While most paddling families dream about weekends or a blessed week of family adventure, Dan Clark and Alice Young Clark are busy mapping the put-ins and take-outs for family paddles that are thousands of kilometers, and several months, apart. While most are concerned with how many nappies to bring and how to keep the kids from throwing the new camera in the water out of sheer boredom, Dan, Alice, Koby, age five, and three-year-old Ava Fei, are likely weeks into the blissful and timeless routine of a long—and I mean really long—family canoe trip.
With summer family canoe trips under their belt that include the coast of Alaska and a month on the Yukon River, the family decided to bite off something more substantial last summer: a 3,400-kilometer, three-month family canoe journey from Jasper, Alberta, to the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. In addition to paddling, cooking, route planning and parenting, Dan documented the family adventure in an award-winning, 14-minute film, titled Have Kids, Will Paddle.
“We go on wilderness trips to escape our civilized world, to strengthen our family bonds and to get grounded in nature,” explains a wild-blooded but mild-mannered Clark.
“We appreciate the opportunity to live in the moment, enjoying a simple existence as a family. In the uninterrupted time together we delight in the solitude of wild spaces, the opportunity for creative outdoor play and the ability to live outside, amidst the rhythms of nature.”