Thursday, September 29, 2011

Daytrip - Algonquin Edge Scouting Trip

Here are some shots of a daytrip to the Western Edge of Algonquin Park. Fall colours have begun. Some of my previous experiences in Algonquin park have been disappointments...mostly because of dirty campsites littered with refuse from disrespectful campers. These tend to be the well used "maintained" routes.

With a single day devoted to exploring, I thought I would venture to a region that is technically not part of the park, and therefore appears on maps as an "unmaintained" region. An added bonus is that it is only 20 minutes away from our Cottage.

Access is from a little trail right off Highway 60 which leads into a boggy section of "Park Lake". On the Algonquin Adventures forums a while back, a question was asked about the worst/ugliest lake in the whole park...someone answered this "Park Lake". Wasn't that bad in my opinion...but its unfortunate location running parallel to the busy Highway 60 corridor means you certainly hear transport trucks rumbling over the hilly terrain. Not much of wilderness experience here.

Start Access Point

View across the length of Park Lake

Hills stating to change

Despite this, the lake had lots of wildlife, owing to some boggy areas along eastern and western edges. Plenty of waterfowl like bufflehead ducks, loons, and even a great blue heron in these areas. My goal was to paddle to the small chain of lakes tucked behind the hills and scout the "unmaintained" campsite on a little spit of land jutting into Victory Lake.

After paddling the canoe through some weedy shallows and over an old beaver dam, I entered Victory lake and landed the canoe at the base of the site.

Campsite landing

Clean, sweet little site

Pleasantly surprised! It was an clean, elevated site with a nice fire ring and some perfectly spaced out trees for my hammock. Someone also built some two flat benches with some stones around the fire pit. For an unmaintained site not officially part of the park, this was one of the cleanest I've ever bit of food or junk in the firepit and even a nice pile of wood stacked up for the next visitor.

The lake has plenty of dried wood along the shoreline and a nice creek at the end which begged for more exploration. A little upstream I just missed snapping a pic of a beaver.

Solitary maple turning

Bright's Creek

Just missed the beaver

In any event, time was running out and I had to head back. While certainly not a deep backcountry location, I'll be heading back here again for an overnighter eventually. The added bonus for my worried wife is that there is cellphone coverage at this location so she can call me to rush back home at the slightest emergency.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Motorcyle & Canoe Sidecar

From the The Vintagent, a site devoted to vintage motorcycles, comes this fantastic "sidecar"...

Website details:
"In 1925 through 1927, the Rudge-Whitworth company introduced a line of touring accessories which have never been equaled by any other motorcycle manufacturer...

Specifically, Rudge introduced a full touring caravan, complete with dining table and beds, which could be towed behind one of their '4-valve, 4-speed' models. Added to this, one could order a sidecar chassis carrying a quick-detachable canoe! This was no 'miniature' boat, as some manufacturers produced in the 1950's for sidecar haulage; the Rudge canoe was fully 14 feet long. Yet, the company advertised that the "Canoe sidecar can be turned round in a circle of 20 feet diameter, which very few motor cars are capable of doing. To river lovers it gives great mobility and makes it possible to become acquainted with half the rivers in the country."

Here's another shot of a similar scene.

Man oh man this would make arranging canoe shuttles a blast on river trips!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Paddle Hemp Oil

Lately, most of my paddles have been maintained in basic oil finish. I prefer the simplicity of oil, the feel, and the ease of doing touchups. Most oil finishes have chemical solvents to speed up the drying process...chemicals that are quite toxic and foul smelling.

I've been intrigued with a new product brought out by the good folks over at Badger Canoe Paddles, a hemp based finishing oil. A lengthy writeup on their blog sounded very convincing. And after seeing the gorgeous satiny smooth finish on some of their commercial paddles at a local outfitter, I decided to give the oil a try on the spruce bushcraft cree paddle recently painted and on the canoe pole made last summer. So far, I'm very happy with the product and it's now my finish of choice. Obviously, you pay a premium price for a specialty finishing oil like this but it's great for those who want to get away from nasty solvents and other chemicals.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Historic Photo - Louis Mitchell - Passamaquoddy

Here are some shots of another "Celebrity" canoe paddle. That of Louis Mitchell, a Passamaquoddy who apparently was the first Indian member of the Legislature of Maine.

Louis Mitchell, Passamaquoddy, in a Canoe at Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John, New Brunswick
Accession Number: 1987.17.461

Louis Mitchell, Passamaquoddy, with Paddle
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick
Accession Number:1987.17.464

The scale paddle shows just how large some of them could be - assumingly for use in ocean going canoes and for standup paddling.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Canoe Id: Richardson Copy cat

Turns out the cedar canvas canoe I obtained in a trade isn't a likely Chestnut Chum at all. Mike Elliot of Kettle River Canoes mentioned in a comment that the canoe wasn't consistent with a Chestnut. Instead it looks to be similar to a Richardson or Rilco based on the narrow red cedar planking and other features

Richardson and Rilco were descendents of Lakefield Canoe company. According to the ID page on Dragonfly canoe, in 1962 Jack Richardson, the former General Manager of the now defunct Peterborough Canoe Co. purchases the Lakefield Boat Co and renames it Richardson Aquacraft, also called Rilco Industries. The company closed down around 1969. The narrow red cedar planking is an identifying feature of this style of canoe.

Intrigued, I did some more searching and came across this posting on Kijiji for a fully restored Richardson. The planking pattern is neater but similar to mine.

Richardson Canoe

Despite the fact that the rawhide seats had long ago deteriorated on my canoe and had been replaced with simple plywood planks, the underside of the seats revealed a curious hole pattern to the seats - basically a line of offset holes. This pattern is also found in Richardson / Rilco boats.

Babiche weaving pattern with offset lacing holes

It would seem that my canoe has many features of this style made by a less experienced or a rushed builder. So for now I'm calling it a Richardson copy-cat.

Regardless of the history of the boat, I've already had lots of fun poling and paddling her and am eagerly looking forward to my own attempt a basic restoration.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Killbear Paddlers Rendezvous

Managed to snag about 36 hours of free time to attend the 15th Annual Paddler's Rendezvous held in Killbear Provincial Park neary Parry Sound. The event attracts an eclectic mix of different paddlers - from marathon racers, to canoe sailors, to just regular old paddle power folks like myself. It's also a great way to catch up with other Wooden Canoe Enthusiasts as the event is part the Northern Lakes chapter. Folks drove from as far away as Ohio, Michigan and Maine to get a taste of the rocky Canadian shoreline. Made some great new friends who are just as nutty for canoes as I am.

It was my first time attending and I could only spare one night camping but what a fun time it was...with stunningly warm weather and moments of shear beauty on Georgian Bay. Fantastic comraderie between folks at this real down to earth event. Much thanks to John Hupfield of Lost in the Woods Boatworks in organizing this yearly funfest. Some of the pics:

Assembled fleet on the beach

Fleet Closeup

Craig Johnson's Red Maple Leafed Kennebec...we joked that this was his passport into Canada at the U.S. border.

Andre Cloutier got this Keewaydin tripping canoe made by Don Fraser after Chestnut closed up shop. Featured a few double ribs fore and aft of the centre thwart to accommodate a traditional wannigan made by Rob Stevens.

Three sister canoes all built in Pam Wedd's shop (right to left)...Pam Wedd's 16 footer, Craig Johnson's 15 footer, and my 14 footer.

Master builders Dick Persson of Buckhorn Canoe company paddling a Peterborough Champlain and Pam Wedd of Bearwood paddling her personal boat

Wind picking up

Out with good friends Pam Wedd and Rob Stevens in the crystal waters

My paddle in the shimering water

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Paddlemaking Blog

Paul Clarkson has started his own blog called Up the Creek... which documents his new paddle making hobby.

He's experimented with some fun painting ideas including staining an ash paddle with blue and then sanding off to highlight the open grain structure...quite nice.

Eagerly looking forward to reading about his new design and decoration ideas!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Celebrity Canoe Paddles: Hollywood Canoe Stars

An old thread on the WCHA forums with Marilyn Monroe in a canoe resulted in post by Dave Osborn featuring other Hollywood actors lounging around in wood canvas boat.

Of course, wooden canoe fans first tried to I.D. the beautiful boat and the conclusion was a Kennebec. After that folks were guessing at the ID of the couple with no definitive answers. Recently I came across an ad posted on EBAY ad featuring the same shot, which identified the actors as Joel McCrea & Maureen O'Sullivan, who played the original Jane in the first Tarzan movie! They starred in a film together in 1935 called Woman Wanted. This shot may be promo photo or image from the film. Either way, it's one of my favourite vintage canoe pics.

September 2015 Update: CORRECTION - It turns out the lovely actress in the canoe is not Maureen O'Sullivan but another Hollywood legend,  Fay Wray, the female lead in the  original King Kong (1933) movie. See updated post HERE.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

PEM Artscape Paddle

Here's a decorative Anishinabe souvenir paddle now part of the Peabody Essex Museum. It features a two toned painted blade with some etchings on the shoulder and neck area...

Chippewa-Ojibwa (Anishinabe)Paddle
44.5 inches
c.1823-25 (painted wood)
Paddles were among the souvenir items produced by Anishinabe artists in the early 19th century. This paddle's small handle and painted decoration indicate it was made for the souvenir trade. The carved curvilinear designs, occurring on objects from the Great Lakes region and the eastern Plains, are sometimes interpreted as a feather motif.

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