People who paddle canoes may be familiar with the sound the bottom of a kevlar canoe makes as it comes into contact with the mucky bottom of a shallow creek bed. It’s a sort of shloshing sound that accompanies the canoe as it gradually comes to a complete stop. “This is what canoes are made for!”
I’m not sure how many times we heard Mike repeat this mantra on our Boundary Waters Kawishiwi River canoe trip this fall. Had we known it would be used over and over maybe we would have started counting the first time. Like the rising of the sun each time Matt and Cassidy’s canoe or ours came to an unexpected stop due to low water levels Mike would say, “This is what canoes are made for.” Sometimes he would add another phrase, something similar to, “A jet ski couldn’t travel here.”
True. The waterway we paddled and the portages we took would not have been possible using a jet ski. It also would not have been possible without encouragement from paddling partners or companions. We found a number of rocks just beneath the surface where our canoes came to a rest. Push, pull, shove and get out of the canoe to get ourselves off, a jet ski wouldn’t have made it. A well constructed dam of trees, mud and twigs by a beaver would have stopped anyone on a jet ski, but not us in our canoes. The almost dried up waterways that looked more like a marshy grassland than a place to paddle were what a canoe was made for.
A canoe was made to take you places not intended for other watercraft to travel. A canoe was made to bring you to a place where contentment is almost always found.