What a crazy weekend with regard to the weather and the water. Everyone has been busting a gut to get outside to either hike, camp, or paddle.  Thing is that Mother Nature has been giving us a bit of her best and without the proper training and experience plus the proper gear, you might be headed down a slippery slope.

A bunch of us got together last weekend and we were discussing various places to paddle in this general area. One thing after another with plans going awry, the talk drifted to the Mad River.

I’ve recently acquired an Esquif Canyon and it has not been outfitted…..at all!  The slippery nature of the Royalex hull is mirrored on the interior and when you need to apply body english without knee pads or straps that boat can completely alter your opinion of your capabilities. This canoe features a 4″ rocker bow and stern so if you sneeze violently the canoe will spin 360′.  A slight exaggeration but you get the drift. Now couple that responsive nature and nothing to bind you to the canoe and you have the explanation for some of our swimming lessons.  Now kick in a double dose of “let’s get out there” with a race horse and no saddle in flood level rivers without adequate experience in swift water rescue and …..yup, I’ll bet you can hear the sirens in the background.

So, I could sit here and moan and groan about missing a weekend or I could, and did, take steps to correct the situation. I went to Sojourn today to see all their sale goodies (open tomorrow also) and met Johno Foster from Watershed Sales and he endorsed getting the Canyon outfitted. One of the great points he mentioned was the variety of knee pads and the fact that for a dedicated white water canoe you’d be likely to go for the deep cup and for a tripping canoe you may want to go with a flatter style to allow for added movement under way. Another step towards a goal.

From there I figured maybe I didn’t really know as much as I thought I did so I booked a course for whitewater training….on one of Ontario’s premier whitewater rivers….oh ya! Why, you ask? The reason is simple but it does have a couple of points.

I have the interest to get into white water but that interest also holds a measure of responsibility. My family needs to know I have more than an interest to go. I also have to have the skills to get back safe and sound. I have a responsibility to my partner in the canoe so it is coursed down stream in a fun, yet controlled manner with safety out front. To this community I’ve taken an interest in, I need to be a contributor, not a taker. I have to be able to answer the phone and say, without doubt, “sounds good, how can I help?”. Likewise, others in the community need to be able to have a level of confidence in me before making the call. I have to have comfort in the knowledge that I know how to handle both ends of the throw bag, I have to be able to 200% control any move on the water to avert a danger situation.  In short, I have to get in control and get properly trained.

So all things considered, the Canyon is going to get some help, I’m going to pick up some training and it’s going to be on the Madawaska River which is some of Ontario’s prime white water.  It’s going to be May which will likely be chilly and I’ve still got some work to do with regard to getting video coverage from a variety of angles.

This year has been tremendous for me and my paddle.  April 1st was the first run and two more followed before the end of the month.  In May I’m looking for major inroads and accomplishments.  To all that have been in touch, I thank you, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

See you on the water!

@MythicGear @WatershedSales @PaddlerCoop #esquifcanoes #whitewater #getoutside

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