View topic - Crossing Paths - Memorable People On The Trail

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2016, 10:25 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, ON
While I cherish the quiet and solitude of canoe tripping, occasionally you cross paths with other paddlers, and the chance meeting leaves a lasting impression on you. Some kindle friendships, some leave us feeling inspired, while still other encounters can be downright bizarre.

Years ago in Killarney I crossed paths with an older fellow from the Washington D.C. area who had be paddling in Killarney regularly since the 70's. A very interesting gentleman - a mathematician - who apparently had worked on the International Space Station project during his career (pretty cool).

Over the years we've become good friends - he stays with us twice each year on his journey up to his beloved Killarney. I've since done a canoe trip with him - Killarney, of course, and he has purchased several of my fine art wilderness prints to grace the walls of his home. We've hosted his entire family, and different combinations of them many times. Next spring we're planning to visit them in the U.S., and have been promised a red carpet tour of Washington while we're there.

This all grew out of a brief conversation on a portage in the rain.

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2016, 11:01 pm 
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One more for ya...

A few years ago I was on a three week solo trip in Quetico. Early one morning, perhaps 6:45am, I found myself on a seldom used campsite on a quiet lake in the heart of the park. I sat beneath my tarp sipping coffee and reading while waiting out a steady rain. All of a sudden I heard "Hello!", which startled the hell out of me. I looked out into the downpour to see two men sitting in their canoe, fully packed, amid the heavy rain.

One of the men, probably in his fifties, hopped out of the canoe an came up to talk with me beneath my tarp. "Sorry to bother you", he said, "but I have a favour to ask you." My gears began to turn.

He proceeded to tell me that he grew up in Minnesota, but now lives in the southern U.S. Throughout his life his family had canoed together. It was in his DNA. Five years prior his mother had died, and each year since he has made the pilgrimage to Quetico, and paddled into this sacred spot with a few more ounces of her ashes. The campsite that I had chosen was also the one where he had, for several years, placed a small pile of her ash on the moss by a large boulder in the woods behind the site.

The favour he requested was that I simply allow him a few minutes to return her dust to the land in the place that he had chosen years before - a place they used to visit together.

I felt privileged to have been witness to such a meaningful act of honour and dedication. He returned from the woods, we chatted briefly, and they paddled off into the grey.

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PostPosted: August 31st, 2016, 7:44 am 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2006, 4:25 pm
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Location: Milton
I have met quite a few mostly in and around Agawa Canyon while riding the rails to go in.
Many of the old timers I have met are now gone but when the ACR passenger service was going they also made a return pilgrimage.
I met George the "Wawa Beaverton" the first year we went in on the train.
He took it upon himself to interrogate me on my skills of paddling down the Agawa.
I passed the test and he told the conductors so.
Now everyone knows him if you watched Still Standing from Wawa last year.
I met him a number of times going up.
http://www.cbc.ca/stillstanding/videos/ ... an-in-wawa

I also met Shaun Parent (on the train again )when he was first heading into the Canyon to climb.
http://www.superior-exploration.ca
We are still friends and keep in contact about the conditions in the Canyon and I always stop to check his camp for him on my fall trips.

Then there is the Grandson of the Surveyor who surveyed the way through the narrowest part of the Canyon over 100 years ago.
I met him when he was 82, and is now 94, he first went into the Canyon as a teenager in the 30's
We are still in contact.

Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: September 3rd, 2016, 12:34 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1662
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
canoeguitar wrote:
While I cherish the quiet and solitude of canoe tripping, occasionally you cross paths with other paddlers, and the chance meeting leaves a lasting impression on you. Some kindle friendships, some leave us feeling inspired, while still other encounters can be downright bizarre.


I have met some who were inspiring, a few who were bizarre and a lot who were memorable.

I’m into my sixth decade now and am continually inspired meeting Septuagenarian and beyond paddlers. I admired their spirit and can only hope.

Not to be ageist; some of the most memorable were Vicenarian groups toughing it out and discovering their skills with crap gear and cheap boats. I admire their spirit as well, and those ill-equipped youngsters always take me down memory lane.

More than meeting noteworthy or famous paddler folk I am most often struck in conversation to learn that I am one-handshake-away from someone just met.

I had a three week river trip 2000 miles from home where damn near everyone I met was closer than seven degrees of separation. Usually one or two degrees away, occasionally with someone I had but recently met during the cross-country traverse.

The oddest of those small worlds was meeting a 20-something young woman from Washington State. I am not even sure how we got there conversationally, but her Godfather was my longtime boss in Maryland. My occasional companion on that trip camped with two guys whom his mother had taught High School English.

It’s a small world.


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PostPosted: September 3rd, 2016, 5:56 pm 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Max the naked kayaker in the Everglades. Big hat
Mike Ranta this year.
Joel Beckwith and his tool box for a post Monarch vs palm tree encounter
A German soloist on the Snake who decided to hike "those mountains" no map but a good sense of adventure
A German in a white wet Speedo waving a hanky size map asking "Vere Iss I"

Tracking Phil Cotton in Wabakimi on a private trip enjoying all the newly cleared portages and coming down to a put in and there he is Words were "yer Late"
Im into my eighth decade now. Either Mc Crea is a really early retiree or his math is off. I am hoping the latter.


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PostPosted: September 4th, 2016, 4:19 am 
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Joined: April 21st, 2004, 10:52 am
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Location: Near Ottawa ON
The Nemaska Cree.
We were just some guys paddling down a river but they treated us like honoured guests.
Met a band member fishing walleye and sturgeon on the Rupert who hailed us with a good natured "Welcome to my river". Visited the next day by an older couple in a power-boat who invited us to their summer gathering a few days paddle downriver.
The guy on the dock greeted us with "White-men, you are welcome here, but stay away from our women". The timing and tone were perfect and I about fell out of my boat when I convulsed in laughter.
The first four people we met all introduced themselves with feigned officiousness as The Chief. The real Chief assigned us a particularly loquacious faux-chief who showed us around their camp, accompanied by a gaggle of children and dogs. Patient good natured demonstrations as they mended their nets, cleaned and smoked sturgeon, crafting a giant wooden spoon appropriate for the huge pot for a coming communal feast and various other cool things.
Good people.

In the same vain, through a series of serendipitous events paddling the Soper River my sister and I were hosted to a meal in Kimmirut at the home of Baffin Island's first Innuit RCMP member, long retired and a respected elder. Again, a couple of strangers treated with honour and respect. BTW the meal included baby seal shot the day before served two different ways, mussels harvested from the bay that morning, two different kinds of bannock, dried char (I forget the Inuktitut name) plus char served 2 or 3 different ways, and on and on. But I digress.

Many many others. I could write a book.


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PostPosted: September 4th, 2016, 9:16 am 
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Location: Milton
Great post Krusty! :thumbup:

I was wondering whether LRC and Mike had ever come in contact with DR. Homer Dodge.
I met him first at the Hudson River Derby in North Creek NY in 68.
Paddled with him in several spots in 69.
He was an older Gentleman then and one I hoped to follow as I got older.
He paddled a big Grumman and would not let anyone help him take the boat off or put on his big vehicle (sort of a suburban large type)
He said he would give up paddling when he could no longer put the boat on.
I decided back then that I would not be so stubborn, I would go light weight and accept whatever help I could get!

Also Bill Mason at a WW race at Petit Nation in Quebec.

Lets just say paddle sport gave me huge opportunities in meeting a lot of great people!

Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: September 4th, 2016, 9:44 am 
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Location: Southwest Michigan
Roughly 25 years ago I and a friend met a married couple on the Missinaibi River. It was the first wilderness river canoe trip for me and my friend (Actually, it was the first and only for my friend). This couple, on the other hand, had been paddling and tripping awhile. We ended up sharing an evening meal together . He was a fireman in southwest Ontario and she worked in a camping and paddling gear store. They mentioned an author friend of theirs named Kevin Callan. They also mentioned to me the book “Great Heart” which I bought and thoroughly enjoyed. After the trip we stayed in touch by phone and mail. They were kind enough to sell me a used, food barrel with a harness that I still use today and even delivered to me when they made a trip to Michigan. The next paddling season I was looking for a river with specific characteristics. I asked for their advice. After enquiring to their author friend Kevin they recommended to me that I paddle the white river. Eventually we lost touch.

I had taken a solo trip on the East branch of the Spanish. The White river then would be my second solo river trip. I was still quite inexperienced.

The day I drove up was sunny and pleasant. When I turned off the highway toward Pukaskwa park where I camped for the night I learned my first lesson about the power of Lake Superior. Within the 15 kilometers from the highway to the park the weather changed considerably. Fog rolled in and the temperature dropped.

I had purchased topographical maps while in route. I was delighted to find at Pukaskwa a White River guide map that included helpful notes and descriptions. As I lay down for the evening I was anxious to read these comments. As mentioned, I had done just two real wilderness whitewater river trips. Only one of these was a solo trip.

As I read the map notes I became uneasy. I found statements such as "Those of you familiar with flatwater paddling areas, like Algonquin or Quetico, or more relaxed moving water routes like the Spanish River, should realize that the White is a different experience. The terrain here is more rugged, water faster, rapids bigger, portages rougher." This seemed to speak directly to me. I had been to Algonquin. I had been to Quetico and the Spanish was the one river I had taken a solo trip on. I also read, “Paddlers should travel in groups of 2-4 canoes for safety.” I was about to brave this river alone!

That evening my sleep was fitful. I wondered what I should do. I prayed for guidance. Should I abandon my plans as reckless? I had driven 600 miles. Should I go ahead as planned?

In the morning I went through the supposedly mandatory ranger orientation for all who paddle on the White. I then rushed the forty miles to White Lake Provincial Park, the beginning point of my trip.

That morning, at the park, there was a talk being given. The speaker was none other than Kevin Callan! I knew he was the author of a popular guide book that had a chapter on the White River though I had never seen the book. I also knew he was the source of the recommendation of this river that had been passed on to me by my friends. I had arrived on time to hear the last of his open air comments. When the meeting was finished I introduced myself. He explained that, by invitation, he was making his way from park to park giving talks.

I began asking questions about the river. Kevin discerned that I was nervous. As we looked out over White Lake where my journey was to begin, he reached out and put his arm around me and said, “Don’t worry brother you are going to be Ok.” Kevin lived more a thousand miles from where we stood. But here he was, an experienced individual who had been on this river before, with his arm around me telling me not to worry. My wondering had been answered. I would go on my trip. I am sure glad I did! Never met Kevin again.


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PostPosted: September 5th, 2016, 11:41 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
littleredcanoe wrote:
Max the naked kayaker in the Everglades. Big hat
Joel Beckwith and his tool box for a post Monarch vs palm tree encounter


I’ve met both Naked Max in the Everglades and Naked Ed on the Santa Fe.

http://www.sptimes.com/News/081300/Flor ... illy.shtml

Must be a Florida thing. There was a Naked Mike on the Rio Grande in the 80’s, but after he endured sunburn on his pale Scot’s ass cheeks he opted to wear clothes in the future.

Beckwith sounds like a character. I bet he would be fun to have in the shop.

littleredcanoe wrote:
A German in a white wet Speedo waving a hanky size map asking "Vere Iss I"


I’ll see your German and raise you four totally lost and clueless guys floating down the Green in rental Grummans with nothing but the single page outfitter hand out map. As they floated past Shot Canyon they called out “Is this Jasper Canyon?”

Shouting back “Uh, no, you passed Jasper 5 miles ago, this is Shot”. I didn’t bother to mention that if it had been Shot Canyon they were floating the bubble line on the wrong side of the now broad and fast river. Wave bye bye.

We heard stories in the jetboat ride out of their remarkable ineptitude from other folks who had shared the trailer shuttle ride in with them or encountered them on the river. Whatever; I’ll bet it was the trip of their lives and they’re still talking about it.

OK, I did briefly entertain the thought of shouting back “When you come to a T-intersection in a couple miles turn left” sending them up the Colorado at the confluence.

littleredcanoe wrote:
Im into my eighth decade now. Either Mc Crea is a really early retiree or his math is off. I am hoping the latter.


Both. Started young and got my 35 years in, despite being bad at math.

Seventh decade.


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PostPosted: September 5th, 2016, 2:08 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Speaking of age we had a group of 12 floating down the St John. 11 of us knew each other and one was from another chapter of a Maine outing club but lived on Mount Desert Island so we did not know him
As he was a member of the other chapter in state of the particular club we thought he would be OK. We met at a diner for lunch the day before. He was 20 years younger than we were and probably wpndered what he was in for
We stayed in Allagash Village that night and he went back to Ft. Kent as he stated he had forgotten beer. Now remember, we have already gone through Fort Kent once that day and it was not close by.
Fishy. Hours later he had not returned. We had the Aroostook County Sheriffs Dept combing the few roads there are up there in the dark.

Next day.. no return from "beer run". We figured he had backed out and was so cowardly as not to have the guts to tell us.

We did the trip. Someone had to solo a tandem on this up to class3 river but we had a good time

Upon return five days later we were"still concerned about him" and to get even had the Hancock County Sheriff pay a visit at his home for a good old asskicking. Which they gleefully did.

I met Naked Ed too but he had just returned from town. was dressed in layers of flannels and looked ill. I didn't stay long at his pretty lagoon.


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