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 Post subject: Happy CANOE Year!!!!
PostPosted: December 31st, 2011, 8:36 am 
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Joined: January 16th, 2010, 8:46 am
Posts: 299
Location: Ontario
Only one more day left in 2011….this has been an interesting year for many of us in paddling….issues over the proposed registration of canoes as commercial vessels….Becky Mason released a great new DVD on paddling….Rapid Media continued to become one of ‘the’ sources on paddling, forming partnerships with the American Canoe Association and Paddle Canada to offer its various paddling publications (including my favourite Canoeroots) to more paddlers; as well they produced their first Paddlesports Buyers Guide….the Canadian Canoe Museum opened up a wonderful exhibit on Walter Walker….and the outside of the building got a great new facade of canoes and kayaks being paddled on its walls….

Canoeing and paddling was not without its losses too….Kirk Wipper passed away this year….his numerous contributions to canoes and canoeing have been written about in great detail on these pages before….certainly his collection of canoes that became the Canadian Canoe Museum is but one of many such contibutions….some of his former U of T B.P.H.E. students, Kandalore staff, and friends portaged a canoe from Toronto to Peterborough….and in May many gathered at the Museum to remember Kirk and celebrate his life….

Kirk was certainly one of the biggest influences in not only my paddling, but also my life….he was more than just one of my professors….but very much my friend and mentor….he is very much missed….but certainly not forgotten….thoughts of Kirk are never far….and his words still continue to inspire:

The canoe carried aboriginal people for thousands of years, followed then by the explorers and the missionaries and the engineers and the surveyors….until in modern times it gives us the gift of freedom. The canoe is a vehicle that carries you into pretty exciting places, not only into whitewater but into the byways and off-beaten places….You are removed entirely from the mundane aspects of ordinary life. You’re witnessing first hand beauty and peace and freedom – especially freedom….Flirtation with the wilderness is contact with truth, because the truth is in nature….I like to identify myself with something that is stable and enduring. Although [nature] is in a state of flux, it is enduring. It is where reality is. I appreciate the canoe for its gifts in that direction. - Kirk Wipper, from CBC Radio’s Ideas program The Perfect Machine: The Canoe.

Watercraft was humankind’s most important conveyance outside of walking. - Kirk Wipper

In its contemporary use, the canoe and kayak become a medium to experience peace, beauty, freedom and adventure. These values are of utmost significance in a world which has lost much of its contact with the profound lessons learned in nature. To travel the paths in natural places makes all the differences and in this the canoe and kayak are essential partners. – Kirk Wipper

First, the canoe connects us to Ma-ka-ina, Mother Earth, from which we came and to which we must all return. Councils of those who were here before us revered the earth and also the wind, the rain, and the sun – all essential to life. It was from that remarkable blending of forces that mankind was allowed to create the canoe and its several kindred forms.

From the birch tree, came the bark; from the spruce, pliant roots; from the cedar, the ribs, planking and gunwales; and from a variety of natural sources, the sealing pitch.

In other habitats, great trees became dugout canoes while, in treeless areas, skin, bone and sinew were ingeniously fused into kayaks. Form followed function, and manufacture was linked to available materials. Even the modern canoe, although several steps away from the first, is still a product of the earth. We have a great debt to those who experienced the land before us. No wonder that, in many parts of the world, the people thank the land for allowing its spirit to be transferred to the canoe.

Hand-propelled watercraft still allow us to pursue the elemental quest for tranquility, beauty, peace, freedom and cleaness. It is good to be conveyed quietly, gracefully, to natural rhythms….

The canoe especially connects us to rivers – timeless pathways of the wilderness. Wave after wave of users have passed by. Gentle rains falling onto a paddler evaporate skyward to form clouds and then to descend on a fellow traveller, perhaps in another era. Like wise, our waterways contain something of the substance of our ancestors. The canoe connects us to the spirit of these people who walk beside us as we glide silently along riverine trails. – Kirk Wipper, in foreword to Canexus (also published as “Connections” in Stories From The Bow Seat: The Wisdom And Waggery Of Canoe Tripping by Don Standfield and Liz Lundell, p. 15)

An interest in the wilderness means getting there, and getting there means canoes.- Kirk Wipper (from 2010 interview)

A better understanding of one’s past can only lead to better understanding of one’s present and one’s future. (Quote from slide at Kirk Wipper’s presentation in Gravenhurst in October 2010….shown on video of this talk by Brian Hayden, from his Docanoementary.)

You have to do what you can, do your best with what you are. And you have to believe in wilderness. If you do that you can’t go wrong. – Kirk Albert Walter Wipper b Grahamdale, Manitoba, December 6th, 1923 d Peterborough, Ontario, March 18, 2011

Personally, 2011 was not my greatest year on the water….fewer days spent paddling than in the previous year….partly because of an injury to my shoulder….old age obviously has started to catch up with me LOL LOL (of course as E.B. White once wrote a canoe is perfect for an old man: all he has to do is sit and move his arms LOL LOL)….but on a positive note, I did get to share my passion for canoes and canoeing with many others….I got to speak at various paddling related events….on Tom Thomson and his canoe in Kitchener in April….also in the same month I got to talk about wood canvas canoes and paddles at the ORCA Seminar: Tripping, Then And Now (of which I was proud to be part of the organizing committee, along with Bob Henderson, Bruce Hawkins et al)….and I got to share some of my memories of Kirk Wipper at the memorial for Kirk at the Canadian Canoe Museum in May….I also had the opportunity to demonstrate paddling at the Spring Cottage Life Show in March (although the water wasn’t quite deep enough in the demo pool - only 14 to 20 inches - to really do the Canadian Style paddling demonstration I had intended….but then I did get to use a nice Badger Cub paddle….and even a Swift canoe)….

So while I didn’t get a chance to paddle as much as I had intended, I didn’t do too bad for an old man….I can still sit in a canoe and move my arms LOL LOL….most of the time any way LOL LOL….

2011 was not without its environmental concerns….global warming and climate change are still on many minds….oil pipelines and oil spills….and so many more issues world-wide….even more locally with issues like Wolf Lake in Temagami….

At this time of year, we begin to reflect on the year about to end….and think about the year ahead….making plans and even resolutions for the coming year….two years ago there was a post on the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association’s forum, In it Kathy Klos cited the famous old New Year’s standard Auld Lang Syne, quoting the fourth stanza that most may not know but which states:

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

Obviously this has some ties to canoeing and to paddling (it does say “we paddled” after all….even I was quick enough to see that LOL LOL). But after rereading Kathy’s post….and rereading the version of Auld Lang Syne she quoted, I thought it might be appropriate to reword this verse. So I wrote my own version, especially as a wish for all to have the very best of a new paddling year. Hope you enjoy:

Should old wood canoes be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old paddling pals be forgot,
and memories of the past year’s canoe trips left behind?

For canoes of wood and places still wild,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll raise our paddles yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll restore that favourite old boat!
and surely at the very least I’ll recanvas mine!
And soon we’ll take to the waters again, not much longer yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have carried across each and every portage,
and watched the skies for weather’s sign;
And we’ve paddled many a weary mile,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the middle of the lake,
from morning sun till it’s time to dine;
With nothing between us but smooth waters, no waves or wind
since auld lang syne.


And so I’ve traveled in my old canoe, my trusty friend!
And with paddle in hand, I’ve dipped the blade below the waterline!
Next year we’ll take another good long trip, venturing again into wilderness
as we have since auld lang syne.


So let me raise a paddle yet,
And wish all nothing but good cheer
May your canoeing be great in 2012
And have a Happy New Year….or rather a Happy CANOE Year!!!!

Finally, on New Year’s Day, there are several ways to celebrate 2012….even the annual paddle planned for the Chicago area…..this great way to ring in the New Year is described on the Chicagoland Canoe Basin website bulletin, HAPPY CA – NEW YEAR FROM CHICAGOLAND CANOE BASE – Let’s start out the New Year the right way: Join us on the North Branch, January 1, 2012,

So I wish each and everyone on MYCCR the very best of paddling for 2012....and have a Happy CANOE Year!!!!

[i]And the paddle, in the water, is a long, lost friend.
There are times I’d like to wander down a river without end,
In a hull of flowing cedar, carved by knowing hands....[/i]
From [i]Shield[/i] by Dave Hadfield


 Post subject: Re: Happy CANOE Year!!!!
PostPosted: January 1st, 2012, 9:58 am 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 7514
Location: Scarbados, Ontario Canada
You sure get into the New Year spirit in a grand way! ...and I hope today's paddle event will be a success.

And to you and all, a Happy New Year as well!

“What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on?” - Thoreau

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