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Wood Buffalo National Park, NWT

or, Up the creek without a paddle

Walking along a Toronto street one day I noticed a new split-pin on the sidewalk and picked it up. I’m lucky with that sort of thing. Serendipity smiles my way. The split-pin would come in handy to fix our son’s tricycle.

Two weeks later I was in the North West Territories directing a film for CBC at Wood Buffalo National Park, some miles out of Fort Smith. We were going downstream under power in a large freight canoe (a Montreal canoe) when – crash, churn, clunk – the prop hit gravel and spun off the drive-shaft. It took seconds to realize that we didn’t have a paddle in the boat, and we were way downstream from camp.

Wood-Buffalo-NP_Waldbison_98-07-02It’s when you stop moving that the black-flies home in. Four of us weren’t about to haul a freight canoe several miles upstream with bush on both banks and no portage trail. We managed to find the prop in the shallow water, but no split-pin until, lo and behold, I had my change-purse in my pocket, complete with the new pin from two time zones away. It fit fine, and it shoved us back upstream to camp.

RF / Serendipity / Summer 1975

P.S.: A tip from an unexpected source: ‘Allow for serendipity. It is the unexpected bonus that happens to you because you meet people you didn’t expect to meet’. Patricia Fripp