Canoe tripping is an experience which has to be lived to be understood.
A canoe trip can be a simple drop and plop. This is when you park your car, load your canoe with your gear, paddle to a campsite on the same lake. This type of trip is great if you need some respite from everyday life and you want to "melt" into the landscape for several days of relaxation and rest.
Canoe tripping; however, is a strenuous ordeal which requires planning and skill to execute effectively. I have seen people reduced to tears on a well planned trip. The reasons vary but inevitably the "tears" are the result of the persons expectations not meeting the reality of the situation.
Some people have the Hollywood or YouTube idea of tripping in their mind when they plan a journey through the lakes and woods. They envision soft gentle clouds dancing across a blue sky and calm gentle waters upon which their canoe glides. The portage trails are relatively flat with gentle undulations in ground elevations. Torrents of mosquitoes and blackflies don't enter the theatre through which their mind is wandering.
Canoe tripping has some of those elements; however, I can guarantee the bugs will take part in your trip; unless your trip is booked when the temperature is below 10 degrees. I can guarantee the portage trails will test your resolve. After walking the second 1,000 Meter portage you will ask yourself; "Why the heck did I pack all this junk?"
I can assure you that the wind will try to push you back to where you started and halfway through your adventure you will vow to never to do it again.
Experienced trippers know this simple truth and yet we plan our trips as soon as our tents and gear are stowed for the winter.
Tripping takes skill and patience, it takes courage and tenacity to complete a trip of extended distances. It will teach you everything you need to know about yourself. Your strengths and shortfalls will be highlighted by the trials and tribulations of a long canoe trip.
When you plan a trip, add at least 20% onto your estimated time. Plan and then plan again. Expect rain and wind. Leave the YouTube versions of tripping on your computer.
When your gear is packed, unpack it and pack it again leaving out the unnecessary items which are simply useless. Remember, wet gear can weigh five times the weight of dry gear therefore pack all clothing in dry bags and ensure your pack is water tight.
When you launch your canoe onto the first leg of your trip, smile and draw the fresh forest air deep into your lungs. Dig your paddle deep into the water and pull your boat up to speed. Leave all your expectations and trepidations behind you in your canoe's wake. Every stroke of the paddle from that point on will be one of discovery and adventure.
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