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Last year, I led a six-person paddle trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota. I worked with Voyageur North Outfitters in Ely to come up with a route with fairly easy portages but access to beautiful scenery and wildlife.
The West Michigan Coastal Kayakers Association’s 125 members, which include 43 family memberships, run the gamut from the hardcore surf riders of the Great Lakes and folks that do Eskimo rolls as easily as you snap your fingers, to neophytes who are just learning to kayak.
I received an enticing email; an invite to an impromptu SUP surfing clinic was coming together on the shores of Lake Michigan. Could I be at the beach a little north of Racine by 5 p.m.? Hot day, cool lake, free lesson. Why not?
Boardman River undammed
When Traverse City Light and Power stopped producing hydroelectric power, a decision was made to remove the dams. When I heard the project was underway, I knew I had to paddle this “new” Boardman River.
The Kishwaukee River
My first time on the Kishwaukee River was with the Prairie State Canoeists on a section of the north branch from Bauman Park in Cherry Valley, Illinois, down to Atwood Park in the town of Milford, one of the most popular paddling sections of the river.
For those whose paddling season wasn’t quite long enough, you can head south and/or southeast. And while a sea kayaker may fall in love with Lake Superior, I fell in love with the flora and fauna and, sometimes, the water color of Ozark Rivers and blackwater estuaries.
Paddling with kids
Children can be fickle, but it is important to remember that the goal is to engender a love for the water. With frequent stops for play, exploration and rest, even the smallest child can be a great companion on the water.
Novice, meet River
"River, I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Novice. Novice, this is my old friend, River. By the end of the day, you guys are going to be great friends."
The way of the blade
PADDLING with Darren Bush
There are no right or wrong paddles. If you are a fan of big blades for flatwater paddling, then more power (literally) to you. Do you like skinny little Greenland kayak paddles? By all means, use them. Like a bent shaft canoe paddle or a traditional willow-leaf design? Good for you. As the French say,
à chacun son goût
Why the solo canoe is my favorite
We've got canoes and kayaks stored under the deck, sitting on a rack and hanging from the garage ceiling. Ten of them altogether. But if I could only keep one boat, it would be the first boat I bought back in 1983, my Sawyer DY Special solo canoe.
We're spoiled by kayak symposia in the upper Midwest
Sea kayaking continues to be of great interest to paddlers in the Midwest. The conditions on the Great Lakes are ideal for longboats. Sure, salt tastes great sometimes, but we have some pretty amazing paddling right here in our backyard.
Book review: Canoeing & Kayaking Wisconsin
The subtitle, "The rivers, the towns, the taverns," of Michigan paddler Doc Fletcher's latest book,
Canoeing and Kayaking Wisconsin
, tells most, but not all, of it. He came to Wisconsin to explore the dairy state's rivers with a group of paddling friends and put together a list of liveries, campgrounds and watering holes at the end of every trip.
Kayaks vs. canoes
As an owner of seven canoes and three sea kayaks, when I get asked, "Which do you prefer? Kayaks or canoes?" I have some ready answers.
Spring is here
I grew up in an area of the world that had two seasons: green (for two months) and brown (for ten months). No seasons per se, just variations in temperature from almost warm to blazingly hot. In any case, the weather didn't affect what I did.
Prepare ye for the coming of spring
You're probably still looking out the window at patches of snow. Your canoe or kayak is a little dusty, having been in hibernation since last fall. And your paddle clothing is wadded up in a duffel bag. Hopefully was dry before you put it away in that manner.
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