Loon Island Outdoors


Portaging the Canoe - A Rite of Passage - Algonquin Provincial Park

Rob Waywell - Loon Island OutdoorsHi and welcome to Loon Island Outdoors. My name is Rob Waywell and I'm the chief author and photographer for the site. I figured it was time I introduced myself properly.


I had the privilege to explore wide areas of Canada growing up. By the time I was 5 years old I was living in my 3rd province and I had been to every province but Newfoundland before I started high school. The year I finished Grade 6, I got to spend a month on a family trip from Edmonton, Alberta up the Alaska Highway to the Yukon, the Arctic Circle and, yes, Alaska. I finally made it to Newfoundland for my honeymoon but I still need to get to Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.


My canoeing career also started at a young age. I'm not entirely sure when I first paddled a canoe but I do know for sure that I was soloing by the time I was 4 years old. :-) Both my wife Wendy and I grew up with a good foundation in canoeing and camping skills both from our families and from Scouts and Guides. When we were getting ready to start taking our kids on backcountry canoe trips, we took time up update our skills and obtained our ORCKA Flatwater certifications. Since then I have added my Moving Water Level 1. We have also taken both basic and wilderness first aid courses over the years.


All of that exploring while I was growing up had a strong influence on me as I prepared for university. As a result, my first degree was a B.Sc. in Wildlife Biology (with honours) from the University of Guelph. While studying biology I got to spend one great summer at the Wildlife Research Station in Algonquin Provincial Park working on an Ecology project for Dr. John Fryxell. After graduating I spent a research season working on a study of Lyme Disease with Dr. Robin Lindsay who was working on his Ph.D. at the University of Guelph at that time. For a while it looked like my plan of working in an environmentally oriented job was going to happen, but in the end the search for stable employment led me down a different path.


Even though my professional career has taken me away from the fields of biology and environmental science, my love for the outdoors and exploration hasn't waned. Loon Island Outdoors is one way that I can share those passions and hopefully help to prove the value of protecting the natural areas that are such an important part of Canada.






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