Just imagine how envious your camping neighbours will be when you pull this out of your canoe and set-up shop. The only addition I would make is to add in a battery operated light that turns on when opened. People will swear that it’s filled with glowing gold.
Can somebody please rush this to market? Work with me people.
Photo Credit: cheezburger.com
The king of cheats, Lance Armstrong was spotted this weekend in
Image credits: dailymail.co.uk
Kelly Blades and I are very excited to make episode 8 of Kayak Mainline available to you.
This week on Kayak Mainline we learn about:
We also get Bonnie Perry on the phone to talk about her BCU 5* certification. Did you know she is one of only four woman in North America who have it? Amazing.
For those of you keeping track, you will notice there was no announcement of episode 7 here. The story I’m sticking to is that I uploaded it to the server just as I was going out the door last month to the Gales Storm Gathering with the plans to post a note about it when I got back. Yeah, I forgot.
I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did putting it together.
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I recently stumbled upon an article that was originally published in Collectors Weekly back in July. It looked at how back in the 1900-1920(ish) canoeing was viewed as a very sexy activity. If you were looking to get away from people for a little "private time", the canoe was the only way to do it.
Adolescents took to the waters with the urgency of salmon fighting their way upstream, spawning a veritable canoe craze, particularly in places like
Bostonalong the Charles River and at Belle Isle, near Detroit. While any canoe would do, companies such as Old Town, Kennebec, and White marketed “courting canoes” specifically designed for waterborne lovebirds. “These boats usually had long 4-foot decks and an 8-foot elliptical or oval cockpit,” says Young. “The woman would sit in the bottom of the canoe on cushions with her parasol to shade her from the sun, while her gentleman in his boater hat would paddle and probably croon to her. Or she might read poetry to him.” Make no mistake; these were wild times.
One Minneapolis Tribune headline read 'Girl Canoeists’ Tight Skirts Menace Society'
As further proof that canoeing had become a hotbed for teenage delinquents, in 1913 the Minneapolis Parks Board refused to issue permits for canoes with unpalatable names. Local newspapers published some of the offensive phrases that slipped past the board the previous summer, including “Thehelusa,” “Kumomin Kid,” “Kismekwik,” “Damfino,” “Ilgetu,” “Aw-kom-in,” “G-I-Lov-U,” “Skwizmtyt,” “Ildaryoo,” “Win-kat-us,” “O-U-Q-T,” “What the?,” “Joy-tub,” “Cupid’s Nest,” and “I Would Like to Try It.” The commissioners unanimously agreed to outlaw phrases lacking obvious moral and grammatical standards, though a few of these clever pre-text-message abbreviations clearly had them scratching their heads.
Check out the entire article and learn more about the scandalous image that canoeing had at the time.
Actress, Amber Tamblyn (of House, M.D. fame) got married a couple off weekends back to David Cross (Arrested Development) in a non-traditional wedding that involved a yellow-dress and canoes for both her and the wedding party.
I would have been quite happy to have been invited to the wedding since Yo La Tengo performed during the reception and Questlove served as the deejay.
Photo credit: Questlove
You read that headline right. Jonathan Berger from
The Winnipeg Free Press recently did an article on the amazing accomplishments of this surprisingly risk-averse guy. You can read the full story here.
Surely, in all that time canoeing uncharted rivers with rapids, cataracts and waterfalls, thousands of kilometres from civilization, he has encountered some mishaps and adventures and learned some difficult lessons.
Well, the last time he had a canoe tip was 1971. He has never had to be evacuated. He has had just two bears in his camp in all that time, and they ran away when he and fellow travellers banged pots and pans.
"I don't know what to tell you," Berger said on a recent stopover in
Winnipeg. "I just don't take chances." That's probably the boring secret to how you keep paddling for months at a time every summer for 50 years.
I loved the quote right at the end of the article when asked how he can find the time to so many canoe trips:
"It depends what you want to do. You make sacrifices," he said about dedicating so much time to canoe-trekking. That includes sacrifices both monetary and in terms of professional advancement, he said.
Update: In my research, I discovered that Jonathan is also the co-author of the coffee-table book, Canoe Atlas of the Little North which highlights the best canoe routes of Northern Ontario and
Photo credit: Jonathan Berger
July 30th will be the 40th anniversary of that film that made everybody terrified to canoe down rivers, Deliverance.
Staring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty, Deliverance is the story of four friends who decide to canoe down the (fake)
To celebrate the anniversary, Yahoo movies (known for their hard hitting investigative journalism) interviewed the cast to get their memories of the making of the film.
The interview has the usual fluff but does have an interesting conversation about the cast learning to canoe and how they choose the canoes for the film:
Ronny Cox: That was the thing about Burt. When we were doing canoe practice, Burt couldn't be bothered with having to learn the right way to do stuff. But the thing was, he ended up being the best canoeist of us all, because he would just go there with this attitude of 'God D**nit, I can do this.' And he would just do it. So that spirit of 'I can do this' sort of pulled us through."
Jon Voight: Also, he had the much better canoe. He had the one that wouldn't sink!
Burt Reynolds: I didn't pick the pretty one, you did!
Ronny Cox: The wooden
canoe is not intended for white water. It's a lake canoe. No stability. The Aluminum canoe is very broad. Old Town
Burt Reynolds: Ronny, when we went out to pick the canoes, I said 'Jon is the lead in the picture, let him pick the canoe.'
Jon Voight: To tell you the truth, the reason why I picked the green canoe is because it matched our characters. There's no flash in our characters. We were kind of homeboys. And this was a more humble thing. But it was dangerous to pick that canoe, and we knew it, because every time you'd hit a rock you'd hear the ribs of the canoe give way. It wasn't a happy experience to have that canoe. But Ed should have been in that canoe. Lewis should have had the higher tech stuff, and he looked more like Lewis in that canoe.
But Burt laughed about my choice. Because we were very competitive always. And as soon as I made the choice, he was chuckling to himself knowing I'd be fortunate not to sink. Many years later he gave me the present of a small replica of that canoe, which I have on my mantelpiece, and it says 'Voight's Choice.'
Ronny Cox: I saw in John Boorman's commentary on the DVD that in the course of making the film, Jon and I wrecked five canoes. That scene at the end of the picture where they find that half a canoe, they [the crew] didn't have to do that, we did that for them. Burt and Ned would run a set of rapids, if they had the slightest inkling of trouble, then the crew would make big bets that the two of us would wreck. You could make a lot of money betting on us wrecking.
If you are interested in seeing the two canoes in the flesh, they are currently on display at the Burt Reynolds Museum located in Jupiter, Florida.
Film capture credits: mickeyandava.blogspot.ca
This past weekend was the annual MEC Toronto Paddlefest and once again it was a hugely successful event with over 618 people pre-registered and approximately 120 people walking in and registering on the spot. That doesn’t include the 60 or so instructors, boat helpers and staff running around keeping the machine running smooth. With those numbers, it’s easily one of the biggest events of its kind in
This year I had the pleasure to teach a bit on the water but to also teach a bunch of on-land sessions including weather, navigation and technology in the wilderness. Over the years I have taught lots of symposium kayak sessions so it’s sometimes a nice change for me to get out and stand on dry-land every once in a while.
This was the first time that I was asked to run a session on technology in the wilderness and they wanted me to talk about personal locator beacons as well as more recreational focused devices like the SPOT or the Delorme inReach. I decided to expand the session topic a bit and try to put this technology in a bit more context by also exploring the Canadian Search and Rescue (SAR) system and explain to people how that monster works and what exactly happens when you hit that SOS button or activate your PLB. It made it a bit more interesting then just listening to a sales pitch about gear as you could get that by going to your local store and talking to the sales lady.
Of course teaching and running clinics are fun; but for me the real attraction of the weekend is hanging out with the other instructors who come into
Special thanks for Mountain Equipment Co-Op for putting on the event once again.
Here is a mini slideshow of some of the photos I took over the weekend:
I recently had the pleasure to watch Becky Mason’s new instructional DVD, Advanced Classic Solo Canoeing.
Advanced Classic Solo Canoeing builds on the foundation strokes that were taught in her first DVD, Classic Solo Canoeing. This time round Becky covers a wide variety of intermediate and advanced strokes including the Canadian, Indian, Sculling Draw, and the Running Draw Slideslip. Most of them are practical but some like the Low Circle are only practical to impress your friends. That doesn’t mean you should learn it. In fact it should be moved to the top of your stroke list for that reason alone. Never underestimate the importance of impressing friends.
From an instructional point of view I have got to say that this is easily one of the best I have seen. The narration shows right from the start that Becky has been teaching this stuff for a very long time. She has a great ability to take very complex maneuver and break it down to 3-4 key points making it easy to remember.
It’s clear that a lot of planning went into the production of the video and the proof is that all throughout the film the narration describing the fine details of the stoke actually matches up with what you are seeing. It might sound simple but it’s actually very a tricky thing to do and requires a huge amount of pre-planning long before production starts.
I think that Advanced Classic Solo Canoeing will be appealing to students as well as instructors and dreamers. If you are an instructor this is a good opportunity to watch a pro on the water teaching. Make notes of how she demonstrates the skills, steal the ideas and use it the next time you are teaching. You will be a better instructor for it guaranteed. Just don’t take all the credit.
If you are a dreamer I think you will also enjoy this DVD. Yeah, it’s an instructional film but it’s easily the most beautiful thing you will watch this month. Picture your perfect day out canoeing on the water. It likely involves paddling around on a very small lake in the early morning. The water is like glass and there is still a hint of morning mist hovering over the water. That scene in your head is pretty much 80% of the film. You are going to love watching it just for that.
I could keep going on about nerdy things like the excellent sound editing and the subtle sounds of the canoe moving through the water or the great selection of overhead and underwater shots to tie it all together but this is clearly a film the you need to see for yourself.
A couple of extra treats do come with the DVD including a full copy of her first instructional film, Classic Solo Canoeing as well as a beautiful canoe dance video set to the music of Ian Tamblym.
Oh yeah, did I mention that Advanced Classic Solo Canoeing won a bunch of awards at both the Reel Paddling Film Festival and the Waterwalker Film Festival? Yes it did.
You should be able to get this DVD at your local paddling shop or from Becky Mason directly via redcanoes.ca. For a limited time canoe and kayak instructors can get a 20% discount. You just need need to be a paid-up member of your local or national paddling body. Here are all the the details.
Bryan Hansel from paddlinglight.com has highlighted what should be a wake-up call to the entire outdoor industry.
The results from a long-term survey were recenrtly released by the US Forest Reserve. The survey (which was completed back in 1969, 1991 and finally in 2007) has been looking into who the users of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area (BWCAW) are.
The survey result paints an interesting picture into the health of canoe tripping in the BWCAW and I feel could also be anecdotally applied to other major canoeing areas across North America as well.
…we found out that the average user age in 1969 was 26 and in 2007 it was 45. We also found out that first time visitors have dropped from 30% of visitors to 6%. This means that fewer people are being introduced to the BWCAW. I’d guess that also means that the age of the average visitor will continue to rise and current users grow older. As a point of reference, the average age in Minnesota is 36. The study suggests that one way to explain this is: “While it is important to recognize that younger individuals and first time overnight visitors continue to use the BWCAW, trend data suggest that a strong and substantial cohort of aging, repeat visitors to the BWCAW exists.”
One interesting observation from the study is “Just less than half of the visitors in 1969 had visited other wildernesses besides the BWCAW at that time, but this rose to 57% by 1991 and 75% by 2007.” To me that seems to suggest that once people experience how magical wilderness areas are, they want to visit more of them.
What does this mean for the outdoor industry and outdoor camping? It means that current participants are getting older and we are not introducing young people to the outdoors as our parents did to us. If something isn’t done soon I feel an entire generation will miss out.
Flickr Photo Credit: Big Sag - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en_CA / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0