Backpacker

Have Fun in a Canoe

I’D ALWAYS ASSUMED THE HUMAN RACE held onto canoeing just so Boy Scouts could earn an easy merit badge. The boats are cumbersome, and flat-water trips are closer to car camping than real adventure: You’re sitting down the whole time, and you’re not even carrying your own stuff—where’s the fun in that?

OK, I be biased. The first and last time I paddled was three years ago, for a college class in North Carolina. It was sweltering, and we stopped every few minutes to talk about fish habitat. Plus, my partner and I never quite mastered the art of steering and pinballed down the river, banking backpacking and master canoeing later, like in my 70s.

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