Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Paddle packing beats backpacking hands down!

I love backpacking. Love the freedom to head deep in the wilderness with all that I need for survival strapped to my back. But, you know? I like a little comfort too deep in the woods. While I do pack camp shoes and a camp chair on my trips, a little wine and perhaps a dessert, comfort is still at a premium when I'm trekking through the backcountry. But give me a canoe and I can really live it up. Heck give me a canoe and two guides and I'm never coming back. When I was writing for Paddler magazine, before the Great Recession put an end to its run, I made regular trips to Canadian waters.

There I was occasionally set up with a guide to help me explore such intriguing places as Saskatchewan's Prince Albert National Park, and Ontario's Great Lakes and Boundary Waters. By far one of the best trips I was assigned to do was down the French River-an important connector between the Great Lakes and the Ottawa River for the fur trade. On that trip I was assigned not one guide, but two-and one was of British descent and the other French-very cool indeed. And aside from possessing a strong knowledge of the area and strong paddling skills-these two had amazing culinary skills. And when you pack a trip with two canoes you literally can take the kitchen with you. Pack it all-then flip your canoe over to set up shop. Do a trip like this and you will never look at those crappy little dehydrated backpackers meals again. Anyone up to take me for a canoeing excursion? I'm hungry!

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