When you think about canoeing, exercise comes to mind. For me, however, it’s much more than that. I wrote a young adult, historical novel called The River People that includes several canoe trips, so getting into a canoe to explore the river evokes a historical connection for me. Many people might connect this age-old transportation with many older cultures. There’s just something special about going out and doing something that people did hundreds of years ago.
My time in the canoe is also about connecting with nature and exploring in a sneaky way. When I hike through the woods, many animals smell, hear or see me coming. Sure, I get to see and experience a lot on foot, but I can drift right up to unsuspecting animals in a silent canoe. We love to paddle up the river behind our house to an island right below the rapids. We’ve rowed up alongside the island to discover a mama deer with two tiny, spotted fawns. Sometimes the Canadian geese are hanging out. Once when we landed and walked around, we came upon a huge nest with their large eggs. It was quite a sight! We noticed a large rock right in the middle of the nest and later learned the geese do this on purpose. They heat the rock with their body heat so it will keep the nest warm when they leave.
We’ve come around a bend and happened upon mallards, wood ducks, geese, deer, blue herons and deer. Under the water, because the Oregon rivers are cold and clear, I’ve spotted different fish, crawfish, and interesting rock formations. From a canoe, I can explore the banks and river, feeling like I’m apart of nature in a natural way, verses traveling by motorboat. You get all this on top of great arm exercise!