Paddling with Children

In my last article I promised to discuss camping with kids at some point in the future. Since I have recently returned from a very enjoyable week long trip with mine, I see no reason not to cover it now.

Our trip started when we picked up our friends, Barry Carol, Elizabeth, and Michael. From there we traveled to the Adirondack Museum located in Blue Mtn. Lake , N.Y. to learn a bit of history about the area we were about to travel through. It is a must stop for anyone traveling to the Adirondacks. Later that afternoon we reached our put in point and quickly paddled out across a mirror smooth pond to set up camp for the evening. The weather for the day and evening was absolutely perfect and would remain that way throughout our trip. That evening, having seen a display in the museum to the same effect, Elizabeth opted to sleep under the stars using only her canoe as a shelter. Unfortunately , the profile of her canoe did not lend itself well to this option. After much effort and activity, combined with a few strategically placed ropes and logs we had a truly happy camper. After breakfast the next morning we were ready to pack up and portage to a connecting pond. Michael and Brad informed us that they would be paddling together for the rest of the trip. No problem we said. It will be a great educational experience for them. Especially with all the portages to come. They assured us that they were up to the task. The boys quickly and efficiently portaged their canoe and gear to Turtle Pond reloading and launching well before the rest of us. This would set the tone for the rest of the trip. Off they went headed for the next connection killing time fishing along the way. Later on in the trip they would handle a 1 mile portage again with canoe and gear completely unassisted.

child in canoe

Once loaded and battened down we headed out behind them. Barry and Carol in one canoe, Nick, Elizabeth, and I in the other. Nick was in his glory, handling the stern of our boat while I took the bow. Our course zig-zaged a bit at first, it was not long though before he had it under control. Elizabeth took the navigators seat just ahead of Nick which worked nicely to level out the load. To my surprise, well not really, she had no problems directing our course though a maze of islands, ponds, and streams. This was pretty much the schedule for the week interspersed with swimming and exploring. The kids, as well as the adults settled into a nice routine becoming more proficient each day. Everybody was responsible for their own personal gear and then it was a team effort to set up camp each evening. The tents never came out of the bag after the first evening, every night was spent sleeping out under the stars. The only downside to the trip was that it had to end.

What better way to spend time with your kids then on a canoe trip. Just the nature of the outing causes you to be close, depending on each other for almost everything that is truly important. It is an educational adventure as well, and not just for the kids. Think about what these kids did for a week and then imagine what they learned. Paddling, swimming, wildlife, portaging, teamwork, responsibility, star gazing, fire building, meal preparation, need I say more. Not to mention the confidence and self esteem gained from the experience. As I mentioned in my last article, I was hoping that Barry would supply me with lots of ammunition for future articles. Well he came through as planned. Until next time, HAPPY PADDLING.

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