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7/27/2020 12:56 pm  #1

​Canoe Soliloquy

At over 30 years old, my Old Town Discover 158 is not pretty, and sports many deep gouges and home repairs.  It is a tank to portage and weighs over 85 pounds.  I dread every time I drag it out of the backyard to load up for a new trip as it’s never once been stored properly and is usually caked in mud and dirt as it is left outside on the ground.  I’ve dubbed my canoe “The Beast”.  All this yet it has never once let me down.

I regard this canoe as an old grizzled war vet who has “seen some s*#t” but still managed to persevere, with the battle scars to prove it.  Each scrape and dent is a remnant of an adventure of years past.  It’s paddled hundreds of lakes and rivers, been bashed over rocks and beaver dams, hurled over waterfalls, pinned under water, almost bent in half, and left for dead on the Gull River.  The gunwales, thwart, yoke, seats and skid plates have all been replaced or repaired and I’ve cursed at it more times than I can count.

As my body ages I find myself seeking a younger, prettier and lighter canoe yet I can’t seem to resolve myself to let go of “The Beast”.  The history and memories this canoe has helped me form leaves me with a sense of obligation…almost like a faithful husband to a dying wife. I know the time is coming when it will be time to put this canoe out to pasture (insert Old Yeller reference here). Although I will be excited at the prospect of a new canoe, my gut tells me that day will also be one of sadness, reflection and nostalgia.


Last edited by Steve E (7/27/2020 12:57 pm)


7/27/2020 4:29 pm  #2

Re: ​Canoe Soliloquy

Having fun supercedes having the latest and greatest lightweight gear.  I remember encountering a couple of young fellows on the big beach at the end of the portage from the Amable du Fond into Manitou and they were clearly having a wonderful time doing a big loop through the park despite having a ridiculously small, crappy, fibreglass canoe!   However, for my wife and I being able to single pass portage is essential and we would not be able to do that without our 45lb canoe.   Now that we are in our 60's I can envision the day that the 45lb canoe will be too heavy and we'll have to get a 35lb canoe!


7/28/2020 6:25 am  #3

Re: ​Canoe Soliloquy

Live in the moment, plan for the future but do not forget the past.

I passed my 85 pound aluminum Michicraft canoe on to an 18 year-old kid for $100.  I had picked it up used, hand painted the camo pattern with my daughter using leaves from the yard and put many miles on it mostly on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and as far away as Lavieille in Algonquin.  Safe, great utility, bomb-proof; could carry two guys, a dog and hunting/fishing gear all over the place.  But there comes a time to move forward.

Maybe give it as a gift to a young person as a means to introduce them to the sport?


7/28/2020 8:20 am  #4

Re: ​Canoe Soliloquy

Why not keep it as a memorial?


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