Monday, October 30, 2006

Canoeing Quote of the Day:

"Campsites are punctuation marks for a voyageur, signifying the end of the day . I may forget portages, rapids, and lakes, which merge into a bevulous montage of country traveled over, but there are some campsites that stand out vividly in my mind as special places to be remembered."

Sigurd F. Olson, Of Time and Place

Monday, October 23, 2006

Portaging = Pain

Let's face it. As Gerry and I learned last year, portaging really hurts. Whether you are carrying over from one lake to another or avoiding nasty rapids, each trail has some painful characteristic: slippery rocks, steep inclines, but-infested hollows, shoe sucking mud and wrong turns.

So why do it? Well it's one of those necessary evils that comes with canoe tripping. That brief moment of pain is the only thing standing in your way of absolute solitude. In the end, the moment you spot that bit of blue peaking through the thick canopy of green, and realize that you're alone in this wonderful place, it all becomes worth the price.

Quote of the Day:

"I always think rating rapids is sort of a silly thing, because if you tip
over in one, that's a five to you."

Robert Perkins, Talking to Angels

Friday, October 20, 2006

Our next Must Have: Clamp-on Yoke Pads

One of the things that came out of the post mortem after CC 2006 was that we wanted to make the canoe carries more comfortable. The distance of the portages was never a problem, but the pain from the yoke digging into our necks was and this was one of the big things we wanted to correct before CC 2007.

The solution was a basic yoke pad. Now my first thought was to buy one that was flat and would match the curves in the yoke, but these seemed nothing more then a piece of foam and we wanted something better.

After refining my google searches I stumbled across this canoe accessories site and knew that this was exactly what we have been looking for!

This is a sling type yoke pad (sold in pairs) that bolt on to the yoke and rest between your shoulder and neck. It is designed to wrap around the shoulder, spreading out the weight load over a much larger area, avoiding the painfull pressure points associated with an unpadded wood yoke.

Availablle in original or thick padding sizes, after discussing it with Gerry we decided to go with the original, as the thick looks like you would have to give up some balance for comfort.

The bolt on original size pad are $50 US/ pair....but will be worth there weight in gold next year if they are even half as good as they look.

Required Reading" The HAPPY Camper", by Kevin Callan

I read this book earlier this year and decided to take it out of the library again while there with the kids last weekend. I can not believe I had not posted this book here before, but for anyone that has not read it....get it! It is brimming with the stories, experiences and hands on how to's that only decades of experience can teach. All of this combined with Kevins humor make this by far the best book I have read on canoe trips to date.

Rating: 5 canoes (A Must have)

Full Review:

The Happy Camper and Essential Guide to Life in the Outdoors, by Kevin Callan

The Happy Camper is a comprehensive, heavily illustrated, highly entertaining compendium of basic wilderness instruction and well-tested campsite advice. One of North America's top canoeing and outdoors experts, Kevin Callan explains how to get the most from your camping experience--no matter where you pitch your tent, what you forgot to pack or what the weather.

Step-by-step, the book shows:

  • How to plan a trip for a day or even a few weeks
  • How to pack only what is needed
  • Choosing the perfect campsite
  • Using maps and compasses
  • Camp cooking
  • Camping with dogs and kids
  • Canoe and kayak camping
  • Cold-weather camping
  • How to beat the bugs, stake a tent, build a fire, ward off unwanted wildlife, paddle a canoe and much more.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"How far did you travel?"

The quote below can be found HERE and although it is a little long, in my opinion...this is why we love Algonquin...

Looking up, I saw another canoe approaching the
landing near where I had dropped my borrowed Duluth sack and "loose" gear. I was
stretching my body and mind before the paddle back to the links with the "other
world". Lost in thought, feeling the excitement of nearly completing my first
solo wilderness canoe trip, I don't remember my answer.

I know now that I had traveled "farther" than at any other time in my life
but not because of the distance paddled and walked. While planning this trip I
must admit that the measurement of distance using rubber bands, string and a map
wheel was almost ritualistic. Yet by the time I reached that landing on my last
day, I no longer measured distance in miles or portage trails over which I had
to carry my canoe and gear from lake to lake or around rapids too difficult to

Each of us face life that is somehow defined for us by others or by other
factors. Sometimes those definitions are enhancements while at other times we
find ourselves confused by the ideas or limiting framework which others provide.
We often get drawn into a pace or a way of life which is detrimental to life
itself. Much of life for western society has become a rush. At times it is a
headlong rush toward an unclear horizon which shrouds any goal which may have
been seen at one time.

While navigating white water stretches it often is necessary to position the
canoe with a "back ferry" or by paddling in such a way as to force the canoe to
go slower than the current. At times the proper positioning of the canoe is a
matter of determining to not give in to the urge to "rush" with the current.
When asked what was the most important piece of advice he could give,
mountaineer and wilderness preservation advocate Harvey Manning responded, "Slow