Many visitors outside of Canada wish to experience a Canadian canoe trip. Canada is the land of moose, bear, timber wolves and beaver. It has miles of lakes and forest. To the visitor this is the place to be… but the challenge is getting the experience to do it.
Novice canoeist planning a week canoe trip would be wise to take a one day canoe trip training. The purpose of these courses is to equip the beginning canoeist with the skills to enjoy a multi-day canoe trip. The second purpose is to develop a level of competence so that the novice can do a canoe trip without a personal guide.
These instructional courses give the novice access to an experienced canoeist/instructor to answer questions and teach bush smarts. The mentor takes the beginner through instructional situations with hands-on practice periods. Often the teaching sites are modeled after wilderness sites to assist the novice in experiencing what to expect.
The instructors will help with canoe trip planning to match the needs and expectations of the beginner. The course teaches how to interpret park maps and set achievable daily paddle distances. Discussions cover how to locate overland crossings (portages) to adjoining lakes and select wilderness campsites.
The canoe course teaches safety techniques and common sense for inclement weather. Beginners learn how to paddle and steer a canoe. Instructors demonstrate different techniques for carrying a canoe overland and how to properly pack a canoe for stability. camping techniques are taught on firewood and cooking fires, putting up a tent & campsite selection, as well as animal proofing for the unexpected.
The course includes hands-on packing techniques, food & clothing, first aid needs, cooking equipment, sleeping bag and tent selection. Some instruction courses will even assist the novice in getting rental of packs, canoes and tents from local reputable outfitters.
Most canoe courses are about 6 hours in length. They are often offered on weekends from April until October. The teaching sessions are group sessions, but individuals, couples and families can be accommodated.
For the experienced wilderness canoeist, the courses are of little relevance. But for the novice, these courses are worth the investment. They develop the needed skills and knowledge to do a safe and enjoyable wilderness canoe trip.
People need to remember that they are often paddling in a wilderness that is remote… and that remoteness is unfamiliar territory to most. Take some training and enjoy a great trip!