• Watermark
    Muskoka River, ON - Malka Rozencwajg

Upon entering teendom.. I trekked along with a consortium of male youth— one or two ever eager to trip-up a girl traverser also upon a north of cultivated Upper Canada exploration through off-the-beaten-track terrain traversed via a group comprised fundamentally of urban dwellers. Two youth staff having experience with outward-bound terrain trekking accompanied our small party of 12-to-15-years trekkers: all in attendance including leaders were not yet 30years. Our trek ensued within the Muskokas through Group-of-7 canvas backdrop territory where we witnessed the chiselling effects made via receding glaciers of the past ice age less than a season after the snow of winter receded then our troupe partook with the aid of hefty locals in a spring rite involving dipping plastic garbage bags driven with nail piercings offering drainage in icy finger singeing swift-moving northern country streams teeming in spring's thaw with endless droves of smelt. How we over-gleaned though admittedly a portion of our bounteous booty ended flowing back through the top into the wading-depth waters surging near the shore— as did a couple of overenthusiastic poacher attemptees— Fortunately only the smelt ended swept beyond our reach! Afterwards all participants were taught how to prepare their booty for frying. How we ate! It served as an interesting lesson in anatomy too— definitely not the time to insist upon over-lady-alike cultivations!

When spring approached summer we sought to emulate backwoods voyageurs as our entourage coursed through a water system skirting Muskokas entailing portage and a be-tented overnight stay.. with a campfire breakfast then after we more easily routed to a junction point closer to find trappings of civilization via awaiting warm blankets hot cider and cars with heaters blaring...

Travelling through un-cottaged terrain unblemished via trappings of cultivation.. except the remains of past campfire pits dug past the wiry brush not afar of the shore. As our canoes incrementally diverged through turf our line of wayfarers sang and banged-out rhythms upon metal cups via cutlery grasped hanging from loops of our portagers knapsacks to take our mind away from the weight above our heads. We pitched tents upon less profuse with overgrowth sections past the generally inhospitable to picnicking brambly terrain nearby the bank yet we maintained caution to keep well aback of the edge of the heavy forest.. although I skirted just inside to envision the seldom seen rare beauty of orchids. At intervals along our way our way members of our sortie rang-out tunes familiar to the summer of love. Some of the boys attempted tapping-out Wipeout upon being told seasoned trekkers via hollering and assorted noise-making actions kept bears lurking in the wood aback. It must've worked— Our sortie saw not one fur-bearing creature upon our day-and-a-half trek— unfortunately.. nor much of other living wildlife throughout our off-the-beaten-track exploration— despite our collective of trekkers viewed remains of fur and porcupine quills in addition to deposits of fish scales.. likely attributable to raccoons washing their catch at the shoreline along with one episode of watching a solo beaver afar of the shoreline inside the edge of the forest zealously chiselling a recently felled tree.. clearly undaunted via our presence. Then a wind further along the river in a less-brambly more opportune sector our sortie leader chose to pull in to give our sortie a rest from oaring and to engage us in an investigative walkabout along with an open-air cooking lesson over a campfire after regarding tent-pitching techniques amongst inopportune terrain!

Via the utilization of newly-gleaned oaring manoeuvres through the ever swifter water.. attempting a waltz as our collective of canoes veered among the increasingly-tugging at spots whirlpools at odds with the river every canoe attempted to avert via vigorous gesticulating of varied-purpose oar-tips: Good thing the diverging then water levels remained mainly not above our heads through that section as a couple of our canoe members capsized! Regarding it all.. fortunately still dry at the bow of my troupe canoe.. at times needing to stay the vessel I incessantly paddled a figure-eight! Periodically craggy edges of boulders jutted-up from the face of the water's surface. Fortunately our consortium of canoes managed to avoid smashing into via quick-witted oaring manoeuvres although the increased rushing of the river as we traversed one river system via portage into another increasingly swifter— more drawing water by then a-swirl with random white peaks breaking the surface to even faster pre-summer river waters— to eventually manoeuvre through a descent via a staircase of rapids bringing our line of canoes.. pulled by that point without any way of turning back—

The group mindfully veered our collective of canoes through this craggy descent into a very still corridor— alike a neck— entry into an expansive lake! Fortunately all partakers remained intact! By then our envoy of entirely inexperienced youth-years voyageurs withdrew all oars.. not needing to use them.. allowing all wrists a break as we glided as though into a grande finale— via the neck of smooth ribbon of water.. drawn via some below-the-surface current— to enter a serene lake circumfrenced by heavily-treed forest and sparsely-dotted via small puffs of white clouds above.. blue sky.. as if guided—

Our group comprised of mainly concrete environment males who after a choppy descent glided into the smooth-surfaced corridor of water effortlessly— as if our reward! As our procession of canoes glided past the neck of black below the surface though serene smooth-surfaced rivulet flanked by sheer-faced rock cliffs leading high up towards their plateaus. We traversed too brief of a period of exhilaration through the placid ribbon of current-pulled water preceding an entry into the expanse of an less often traversed via the general populace.. lake. All our envoy remained quiet— clearly in collective awe.

Muskoka River, ON

Port Sydney, ON


Contributed By
Malka Rozencwajg

Collected By
Jessica Gordon

Watermarks are true stories about you and your connection to a body of water. By archiving your story, you add to a living record of our shared water heritage, protecting these waters for generations to come. So tell us: What is your watermark?