Friday, 9:30AM, I am waiting for Grégory on the parking lot next to a supermarket. Today, I am their hitchhiker. We are leaving for a weekend canoeing the Loire. Their van stops, I jump in, let’s get on the road. A few hours on the road leave us space to talk about a lot of things. A quick stop by Grégory’s parents to drop the family. Time to go pick up Jérémy at the railway station. We have to hunt some pizzas and a spot for the night. We stop next to a pond missing an amazing light by a few minutes.
This first night is all about simplicity. a good simple meal, a nice spot and great discussions. A first blue hour, a few shots and a lot of laughs. We get in our sleeping bags early to be awake at sunrise. Time to turn off the lights.
We are already awake a bit before sunrise. A first golden hour’s shot and on our way to the basecamp of destination H2o. The basecamp is a cool small beach, a lake and a few tipis getting built. The tipis are built and unbuilt everytime those are needed. They have small and larger tipis and they mount only what is needed. This weekend, the setup is for a bachelor party, a giant escape game is ready for them. And us, we are waiting for the other people to arrive. The photo workshop is organized by Captain Yvon, Grégory et Jérémy. The group is cool, half women, half men, beginners and confirmed.
We load the canoes with the bags on the truck. Bags are in drybags. We lock the canoes and are on our way to the river. A few instructions given by our guide, Joris. Now, It is time to get in the water. I am at the back and guiding the canoe. It ain’t easy for me at first. We hit the borders a few time. But it gives us a good laugh. Aurélie is fine with it. We will get better quickly.
The river is really amazing. It is still quite wild and we won’t see a lot of houses or people around. Sometimes it is larger than 10 meters. During those times, I am more at ease to avoid hitting the border. When it is way tighter, I still hit those sometimes. I was scared of deep waters but once in the water, I realized it is not that bad and I often see the sand at the bottom of the river. And even if I don’t see it, I feel way better. Figthing your fears feels good.
Time to get the tipi up. We carried all the food, sleeping bags and tipi in our canoes. You can have up to 400kg per boat. Having the tipi ready is easy and fast. Time to get the fire heating all of us. We chat, the workshop continues around good discussions. It doesn’t feel like a lesson and more like sharing experiences. The mix of workshop and microadventure is really a good fit for me. It is golden hour o’clock. Joris acts as a model for us. Blue hour follows and our model becomes our cook. A really nice meal is served and we laugh around the fire. Chatting around the flames til we get to our bags.
During the night, I realise that my sleeping bag is too cold. I should invest in a warmer one. Lesson learned. This is a bad night but not the worst. Early awake, we bring the fire back. I wasn’t the only one not ready for this. Top breakfast before packing and leaving. We have a quiet paddle time to the end of this trip. It was a really great weekend full of memories and new folks. Hopefuly some good shots too. Thanks Captain Yvon.