a run at them on my paddleboard. It doesn’t help (or hurt, depending on your…

Paddling the Northwest Passage

In July 2019, Karl Kruger will embark on an unprecedented journey: a solo expedition through the Northwest Passage on a stand-up paddleboard. He will encounter unpredictable ice and weather, as well as intense isolation and the risk of polar bear encounters during roughly two months of travel in one of the most remote regions on the…

Paddling Newfoundland

Stand-up paddleboarding is usually associated with places defined by warm waters. Like, say, Belize. Newfoundland, where the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast soars to a summer average of about 12°C (and a balmy 15°C or so off the west coast), is not one of these places. My trip to the island a couple weeks ago…

Summer paddling

For those of you who don’t live in Canada and/or don’t recognize the iconic building in this photo, it’s the back of the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. I’m on the choppy waters of the Ottawa River, riding the wakes of power boats and cooling off with frequent swims amid an early summer heat wave.…

Walking, paddling & driving in Scotland

The narrow highway is flanked by a pair of mist-shrouded mountains. Hairpin turns descend to the head of a long freshwater loch. As we pull over to behold the view down the glen, sunlight glistens off a rainbow and the soaring drone of bagpipes comes on the radio, which is tuned to BBC Gaelic, one…

River race

I’ve always been a solo traveller. Whether walking, running, cross-country skiing or paddling, I typically prefer being out in nature alone with my thoughts. As the English novelist and journalist Will Self once said, “I walk in order to somatically medicate myself against the psychosis of contemporary urban living.” Ditto, for me, for other forms…

Spring paddling lessons, part II

After last weekend’s cold immersion into the new paddling season, my second outing of the spring — a post-work, pre-storm run down the Rideau River from my office in the Canada-India Centre on the campus of Carleton University to Stanley Park in New Edinburgh — was a little more successful. It started with a blessing…

Spring paddling lessons

I talked to the wind last weekend. And learned a couple of important lessons, too. But before we get to those, let me backtrack a few weeks, when I went to Ottawa’s top paddling shop, Trailhead Paddle Shack, and I picked up a new 12-foot, 6-inch inflatable touring stand-up paddleboard from Starboard. Eager to try my…