By Athlete Ambassador Brad Jennings of Explore the Backountry
Always keen to paddle into the past, I spend a great deal of time researching long abandoned canoe routes, some of which were potentially travelled by my distant ancestors. Paddling is in my blood, as a Métis, my forbearers were some of the first peoples to explore the vast nation of Canada by canoe. Call it a historical longing, but I’m drawn to the waters to probe their mysteries by canoe or kayak.
Of course, these days we trip with modern amenities; the lightest tents, stoves, clothes and canoes, a far cry from the ‘gear‘ my ancestors touted. For our current expeditions, we attempt to venture far off the known trail and explore ‘lost‘ or never/seldom paddled routes. We never know what we’ll encounter on such adventures. On one such occasion, we ‘discovered‘ and named 3 undocumented waterfalls on a first recorded descent of an Ontario river. While such magnificent cascades were undoubtedly known to the first peoples of the region, they were unknown on any modern maps.
As we bushwhack, cut portages and paddle from sunup to sundown, we burn a lot of calories. The paddlers of yesteryear relied on pemmican, a mixture of animal fat and berries, as their high calorie, high nutrition food of choice. Thankfully, us modern-day explorers have a greater selection of fuel choices at hand that are both appetizing and nutritional.
Current go-to’s by Hammer include:
Endurolytes Fizz – This delivers two noticeable advantages to paddle-sport adventurers. The first; to replenish electrolytes lost on that grueling bushwhack portage or pushing through headwinds on a large lake and the second; to eliminate the terrible boiled water or treated (iodine/chlorine tab) aftertaste. A double win!
Hammer Gel – When you have a canoe on your head, a laden pack on your back and are being pestered by hordes of bloodthirsty insects, you don’t necessarily want to take a fuel break mid-portage. A quick mid-trail energy hit, Hammer Gels provide a virtually hands free, on-the-go energy source. Further, with only a trace of sugar, it doesn’t set off wild insulin spikes causing sugar highs and associated crashes so you can push through to the lake or river – and away from the bugs!! My favourite is the Espresso, which contains caffeine, ideal to keep me alert and awake, especially considering the mornings’ instant coffee often doesn’t cut it.
Perpeptuem – This is something I’m just getting into and really noticing the benefits. Easily dissolvable in water, this endurance fuel packs carbohydrates, proteins and fats preventing against muscle fatigue and providing consistent, reliable energy on water or trail. As a bonus, it tastes great and also rids your water of the aforementioned ‘treated taste! Adventurers know that it can be hard to pack foods and fuels which deliver an adequate form of lasting energy as many such items need to be freeze dried, dehydrated or simply won’t keep in extreme environments. It can be especially difficult to find such a product in a lightweight form. So, to save weight (a godsend on the most strenuous of expeditions), and to deliver long-lasting energy on grueling days out, check out Perpetuem!
We’ve come a long way from the pemmican of our forefathers!