Jan 05 2012
Sooner or later we paddlers have to leave our boats and get up on our hind legs, if not to portage or scout, then simply because — however much we like being on the water — we’re basically land animals. A paddler who had to spend every hour of every day afloat would soon be in a predicament not unlike that of a fish out of water. Happily, few of us are so wedded to our diminutive craft that we find getting about on foot to be a burden. In fact, many of us enjoy hillwalking and snowshoeing as sports in their own right, and a small but growing cohort of amphibious outdoorspeople have discovered that cycling is a natural extension of paddling. (Does cycling belong with hillwalking and snowshoeing? I think it does. After all, a cyclist uses his legs to get him where he needs to go.) Of course, if you happen to live in the northern reaches of Canoe Country, you’ll be locked out of the water for a good part of the year, anyway. Canoes and kayaks make poor icebreakers.
The bottom line? Paddlers are only paddlers part time. Much of the rest of the time we’re pedestrians. And this isn’t such a bad thing. Still, my introductory paragraph is a bit misleading. For many of us, walking involves more than swinging our hind legs back and forth beneath us. We’re tripeds (or even quadrupeds) by choice. Like me, for instance. I take a walking stick whenever I go afield, even tucking it under my getaway pack when I go out in my little canoe. Regular In the Same Boat readers may recall that I’ve encouraged other paddlers to do the same.
And how many folks have I met who followed my example? Until recently, I could count them on one hand. But now that’s changed. Suddenly walking sticks are fashionable… Read more…