Sponsored Content

Insight from outside: Hiking with the Cottage Coach

Every cottager knows that time in nature does wonders for stress, but somehow, Adam Holman, aka the Cottage Coach, always finds ways to make a simple hike as challenging as possible. But while he loves being in the back-country with a canoe on his shoulders, he’s learned the hard way never to head into the bush without the help of OFF!® Deep Woods® Insect Repellent. Join as we lace up our hiking boots and head out on the trail with Adam to see what else he’s learned in the woods.

Every hike with my son is a teaching opportunity. We talk about where we’re going, we plot it on a map, we use the GPS together, and we sometimes even mark trees so we don’t get lost. We also investigate the tracks we find along the way, so we learn about what animals are in the area.

On our cottage hikes, we find scat everywhere. Rabbits, bears, moose—they all share those areas with us. It always reminds me that it’s not just us there, and animals use those trails too. They don’t just wander through the bush. They take the easiest way possible, just like us.

Manitoulin Island’s Cup and Saucer Trail is one of the coolest hikes I’ve ever done. It ended at an incredible lookout point, and I got some stunning footage. I’ll never forget that view.

The chance that I could come across a spot that no one else has ever seen or where no one else has ever been is such a powerful pull for me. It drives me deeper and deeper into the backcountry.

Wherever you hike, your goal should be to leave the area in the same state you found it. I never leave anything behind, because I want the next people who experience that wilderness to have the same feeling I had when I showed up.

Any time I’m up north in the bush and I see a moose, it blows my mind. So few people get to see them in real life, so it’s always a moment of “wow, they really do exist!” But I’ve still never seen a bull moose.

The best hike for me is with a canoe on my shoulders, exploring Algonquin Park. Once I was on a canoe trip there, and I came around a bend and saw a moose standing in shallow water, about 50 feet away. It’s one of my favourite memories.

I love the challenge of portaging. I enjoy a simple hike on a trail, but packing everything you’ll need for five days in a bag on your back, and then adding a canoe as a hat as you walk through a back-country trail—there’s something special there. And doing it with friends or family as a team, knowing that you all have to get through it together, makes it that much more special.  

The biggest hiking discovery I’ve made in the past few years has been waterproof socks. Whenever I have to get my feet wet, they keep my toes dry. And somehow they still let my feet breathe. I don’t know how they work, but I’m happy someone figured it out.

One portage that I’ll always remember was on a guys’ trip on a back-country route. We got to the portage, and it was all washed out. There was no way we could walk through it, so we had to find logs and bring them over to make a bridge. That part of hiking—the problem-solving to get around obstacles—is my favourite.

You have to be ready for anything when you’re deep in the woods, and that includes first aid. Once an experienced friend I was hiking with was chopping a damp log, and the axe slipped and cut him deeply. We were two days into the bush, and I had to butterfly-stitch it closed and wrap it on the trail. When we finished the trip three days later, he had already started to heal. To this day, he has almost no scar.

The bugs can be brutal in Algonquin. You don’t want to be there without repellent. I was there on a fishing trip, and we were portaging with all of our rods and a lot of weight, and I had to put everything down at one point. Somehow the hook on my rod got stuck in my arm, and I couldn’t move or set anything down. It was bad. I had to wait for my buddies to untangle me, and we were getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. We ended up having to cut my shirt off to pull the lure out. So now the rule is that all lures have to be removed during portages. And bring bug spray. Never again will I be without my OFF!® Deep Woods® Insect Repellent. It’s non-greasy, it doesn’t stain, and it uses DEET for up to eight hours of protection against mosquitoes, ticks, black flies, and deer flies.

Ready to embrace the outdoors this summer? Make the most of your time outside with OFF!® Deep Woods® Insect Repellent. Prevention is the best protection from mosquitoes.