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.