History Of The Canoe In The North East
Canoeing has been the preferred method of spring, summer, and fall travel in the boreal forest for thousands of years. The waterways were the lifeblood of early native peoples. In Maine, winters were spent in the vast forests where they hunted and trapped. Soon after the ice went out they began their trip to the coast, where they would spend the summer harvesting food from the sea. In the fall, they would return to their forest hunting grounds, poling upriver with smoked and dried foods.
When the French arrived in the new world, they quickly adopted the ways of the natives and began a colorful period of history known as the fur trade. French Voyageurs would paddle thousands of miles a year, transporting fur from the outlying areas to Montreal, Quebec, and the coast for shipment to the markets of Europe. These Frenchmen sang colorful songs by which they measured their paddling cadence, and carried almost superhuman loads on the portage trail. During his job interview, the potential voyageur for the Hudson’s Bay Company was asked if he could swim. If he answered yes, he didn’t get the job. The company wanted their employees to be terrified of swamping the canoe in order to protect the valuable cargo of fur. If they felt they might not survive if the canoe swamped, they would surely be very cautious.
Our Fleet Of Freight Canoes
Our fleet of boats includes two handmade 20′ wood/canvas White guide canoes, eight 18′ and three 16′ Prospector canoes (Royalex) made by Nova Craft Canoe in Ontario and one 20′ (Royalex) Old Town Tripper XL. They were chosen based on being responsive to the paddle and pole and able to carry a heavy load without drawing a lot of water.
Expeditions And Destinations
Extensive canoe skills are taught during The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. For a standalone, 4-week canoe expedition experience, we offer the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. Shorter standalone trips are available by request, and are occasionally scheduled. Destinations where we guide are listed below.