How People React to Canoeing

by madcanoe on November 22, 2010

If you’ve never paddled a canoe then you likely don’t get why people do it. And I admit there was once a time when the idea of paddling a canoe down a river was silly and there were plenty of other activities I could think of that I’d rather do. And Bob, a friend of mine was recently curious as to why some folks go canoeing instead of doing other things in their spare time. For a few minutes I tried to school co-worker Bob on the better points of canoeing but it just wasn’t happening. He didn’t appear to truly care. I mentioned that I could show him what is so special about canoeing because that very next Saturday we had a canoe trip on the local canoe trail, and I was amazed he accepted the offer.

June was nearly spent. And I had some worry that I chose the wrong weekend to explain to Bob how to canoe because the weather was going to be overbearingly humid, according to the local weatherman. I sometimes paddled the section of the creek below Glen Hope and thought it would be a good stretch to break Bob in on. We unloaded the canoe from the car and got ready to launch. To my surprise the air was cool that morning and there was plenty of shade over the creek, and the water level was high enough that I felt confident Bob would appreciate the six hour trip. I also knew I could entertain Bob with my understanding of historical and geographical information of the region. I thought fishing would also help to entertain Bob and make him come back for another try at canoeing.

As we paddled under the forest canopy I mentioned to Bob that we would encounter a challenging spot on the creek where the river current increases and we would have to paddle through a few waves and around obstacles. I think I scared him as he suddenly seemed anxious for the trip to end. Bob really had no reaction to the experience. But later on that day Bob was impressed with the grassy fields and farmland we paddled by. I like this part of the creek. It was the hunting opportunity that impressed him, and he didn’t mention the scenery or camping opportunity. I showed Bob the location of the old Lions Club swimming area, and I told him the story of the accidental drowning that was the downfall of the Lions Club swimming area back in the 1960s. He was really only interested in getting off the river before the sun came out at full strength. Finally we arrived at another location where I camped. Bob’s only comment was that the area looked overgrown with weeds and didn’t look comfortable.

I thought the trip was ok. We did some fishing and cooked over a fire. And when I pulled two cold beers out of the cooler Bob’s eyes lit up. Bob was not saying much as we paddled the Penobscot down the water trail, and I knew it was the end of Bob’s canoeing hobby.

Several weeks later we had some rain that raised the creek to a nice paddling level, and I returned to the creek with several other canoeists for another paddle. I really didn’t want to do a similar trip again but I knew there was only a few more weeks of canoeing then the water levels would begin to drop on all the rivers in the area, so I thought why not. On that second canoe trip, while launching my canoe I saw another canoe launch just minutes ahead of me. I knew I’d catch up to them in only a few minutes, and as I rounded that bend I did catch them. It was Bob with his wife.
Since I saw them that last time Bob and his wife have wilderness paddled all the way up in Canada.

I guess Bob got serious about canoeing.

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