Canoeing and Kayaking
Growing up, my parents exposed my brothers and I to canoeing quite a bit. I remember sitting in the middle of the canoe for quite a few years, and eventually graduating into the bow then stern positions, and taking the canoe out with friends and even by myself.
When all five of us packed into the canoe I remember mostly being on ponds and lakes, though I do remember being out on faster moving water a few times. I’m sure I learned the “j” stroke from my Dad long before I earned the canoeing merit badge in Boy Scouts, but I can’t remember when that happened.
I’ve paddled down the Delaware River several times. I think I’ve been on it three times with Scouts (here’s one), and perhaps twice with my family. Maybe more? I’m not sure. As a side note, my Grandmother (Grammy) has told me that one time, her and my Grandfather (Pop-pop) were going to meet our Scout Troop along the Delaware. When we hit shore and saw them Pop-pop held out his hand to shake mine because he didn’t think I’d want to greet him with a hug in front of the other Scouts. I told him I wasn’t embarrassed to hug him, and Grammy says that was something that always made him happy. I only vaguely remember that.
We (my Dad and brothers, as well as the Scouts of Troop 60) eventually took on the challenge of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. That was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on (perhaps the best)! Next summer I plan to paddle the Allagash again, this time with Troop 29.
Something I’ve always loved about canoeing is the skill that goes in to doing it well. Practicing different strokes and techniques and finding great efficiency and power is a good reward. Another part of canoeing that I enjoy is that it’s easy to find water to practice those skills in. For example, class I and II rapids offer a lot of excitement in a canoe because you really need to have a handle on how to maneuver the canoe to get through the rapid.
As far as watercraft go, I’ve had a lot of experience in canoes and have always enjoyed it a lot.
I’ve never spent a whole lot of time kayaking. I remember using kayaks at summer camp and a few other times over the years, but they never interested me that much. At the time, kayaking wasn’t nearly as popular as canoeing (touring not popular until the mid 1990s, it appears).
I’ve recently had to change my opinion: over the past few weeks I’ve tried a few different kayaks and had a lot of fun in them! The maneuverability and smaller size were fun, and I enjoyed moving them through the water. There’s probably not much time left this fall, but next spring and summer I definitely want to kayak more!