Planning Wilderness Canoe Trips


The North is vast; distances are great.                                                        Adventure is just bad planning.
To travel at all, one must travel fast.                                                                                  -Roald Amundsen
To travel fast, one must travel light. -P.G. Downes

Good style is many things, and to simplify I will list a set of principles to which I hope to adhere:


Planning


Adventure is just bad planning. The success of this expedition will only be possible with an effective and audaciously focused plan based on extensive and in-depth research. My academic career as a historian taught me how to conduct effective research, and the patience to see every detail followed to its endpoint. My professional career as a leader of canoe expeditions has taught me the vital necessity of extensive planning, vigilant attention to detail, and the simple fact that the fou
ndation of effective risk management and fast, efficient travel upon which an expedition in good style is built begins months before at home base.

Canoeing into the wild.

Solo Paradigm 


I will adopt an extremely low-cost and efficient planning, support, and execution paradigm. The entire expedition will be planned, supported, and executed by me and me alone. I will fold every map, bag every pound of pasta, re-supply in the field, paddle every stroke, and walk every portage. The expedition team is me. The real challenge will be enacting this high style solo paradigm while effectively managing risk. To do so, an extremely conservative approach must be emraced. Finally, the end result of this planning, support, and execution paradigm is an expedition that costs very little, encourages efficiency in all things, concentrates the burden and details of planning on one person, and allows for good style overall.

Leave No Trace


As a Leave No Trace Master Educator, it will be my goal to strictly follow LNT principles in each biome that I pass through. The diversity of American ecosystems along the expedition route means I will have to employ a wide variety of strategies. The end goal, of course, is to step lightly upon the land and waters, and minimize impact in every way possible.

Method of Travel


I am utterly convinced of the utility and beauty of the canoe. In no other craft would this expedition be possible: the self supported crossing of North America by human power is the province of the open canoe and the open canoe alone. Kayak paddles seem to breed fatigue and injury, while bicycles must follow the paths that man has set rather than those that nature has. Canoeing is accessible in a way that few other sports are. One can paddle the local millpond in summer at age 90, a nearby lake at age 8, or undertake a three month traverse of the Canadian Arctic using the same craft and same power source. Canoeing has taught countless individuals a love of wild places and engendered in them a powerful connection to nature. The canoe will be my method of travel primarily for its practical utility in safely and efficiently completing this route, but one cannot ignore the myriad historical connections. The canoe will be light in weight and be able to carry all the food and gear necessarily for the crossing. Fitted with a spray deck, it will be able to withstand weather and waves, as well as make the boat more efficient in wind.

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