May 7, 2007, 2:44 PM
Post #1 of 1
Canoes and kayaks are the marine corps of summer camp. These swift, amphibious, maneuverable water craft are easily launched and landed, or transported on long trips through a network of lakes and rivers, then lifted on shoulders and trekked along portage trails.
Summer Camp Explorers
The enjoyment of hand-propelled craft lies in their ability to skirt across the water, roam the shores of the camp, or rest in place on lakes and rivers.
Navigating canoes & kayaks demand skills, experience and safety, but the fundamentals are easily learned and built on.
Canoe tripping can be a tough go, but the challenge is worth the effort. Under the guidance of master trippers, campers achieve a closer relationship to nature than if they dallied near the shore. They stray afar, paddling, portaging muddy trails, then pushing farther across water.
North American Indians created the prototypical canoe – a framework of wooden ribs encased by lightweight bark. Modern canoes have maintained this essential structure with the addition of sturdier materials, like:
Wood with epoxy coating and varnish.
A Brief History of the Canoe & Exploration of North America
North America was explored and settled through small water craft, like canoes, first by Native Indians and later by French, British and American adventurers. The canoe provided aboriginal people with access to the water and its aquatic abundance — food, clothing and shelter — a passageway to fish, water mammals, furs, pelts, and vegetation.
It is no wonder that so many camps have assumed Native Indian identities through names, emblems, and totem insignia — criticized by some as cultural appropriation — but still a positive metaphor of aboriginal life.
European and American explorers adopted the canoe and crisscrossed large portions of North America, surveying and prospecting uncharted territories.
French voyageurs (Coureurs des Bois/Runners of the Woods) traded with Indians for furs and pushed further into the North American network of rivers and lakes.
Through the powerful Hudson's Bay Company, the British controlled much of Canada and parts of the northern USA, traveling the extensive inland waterway systems to trade their products in exchange for beaver pelts.
American frontiersmen combined travel by foot and small water vessels to explore and expand a young country. Eventually, Lewis & Clark scouted thousands of miles of unknown region by following the Missouri and Columbia Rivers from St. Louis, MO, to Portland, OR.
Waterways and lakes served as the source of exploration and settlement in North America. Modern summer camp re-invokes the spirit of tough, self-propelled travel, outdoor adventure, and a return to nature.
Landscape Painting Meets Canoeing
Canoes also provided the launching handiwork for Canada's most beloved landscape painters – the Group of Seven – who painted isolated areas around Ontario's Algonquin Park, Georgian Bay, Muskoka and Algoma regions – and other Canadian areas.
They hiked and canoed to remote spots, packing canvas, easels, paints and brushes.
The Group of Seven inspired many nature painters by translating the aura of the landscape into the captured essence of design, now on show in many museums and art galleries.
Travel, exploration, pushing physical limits, living in tents, artistic expression . . . it's all there in canoeing and kayaking – available for Summer Camp 2007.
For More Information on the Group of Seven: - McMichael Gallery.
Tour: The Canadian Canoe Museum - The Collection.
Stephen Winbaum is the Communications Coordinator of MySummerCamps.com
(This post was edited by stephenwinbaum on Jan 17, 2009, 4:06 PM)