Tag Archives: Canoe

Join Sam Cook as he share three whitewater rivers

Outdoor Adventure Series: Whitewater Paddling with Sam Cook

Join Sam Cook as he shares three whitewater rivers

Join Duluth News Tribune outdoors writer Sam Cook as he shares photos and stories from his travels on three “close to home” whitewater paddling destinations — the Bloodvein, Steel and White rivers of Ontario and Manitoba.

Sam has been covering hunting, fishing, camping and all things outdoors for 31 years. He has paddled twice to Hudson Bay as well as numerous other adventures on the whitewater of Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, and Alaska.

Sam has also traveled by dog team on Canada’s Great Slave Lake and Baffin Island.

He is the author of six books and has won numerous journalism awards.

You can follow him on Twitter at: samcookoutdoors.

7:00 PM • Tuesday, January 24th • FREE • Duluth Pack Store • 365 Canal Park Drive

Courtesy of the Toledo Blade

Biggest Outdoor Adventure Stories of 2011; Part 1

The end of 2011 draws closer and the popular thing to do is put out lists summarizing the year previous. Well, here I am sucked into the trend, hand-picking and choosing the stories that stick out in my mind as memorable ones. Please enjoy the first four of my eight biggest, outdoor adventure stories of 2011.

8. Surfing the World’s Tallest Wave • Rumor has it that Garrett McNamara has surfed a 90-foot wave off of Portugal during the ZON North Canyon show of 2011. Buddies surfing with him confirm they all rode waves in the 60+ range. Then McNamara got on a wave that was reported by his surfing partners as 30 feet larger. We will keep you updated as we confirm this amazing ride.

7. Minnesotan Attempts to Solo Climb Denali • In January of 2011 Lonnie Dupre, winner of the Rolex Award for Enterprise attempted a solo summit of Denali. Dupre, from Grand Marais, Minnesota was hoping to be the first to reach the top of Denali solo in January. He reached the height of 17,200 feet before being pinned down for six days by a storm bearing 100 mph winds. In addition to the storm an earthquake of 5.4 magnitude just 30 miles away. Rumor has it that he will try the solo summit again in the January of 2012.

6. 881-Pound Tuna Seized by Federal Authorities • While I realize a very similar story was reported in 2010, these giant fish stories fascinate me. Seems Carlos Rafael and his crew were fishing off Massachusetts and snagged the massive fish in their nets. Only problem is: tuna are only legally caught on rod and reel so the Feds took control of the giant Bluefin, and left Mr. Rafael high and dry.

5. Hudson Bay Bound • Two recent graduates of St. Olaf College are the first women to trace the 2250 mile route made famous by Eric Severeid in the book Canoeing with the Cree. Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren left Fort Snelling on June 2nd and arrived at York Factory on Hudson Bay 85 days later, one week ahead of schedule.

There you have it, part one of the biggest outdoor adventure stories of 2011. What have I missed? What was the biggest story of the year in your memory? Maybe your story will make part two of my list, or leave me a comment below and tell me what you think.

Hudson's Bay Point Blanket

The Voyageur, the Canoe, and the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. Begun under English royal charter in 1670, the Hudson Bay Company made its name and reputation as a fur trader, but today owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada.

The founding of the Hudson Bay Company coincided with the era of the voyageur and the fur trade in North America. These voyageurs were using large canoes to transport 90 pound bales of fur pelts over the trade routes of the Great Lakes and as far west as modern day Manitoba. The typical interior river canoe was 25 feet long, paddled by five or six men, and carried 25 to 30 of the heavy fur bales.

In the 1700’s European demand for fur grew, as did the number of voyageurs and the success of the Hudson Bay Company. The HBC held a near monopoly on the fur trade and employed hundreds of voyageurs that were once independent contractors. At the peak the HBC was trading in an area greater than 3,000,000 square miles, and had 1,500 contract employees.

The Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket was born in the 18th century as a currency of exchange with First Nation Tribes. The blankets were traded to Native Americans for beaver pelts, buffalo robes, and other goods. The wool blankets were coveted because they were easier to sew than bison hides and retained their ability to hold heat even when wet.

The “points” or small lines stitched into the side of the blanket have led to a common misconception. Many believe that these points denote the number of beaver pelts it would take to trade for a Hudson’s Bay blanket. In truth, these points were sewn into the fabric to denote size of the blanket. On display a merchant would immediately know the size of the blanket without having to unfold it for the customer.

The four colored stripes of the Hudson’s Bay blanket have become a North American icon. Today the blankets are made in England by John Atkinson, with Woolrich Inc. of Pennsylvania holding the official license to import them into the United States. When you see that familiar tag with the red, green, yellow, and indigo stripes you know you are looking at a long and storied history.

The new carbon fiber paddle from Bending Branches

Bending Branches debuts their new Black Pearl carbon fiber paddle

Hard charging, performance-touring paddlers are going to love the new Black Pearl carbon fiber canoe paddle from Bending Branches. Made from high tech materials and coming in at just 14 ounces this paddle will be a great addition for your lightweight Kevlar canoe. The company recently debuted the new Black Pearl paddle at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, 2011.

American made Bending Branches (BB) was founded in 1982 by whitewater paddlers Dale Kicker and Ron Hultman. By building composite paddles with Kevlar tip guards, which became known as rock guards, they revolutionized the industry and changed paddling forever. This small, privately held company in Wisconsin has built more than one million paddles for canoeists and kayakers.

The Black Pearl was built as an answer to Bending Branches customers who own and paddle high-end canoes built of Kevlar or carbon fiber. They wanted a lightweight, strong paddle to match well with their lightweight boat. The Black Pearl gives them the ability to partner a high tech touring paddle with their high tech boat.

It starts with a carbon fiber touring blade paired with a carbon fiber composite shaft, a very stiff, light combination. The paddle is topped off with a carbon grip built to fit the paddlers’ hand. Dale Kicker has said he believes it to be the most comfortable grip they have built. At 14 ounces this paddle possesses an extremely high strength to weight ratio, and with the large touring blade it is maximum efficiency on the canoe trail.

This paddle will be ideal for the canoeist who likes to have the newest, fastest technology in their hands. And, has been waiting for a high-end paddle to pair with their high-end boat for outstanding performance touring.

Grab one of these paddles today, get your canoe pack out of the garage, and be ready for the Boundary Waters tomorrow. And don’t forget one for you bowman, too.

Portage me back to DuluthPack.com

 

hybrid

Canoe or Kayak? Both! The Canak by Wenonah

The popularity of the kayak is growing by leaps and bounds. The canoe is the preferred method of travel in the Boundary Waters and the Quetico. There must be a hybrid that tours like a kayak and hauls gear like a canoe. I promised you a curveball and here it is: the Canak by Wenonah.

The following is a review I wrote last August just after paddling the Canak prototype for the first time.

The first thing I noticed about the Wenonah prototype kayak/canoe blend was the stability. I climbed into the cockpit from a dock and the boat hardly waivered. Being built on the Prism this should have been no surprise. As I paddled out with a kayak paddle the boat gained speed easily, with no loss of stability.

At one point I did attempt to roll the boat up onto the shoulders, and while stability felt good, it is really a maneuver to be done while kneeling. And this is not a kneeling cockpit because it is made up of a tractor seat and rail.

The wind was blowing stiff the day I tested the boat, therefore I headed out into the whitecaps to check performance. The boat tracked well on flat water and did very well in the waves. Going straight upwind, quartering upwind, and even letting the waves take the boat broadside didn’t affect the ability to hold the line or the stability.

Some water did come over the bow and I made the mistake of taking the cockpit covers off before venturing out. Should have left that cover on to protect from splash. On trail in such a case the covers should be left on both the bow and the stern.

Additionally, I paddled with both the kayak paddle and the canoe paddle, but I have to prefer the kayak paddle. Using a Bending Branches adjustable I stretched it out to the maximum and was able to reach out for a nice stroke. The decks on this boat created a situation where I felt I was reaching out too much with the canoe paddle.

The seat felt tall, I would like to paddle another prototype in which the seat might be lowered to the hull, but still keeping the sliding rail and seat. I moved the seat on the rail and could feel the boat change favorably with the weight adjustment. After having spoke with the designer I now know keeping the seat high was a purposeful design trait.

Additions to the cockpit might include a foot bar or foot pegs to brace against. I was pulling hard upwind and would have liked to have an anchor for my feet.

There’s the Canak, a great blend, and the best of both paddling worlds.

By: Brad Putney. “Captain” Brad Putney considers himself an inland waters guru after spending 40 years on the lakes of Minnesota. The Captain likes to say he has been at the helm of everything from a ten-foot inflatable to an America’s Cup yacht. Mr. Putney can be found at the Duluth Pack Store, helpfully dispensing free advice. He has degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota. Please contact at: truenorth@tds.net.