Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How many Norwegians does it take to paddle a raft? 

More than a couple, it seems. Actually, this kind of craft is not very easy to use in open water. It's billed as a four-man raft, but that is only because it has four oars. It's really a one man or two man raft. This kind of raft doesn't capsize very easily, so it is pretty safe (as long as it doesn't lose air), but because of that, it is not that easy to manoover on a lake. Better on a river or stream.

I'm not talking about long river trips. For that purpose, I would rather have a canoe. When I was a boy scout, I took a 50 mile trip down the Crow Wing River in Minnesota. Canoes are great for that kind of trip, because you can carry a lot of gear. Our boy scout troup had three canoes as I remember. We carried tents, food, a camp stove, sleeping bags--everything. Four days. We were moving downstream, so there wasn't a lot of work in it. There are things you see from the river that you would never see otherwise. It was a real Huck Finn experience--paddling lightly downstream; stopping to spend a lazy afternoon jumping into the river from an old railroad trestle; lying in our sleeping bags at night, feeling our sunburns, and beating eaten alive by mosquitoes--scouting at it's best. For that kind of a trip, you definitely want a canoe. And on lake on a calm day, a canoe is good, because you can explore a lake much more efficiently with a canoe. Canoes glide across the water and are easy to steer. And capsizing isn't that much of an issue, as long as you don't stand up and it isn't windy. But for shooting rapids down an Oregon river, like we did on the Metolius years ago, you can't beat a raft.

As I mentioned previously, I had never been to this lake before this trip. I guess maybe it's because it is a private area. We are not staying at a State campground. But this lake is really pretty nice. The rainy season in Oregon runs from November to June, so the end of the summer and beginning of Autumn, you get the benefit of the natural beauty produced by the rain, without the rain.

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