Well, hopefully that was the flu bug of the season that has roamed our hallways for the last 2 weeks.
A lot of soul searching has been done over the winter and I’m going to get busy, and very selective, when it comes time to thin the fleet and make some additions. One that will never leave the home port is our Lady in Red; a cedar canvas who has been identified as a 16′ Chestnut Pal. This is a canoe who is open to attention just by showing up! Fast forward almost 14 years ago. Our buddy is in the drink with a broken leg; myself and my wife, 5 months pregnant with twins, paddles for help and the guy holding the bow line says, ” Man, She’s a beauty”. I honestly didn’t know if he was referring to Karin or the canoe but he was correct on both counts so I let it go.
Shawn James made a comment on My Self Reliance about “My Perfect Place” and shows a gorgeous cedar canvas canoe and that combination drives the point home to me. Sure, you can have this composite or that kevlar coupled with 40 pounds in an 18′ 6″ canoe but I virtually guarantee you won’t be able to smell the wood, you won’t be able to re-create the deadened “thunk” of the paddle shaft to the gunwale. There is no sound so exquisite as the flow of water around a well paddled canvas canoe.
So this year the fleet will change but whatever your end desire, be it weight, style, function, or level of competence, please, please get out and encourage, admire, and share your experiences.
Canoeing means so much to so many but no matter the height of the tree; she took root at ground level!
To Bill Mason, I say, thanks for lighting a small fire in the mind of a young student so many years ago.  To those wondering if they’re able; stand a bit closer to the fire as it will warm your soul and build your confidence!


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