Paddling Vermont

I grew up with a green wood and canvas Old Town canoe bought by our Dad in the mid Sixties.  In the Fifties, our dad spent several summers doing extended canoe trips with Camp Kapitachouane in Quebec.  My brother and I would paddle his canoe around waterways in Vermont. In the summer of 1987, following in our Dad’s footsteps – or paddle strokes – my brother and I went on a month-long canoe trip in Quebec with other campers from Camp Kapitachouane.  Every day we paddled wood and canvas canoes across lakes and rivers and portaged across black-fly infested woods.  We carried our canned food in wooden wannigans, baked simple bread called bannock and caught and fried delicious walleyes.  We paddled rushing rapids and passed Cree villages, even meeting a Cree man skinning a bear.  It was an amazing and indelible experience.

Because our Old Town canoe is a real bear to lift, I recently bought an eleven-foot Northland canoe made in Huntsville, Ontario.  This summer I have been paddling more, both solo in the Northland and with my wife Natasha and our dog Mazy in the Old Town.  We’ve paddled past loons at Maidstone Lake at sunset, past beavers at Goshen Dam and welcomed the first rays of sunlight at Grout Pond and Lake Ninevah.  Though both my Dad and brother are both gone now, they are never far from my thoughts as I paddle the quiet waters of Vermont in these wood and canvas canoes.

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3 Responses to Paddling Vermont

  1. Joan says:

    What wonderful memories, Caleb.

  2. Mark Hinckley says:

    Caleb,

    Was your dad named Roger? I’m not sure I ever met him, as my time at Camp Kapitachouane was a little later (1965-1975), but the name sounds very familiar. My brothers and I spent a number of years at CK in the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s. The last trip I led was in August of ’75, but my younger brother Chris led trips until ’82 or ’83. Both of the original directors/owners/founders have passed away. Rod Beebe died in the late 1990’s, and Carl Williams passed just this past winter (at the ripe young age of 91). A few of Carl’s and Rod’s kids and grandkids still go up to the camp for a week or 10 days every mid-summer, but there have been no trips run since the late 1980’s. My brother went up there this past summer and said the water was so low that it would have been impossible to take a trip. I guess the light winter snowpack that we had in New England this past winter spread to central Quebec as well. FYi…there is a good forum on the web called Canadian Canoe Routes, and there is a thread there which is all about the camp. There must be 10 or 15 different past campers who weigh in. Here is a link to the thread: http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=115&t=10426

    best, Mark Hinckley

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