July 17, 2005

Another photo from camp


I have a whole fleet of canoes, most of them bought at garage sales, although why anyone would ever sell a canoe is absolutely beyond me. A canoe is the most wonderful mode of transportation; taking a minute to pull it up on shore and flip it over is the only maintenance required. It requires no fuel, except for human muscle.

At my parents' camp, where this photo is taken, canoes are perfect for meandering down the creeks that wind through the cattails. Go at dusk, quietly, and you can watch a beaver swimming through the water near his lodge. Go at dawn, and you paddle through the mist, watching the great blue heron leave her nest at the edge of the marsh.

When we canoe in groups, as my family often does, canoes are perfect for water fights. All of us are good at splashing water by slapping down hard with the paddles. The canoes fill with water – and clumps of weeds when the water fight progresses to a mud fight – but it is easy to just turn them over when the fight is over.

The best part of canoeing is that when you paddle a canoe, you aren't riding high above the water. When you lean to pull your paddle through the muddy marsh water, you are at eye level with turtles and frogs. The water lilies will brush the sides of the canoe as you glide along, and pop back up, undamaged. A water snake will move away lazily, unalarmed. And you can squeeze down the narrowest, shallowest creeks, where no motorboat dare go. It's a wonderful way to explore a marsh.

10 comments:

BrightStar said...

I have not ever done this. I would like to. I've only been in a canoe-type of boat once -- an open kayak in a bay in the Pacific Ocean. The eye-level perspective sounds like an excellent way to connect with nature.

jo(e) said...

Brightstar: First you tell me you've never gone skinny dipping, and now you say you've never gone canoeing?

You really need to come visit me ...

Scrivener said...

Canoeing is wonderful. Totally agree with you on the eye-level perspective thing. We used to canoe on the Peace River on the west coast of Florida a lot when I was a kid, which I just loved. I'm waiting for Chloe to get to be a bit better swimmer to rent a canoe and take them out on the Chattahoochee.

Overread said...

I think I've said this before, but Jo(e), I love the way you write.

Friday Mom said...

It's been a long time since I went canoeing. It used to be a regular spring and summer activity when I was growing up in Missouri. The water fights are the best. I love the way the paddle slices into the water sending a nice shower in the direction of another canoe! It never made sense to me that people actually went canoeing with the expectation that they would stay dry.

Sue said...

What a lovely post. It brought back some very fond memories of canoeing at our camp in Northwestern Ontario (Canada) when I was growing up. The best time was at dusk when everything was still and quiet...

RussianViolets said...

You make canoeing sound fun. The last time I was in one was with Pre-Marriage Boyfriend, and he kept tipping it. I was not impressed. This makes me want to give it another try.

halloweenlover said...

Jo(e), you make me want to run out and buy a canoe TODAY. I have no where to take it, but I need one now so that I can also experience these wonderful moments.

David said...

I've been canoeing several dozen times. I've gone canoeing on the Peace river in Florida like Scrivener! I've also canoed through the Everglades for a week... sleeping on bound up and boarded up canoes during a few of those nights.

Canoeing really is awesome. Which is how I came to find this page. I would like to buy a canoe. I don't really know how to go about it. I got married recently and my wife and I would like to finally have our very own canoe.

Can you help me out? How much do they cost? Where do you get yours? Do you live anywhere near Florida?

Julie said...

My husband and I had our first date on a canoe. (Well, unless you count the time when he and I and five other people went to a movie together back in high school, though I did sit next to him then.) I love canoes. Especially if you're on a river with a strong current so you don't have to paddle too hard. :)