Category Archives: In the Same Boat: Canoeing & Kayaking

Everything about paddling and paddlecraft.

Devices and Desires Redux: The Facebook Follies

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

by Farwell Forrest | March 19, 2018

A bitter harvest? It sure sounds like it. A swelling chorus of insiders are affirming what we’ve long suspected, that Facebook is harvesting the most intimate details of our (once) private lives and then turning a blind eye when their lovingly curated data is used to target political ads and influence the outcome of national elections. Facebook’s flacks deny this, of course. But maybe you don’t find their “hear no evil, see no evil” shtik convincing. (We certainly don’t.) Or maybe you’re simply tired of letting a bourse of billionaires decide what you should read and see and do. If so, why not “go commando”? Drop Facebook, leave tweeting to the birds, and start rediscovering the real world, in all its untidy, unfiltered splendor.

That’s where we come in. Tamia Nelson’s Outside and Back in the Same Boat are celebrations of freedom—freedom to go where YOU want, do what YOU want, and see what YOU want. Canoeing, cycling, hillwalking… … Continue reading »

Voyages of Discovery: A Missouri River Odyssey

One man. A big river. And a very small boat—a 12-foot pack canoe, to be precise. This could be a recipe for disaster. Or a passport to delight. Tyler Higgins choose delight, and if you, too, are itching to light out for the territory, you’ll want to follow along as Tyler paddles down the broad Missouri.

By Tyler Higgins, with an introduction, note, and afterword by Tamia Nelson
March 13, 2018


What follows is the story of Tyler Higgins’ October 2010 journey down a 340-mile stretch of the broad Missouri, told in his own words. It’s not your everyday paddle. For one thing, Tyler covered prodigious distances between dawn and dusk. For another, he made the trip in a diminutive Old Town Pack. At 12 feet and 30-odd pounds, this little pack canoe isn’t often thought of as a “big water” boat. But it did Tyler proud on the mighty Mo. And vice versa. As you’ll soon learn.

Wavy Line Spacer - (c) and TM Tamia Nelson/Verloren Hoop Productions

Tyler’s Journal

I put in about four in the afternoon [Saturday], figuring to get to cousin Johnson’s place[, my … Continue reading »

SameBoat Shorts: Outfitting Your New Canoe

You’ve bought a boat. Money has changed hands and you’ve taken delivery, but the deal still isn’t done. Your new boat won’t be yours till you’ve made it yours. And what does this entail? Farwell knows, and if you give him three minutes of your time, he’ll be happy to pass the word along. It’s his latest SameBoat Short for Back in the Same Boat.

by Farwell Forrest | March 6, 2018

The happy day has arrived. You’ve just picked up your new canoe. There are many like it, but this one is yours, and yours alone. So how do you make it yours for real? … Continue reading this article…Continue reading »

Starting Out: A Canoe for All Reasons

So many canoes. So little time. What’s a first-time buyer to do? Well, back in 1999, Farwell had some advice, and with a few tweaks and tucks—a lot can change in 19 years, after all—it’s still good today. Which is why we’re republishing the column.

by Farwell Forrest | March 2, 2018
Originally published in different form on July 5, 1999

Once upon a time, many years ago, New York state paid me to canoe the length of a little river. I started out just a few miles below its source and paddled all the way to its mouth. It was a pleasant way to earn a day’s pay, but it wasn’t really a taxpayer-subsidized holiday. I’d been hired to survey the river’s streambed and map concentrations of blackfly larvae, in preparation for a trial of a then-experimental biological larvicide.* This was the last time anyone paid me to paddle a canoe. That will come as no surprise, I’m sure. Few people today earn their living as canoeists. Not so very long ago, though, … Continue reading »

SameBoat Shorts: Anatomy of the Open Canoe

It’s hard to talk with anyone about anything if you don’t speak the same language. And canoe enthusiasts have a language all their own. So this week Tamia’s put together an illustrated glossary for new (or returning) canoeists. And she’s starting at the beginning, by naming the parts of the open canoe. Three minutes isn’t too much time to give to learning a new language, is it?

by Tamia Nelson | February 27, 2018

Open, undecked (“Canadian”) canoes come in many shapes and sizes, and they’ve been made from almost every material imaginable, from paper to concrete. No matter how much they differ, though, they all share certain bits and pieces, and today we’re going to look at some of these. To begin with, let’s ask what makes a canoe different from other boats. It’s a good question. But it’s not an easy one to answer. Luckily, I don’t have to. Farwell made a stab at it not long ago, and I’m content to leave the matter in his hands. So for now, … Continue reading »

Batteries Not Included: The Virtues of Simplicity

It might be April. The ground under the cedars is almost bare, the town roads are turbid rivers running between low dikes of salty slush, and a foraging blackbird is flashing scarlet epaulettes at anyone bold enough to approach him. It might be April. But it’s not. The snow will return. The New Model Climate may be making Canoe Country winters shorter than they used to be, but it hasn’t stopped the wheel of the year from spinning round. Winter will stay with us for a little while yet. And winter has lessons to teach us about our dependence on technology, as this tale from another time and place makes clear. So imagine there’s a winter storm headed your way. Because sooner or later, there will be.

by Farwell Forrest | February 23, 2018
Originally published in much different form on March 6, 2001

I s I write this, a major winter storm is threatening the mid-Atlantic coast. Some parts of the country, places where a couple of inches of snow usually bring traffic to … Continue reading »

The Hull Truth: Long and Lean or Short and Fat? And Does it Matter?

Many hours go into designing a canoe, and many more hours are devoted to selling it. But how can the prospective customer judge a boat from the published specifications? As Farwell suggests in his latest SameBoat Short, it’s not easy. Then again, perhaps it is. Give Farwell three minutes of your day and see what you think.

by Farwell Forrest | February 20, 2018

Stripped of all but its essentials, a canoe is just a hull. And what is a hull? A device for displacing water. Of course, it’s not that simple. A quick rummage through any maker’s website will show a bewildering variety of designs. Read enough catalog copy or boat reviews, and things get even more confusing. Phrases like “well-radiused chines,” “awesome secondary stability,” and “shouldered tumblehome” loom up like barely-submerged rocks in a steep drop, each one waiting to waylay the unwary reader.

It’s not that these phrases don’t mean anything. They do. If nothing else, they tell the reader quite a lot about the designer’s thought processes, how he thinks … Continue reading »