#26 Paddling Pic: Old Dogs and New Tricks


#26. Petawawa River, Ontario. 1995

I don't think that we have featured the Petawawa River yet so here's a picture from our honeymoon trip in the fall of '95. That summer we had taken a poling class from Harry Rock at the Maine Canoe Symposium and Reid was keen to practice his newly found skills. The water was low and actually made for friendly conditions for us to experiment a bit. We found a nice easy set and would work our way upstream and then turn around and snub our way back down. We both tried it and discovered that it was hard work with a fully loaded canoe. But Reid loved the snubbing part. He would stop the canoe in the current, set an angle and back ferry across the river then stop and straighten it out to drop through a vee, slow her down and pick his next move and continue down. He had it all figured out; or so he thought.


In larger rapids the forces exerted on your canoe will rise exponentially, and these forces are formidable. Reid learned this very quickly when in a bigger, bumpier set our bow tapped a rock. We lost our angle, swung downstream and Reid jammed the pole into to stop the pivot. I guess the pole got stuck, or maybe he thought he would do a pry with it; either way the next thing I heard a was a deafening crack, the boat rocked mightily, and much clunking and banging came from behind me in the stern. I turned around and there he was, kneeling, paddle in hand, straightening us out and looking very sheepish. "I think I should practice a bit more at home first" he said as two pieces of broken spruce floated by me.


That day we learned that although it is exciting and fun to learn new skills and techniques it is also important to practice and hone them before you use them on the trail.

So what is something new that you hope to learn in your canoe this summer?

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