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Canoe Camping: A Unique Wilderness Experience

Mar 27, 2008
The Canoe was a means of living and a way of life for many indigenous tribes throughout North America and islands and peninsulas in the Bering straight. The natural advancements in civilized life have altogether made this tool a mere curiosity for most. Rivers used to basically be like modern roadways of old times and the canoe was a great means of bringing food and rations while making the sojourn down to a more civilized area.

Today you'll find urban adventurers seeking solace from cubicle life by taking float trips into seemingly uncharted territories. Canoe camping has advantages over a hike camp in a few different ways that make the outdoor experience somewhat different. Basically with a canoe you can carry a good deal more than you can tromping through the woods with just a backpack. The amount of food that can be stored can have you lasting weeks longer. In addition, you can reach some of the most rugged territory that is off the trail and see some of the most wildlife you've ever seen. A French fur trader, if alive today, can attest to the value of the canoe as an indispensable tool in the wilds of Canada; the canoe trip was a daily way of life.

The following information will go over some preparatory criteria you will want to look into before going on a canoe trip, as well as some suggestions for destinations.

Planning a Canoe Trip

Although a nice meandering stream in a balmy afternoon looks pretty harmless from the bow of a boat, with a slight weather change, things can quickly get hairy. So, before you embark on the first canoe voyage, try picking a short stretch of river on a predictably nice day.

Timing in the weather is essential. A river or stream after rainfall can swell and completely change conditions of the float. A river section that would normally be safe enough to take the babies out in their water wings can, after a heavy rainfall or sudden ice melt, swell and accelerate to scary speeds that an expert wouldn't tackle. As a side note, remember that mountain weather can change in the blink of an eye, so for instance if you were taking a Canada canoe trip, even in the middle of summer you can get caught in a frigid, nearly freezing session of hail or arctic blast from the north.

To avoid a poor experience, planning can prevent you from a variety of pitfalls. By mapping, charting the course and finding a camp site, you can avoid such regrets as: getting lost, missing cool attractions or side hikes, going when the mosquitoes are really out for blood, and possibly avoiding a search and rescue incident.

Meet the Kayak

The kayak is basically a smaller, one-man version of the canoe that typically has a spraydeck to keep the rider dry. It's not functional for carrying much gear but it did provide a fast means of maneuvering and hunting. The concept came from native peoples from the arctic to make such chores as seal hunting much more effective. It's common to be used in all of the inlets and ice weaves that normally wouldn't be easily maneuvered by regular boats.

Today it is used for some of the most extreme white water sporting challenges ever. From surfing ocean waves, to playing in washing machine-like river eddies, the amount of fun had by outdoorists and athletes garners its own summer Olympic event. For the outdoor enthusiast it's worthy for a day of fun as opposed to a canoe journey.

Alaska and Canada kayak trips are just as popular as they were 1,000 years ago among natives. Now adventurers can watch icebergs and glaciers calve off while practically sitting in the water. Further south, in the tropical waters of Mexico, a Baja Kayaking trip brings adventurers closer to coral or schools of light-strobing cuttlefish within oar's reach.
About the Author
Black Feather (http://www.blackfeather.com/kayak.htm) plans and outfits outrageously fun outdoor adventuring trips such as a sun drenched Baja Kayaking trip or a rush inducing Canada canoe trip. Their record brings 70 percent of clientele back for more. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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