In my youth I loved watching the Canadian television show, Kids in the Hall. Over the years they put out some pretty weird yet funny stuff. A great example is their take on modern-day Voyageur fur trappers. As somebody who works in a cubical farm, this really hit home. Good thing I don’t need to wear a suit...
Before we get to the real history lesson below; a pre-history lesson. This little clip is from Season 2 Episode 2 and aired in Fall, 1990.
David Wooldridge from Ridge Wilderness Adventures in Maple Ridge, British Columbia assembled a really well done instructional video specifically for Big Canoe paddling.
Over the past couple of weeks I have seen a large uptick in the number of Big Canoe videos released. By large uptick, I really mean I went from seeing zero big canoe videos to 3 in the past month.
As you might know, Paddle Canada rolled out their Big Canoe instructional program this year and what’s happening is the newly certified instructors are developing teaching resources for everybody else to use.
Creative Commons Licence on Flickr by tlindenbaum.
Paddling in a Voyageur canoe is a whole lot of fun. In fact one might even describe it as a boatload of fun (sorry about that). What makes them a great mode of transportation is that you can have a whole group of friends paddling along in a super stable craft. Only 3-4 people need to actually paddle to maintain speed leaving the other 15 people able to hang out and gossip.
But what happens if something went wrong and the boat tips over? Do you know what you would do?
Priscilla Haskin is a Paddle Canada canoe instructor from
Watching the video, you quickly realize it’s a time consuming and slow process to empty that big monster of enough water to allow participants to slowly climb in. Also, reminded me that if you are going out with a group you would want to make sure you have a conversation with them before leaving describing the basic process so people don’t panic while in the water.
Voyageur Canoe Photo used under Creative Commons from North Cascades National Park.
This makes me wish I had a school program like this when I was in grade six.
The students at Goodwillie Environmental School in West Michigan launched last week an authentic 24 foot birch bark voyageur canoe that they have been working on for the past 2 years as part of a massive school project involving 50 students.
Last week they paddled it down the Grand River for the very first time.
Sixth-grader Lauren Kanai observed the historic moment.
“A voyageur birch bark canoe hasn’t been rode down the river in 180 years. That’s pretty cool,” she said.
“It started out with a roll of birch bark and an idea,” said student Lydia Hughes. “And it was really cool to sail it today.”
Last year, students built the canoe using age-old techniques. This year they carved oars and studied the river extensively in partnership with “Think Grand” a project through the nonprofit organization Great Lakes Lifeways Institute, www.lifewaysinstitute.org, and funded by grants.
More info: mlive.com
Image Credit: wzzm13.com
Browsing around on Flickr, I found these really cool series of photos from Naturally Superior Adventures. They are mainly known for their sea kayak courses and guided adventures but they also offer trips along the north shore of Lake Superior in their 36 foot Voyageur Canoe.
Photo credits: Naturally Superior Adventures