On January 15, 2011, I had the distinct pleasure of spending the day with Pinock Smith, a master builder, known for his traditional canoe-building methods.
I first heard of Pinock in the second season of Ray Mears’ Bushcraft, where he and Ray built an authentic birchbark canoe in a week. They worked on screen again in Northern Wilderness, to build a set of snowshoes. They are both great shows, but nothing can come close to meeting and talking with someone who has that knowledge, and being able to ask the questions that are important to you.
(What I carry is nowhere near as nice as this, but the concept is essentially the same. These are from J.a.G Woodworking)
I’d like to talk about one decision I’ve made when it comes to kitchen on a canoe trip. There’s a part of me that wants to go as ultra-light as possible, knife and a flint striker and some rope, and improvise from there, but there’s another, more obsessive side that wants to bring every gadget possible. Somewhere in the middle is the ideal camping kit. That ideal pack obviously is different for each individual, and indeed, changes for me on a constant basis.
One peice of kit that has started coming with me on any canoe trip longer than three days is my version of a wanigan. Bill Casselman’s “Canadian Word of the Day” site describes it better than I could.
So, I’m long overdue on the trip reports. I started a new job last year, and I’m coming up on my first anniversary in a week. The time has flown by, and the crunch of new responsibilities has died down a bit. I’ve gone on a few trips, and I’m ready to start keeping up with the photos and reviews and trip reports. This is a bit of a year of firsts.
The first first on this trip was going to an entrance point I’d never been to: Entrance 16, on the East side of Algonquin.
This was a good trip for my friend Keith’s first time into Algonquin, in terms of what to expect for canoeing, since the Tim River to Rosebary, and then on from Longbow to Sitting Man Lake (our final destination) is a good mix of winding rivers, grassy marsh, ponds, and nice, open lakes with deeper water — a good distance to cross all of it in one day.
read about the rest of the trip – boobs, beavers, moose and strange fingers.
I’m off to Algonquin for the first backcountry trip of the year (actually, I’ve done some winter hikes, so it’s the first canoe trip of the season). I’ve taken the canoe out for a quick spin already, but I find the first trip always to be the toughest… I spend all winter forgetting what it’s like. Invariably, I’ll have forgotten something, and I know I’ve taken too much with me again. This winter seems particularly bad, as I just spent it cocooning.
I’m going with someone new, and it’s his first time in the backcountry, so I’ve basically brought enough for three people… I’m sure I’ll pay for it in my aching back, hauling all of that stuff out.