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“But none touch my




At summer camp, sizing a paddle was as easy as grabbing one that stood at my toes and touched my nose. As adults with greater attention spans and finer attention to details, most of us now seek a more precise fit that combines hand position, the distance from the lower hand to the water and blade length. Most people begin their quest using the bent arm technique: holding the paddle on your head with your arms at 90-degree angles. A better method is to go paddling and mark your most comfortable and com- mon lower hand position. Your position in the boat, and the boat itself, changes the desired pad- dle length. For example, if you paddle with the boat heeled way over and your lower hand at water level; your hand will be at the top of the blade, or throat, of the paddle. In this case, the ideal paddle length is simply your bent arm length added to whatever blade size you prefer. However, trippers generally prefer to paddle with their lower hands

dropping just below the gunwale. Furthermore, whitewater paddlers ac- tually keep their lower hands above the gunwale. Not to mention that kneeling versus sitting, two weeks worth of gear, bow or stern positions and sitting low in a performance touring canoe all change the distance from your lower hand to the waterline. The most precise sizing method I’ve found gets you in your canoe on the water with a broomstick. You pretend to paddle as you normally would. The part of the stick that remains dry is your ideal shaft length in this canoe. This method accounts for your hand position, seat height, depth of the canoe and paddling style, requiring only the addition of your preferred blade length. I have different length paddles for whitewater C1, slalom, classic solo paddling and tripping. The only thing that remains pretty much the same is my hand position. In each case it took trial and error to figure out what works best for me. —Scott MacGregor is the founder and publisher of Canoeroots.

Ah, what a glorious way to spend an afternopon. outdoors spent focusing on the beauty of nature and the pleasure of our family. We didn’t exactly n the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But this is the antidote for everything that pulls families in different directions. Here, we pull together at our own pace. To some, the pace may be too slow. For us, it can’t be slow enough. We cherish every minutederful sun warmed our compsite. Mindy was the first one up and went about the task of collecting firewood, starting a cooking fire and then mixing pancake batter. For the rest of us, last night’s card game had been enjoyably exhausting. We emerged from our tents to the spits of bacon in the frying pan. This setting, this sun, this group of friends is why we come together every June. It’s the best part of the year for us. Soon, we broke camp, put our canoes in the water and headed for more heavenly scenery, wildlife and good times on the north end of Beaver Trail. It was the kind of day you hope for and sometimes get. Even the water that responded to each stroke of our paddles seemed to recognize that this was a special day. We will spend the other 362 days of the year remembering this one.

pWhatropels you?

q Sharing experiences with our kids q Escaping the city q Working my muscles q Simply being close to water

qMaking new friends, reuniting with old friends

q Watching my daughter grow up q Fishing without a motor q Getting off the beaten track q Watching sunsets from the water q Getting reacquainted with my wife

q Tasting food that’s been cooked outdoors

q White water, calm water, any water

q Teaching my son about the environment

q Forgetting about work q Te peace and quiet

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