There is nothing quite like a canoe, or the places it will take you.
“When a man is part of his canoe, he is part of all that canoes have ever known” Sigurd F Olson
The canoe is a wonderful thing and Mr Olson (American, but of Swedish parents) was onto something. Whatever its made of, birch bark or Kevlar, your canoe is a simple craft with an honest and uncomplicated relationship with the water around it. Once you know your canoe, understand it, trust it, it becomes a channel through which you can feel the water and the land the water flows through. Its enriching and cleansing all at the same time, kids get it… dogs get it…. it just works.
I love paddling my canoe on rivers and open water, even on the sea. I use traditional techniques like poling, tracking and lineing to move around difficult sections and I can portage over the worst. On open water I can sail, in a tandem or alone, and get the excitement of speed without the sweat. When I rest I can live form the boat. I can carry large bulky loads; children, dogs, vast tents – it’s all easy once you know how.
The crunch is, like Mr Olson said, you do have to become part of your canoe to make this happen. Just sitting in the boat and moving it around will give you only a fraction of the experience. You have to understand edge, know trim, connect to the boat physically, anticipate its next move.
Perhaps that’s where I can help.
I run courses for canoe paddling, including the Norsk Padleforbundet Intro and Grunnkurs (where you can get your vaattkort). A list of all the available NPF canoe courses is here.
I also run packages for traditional skills, expedition preparation and canoe paddling with children. Get in touch if you what to know more. firstname.lastname@example.org