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Archive for the ‘For Future Paddlers’ Category

For Future Paddlers: What about taking children?

Saturday, March 14th, 2009
submitted by: Bob Evans

We often are asked by friends about taking children on their first canoe trip.  On the first canoe trip my wife and I took together, we took our five-year-old daughter, Caroline (and our dog).  That trip covered the Lake Agnes/S-Chain loop in Quetico.  We endured significant rain for the first day and a half which I feared would end all future canoe trips.  The sun came out as we entered the south end of Lake Agnes and we camped in the meadow at the base of Louisa Falls during our second night out. We dried clothes, fished some along the shores and had a great dinner.  At that time the meadow was much more open than it is now, but it is still a great “hangout” campsite (more…)

For Future Paddlers: Do I need to take canoeing lessons before I go?

Sunday, February 15th, 2009
submitted by: Bob Evans

No.  Though it may make you more confident to do so, and certainly the more experience you have the better, outfitters will train you before you go out on the trail.  When you first talk with your outfitter, let them know about your experience or lack of experience.  Outfitters generally will plan into your time ahead of the trip enough for some training and practice. 

Not only will they teach you the paddling skills but also canoe safety.  They will teach you how to carry your canoe over the portages from lake to lake and let you practice while they supervise.  Many outfitters are close to water and have places for you to “put in” and practice.  Others will gladly take you to a close body of water to practice. 

What is most important is that you ask for a route to be planned appropriate to your skill level.  Outfitters will be glad to help you here, and if you discuss this with them when you first make contact, they will be able to help with a permit that has appropriate trips.

Outfitters depend on your business to stay in business.  They are eager to train you well and plan a great trip for you so that you will become a repeat client, and will tell others what a good job they did.

Communication is the key!

For Future Paddlers, Set Your Trip Dates Now!

Sunday, December 14th, 2008
submitted by: Bob Evans

Folks who have not been to canoe country ask us many questions about planning a trip.  Invariably, we answer their question, and quickly add, “Figure out the dates of your trip and contact your outfitter with those dates as soon as possible.”  We addressed the idea of finding an outfitter and what they can do for you in an earlier post.  Now we must address the “dates” issue.

Permits are required for entry into both Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northeastern Minnesota.  Both areas are controlled entry, meaning that only a specific number of permits are allowed per day into each entry point.  Additionally, there are a maximum number of canoes and people allowed under each permit.  Outfitters are experts at handling this information.  But they cannot begin to help you until they know the date you will arrive at their base, and the date you want to go out on the trail.  The most important thing for you to realize in this process is that “the early bird gets the worm.” (more…)

Using an Outfitter

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
submitted by: Bob Evans

For interested folks who have never made a wilderness canoe trip, the planning and preparation is intimidating.  It would be nice if you had a very experienced friend who would let you go on a trip with him or her.  It would also be nice if they took you by the hand and led you through all the preparations.  Most of us do not have such a friend.

But all of us have access to an outfitter.  Experienced outfitters are available at every area around canoe country where you might want to enter.

Outfitters are expert at handling all the details of securing permits to enter the wilderness.  They will advise you on any documents needed to cross international boundaries if that is a part of your plan.  They have excellent equipment for rent that is exactly the equipment you need for this type of outdoor adventure.  If you have some of your equipment, they can fill out your gear to what is needed.  They can pack an entire kitchen and food store for you, usually based on menus you select.  They have a variety of canoes for rent along with paddles and life jackets.  And they can provide the canoe, equipment, and food preparation training for you if you are a beginner, or an outdoors person who just needs to make the transition into canoeing.  Before you leave on your trip they will provide you with good maps and lots of detailed information on your traveling route. (more…)