Lessons learned from hundreds of miles of canoeing – primarily in the wilderness of the Canadian Shield.
When paddling, it is the goal we choose that determines the journey we take and not the direction of the current. Pursuing this goal may require paddling upstream and at times we come to places where the opposing current is too strong to resist – here we must take to the wilderness, and from there we can either carry our cargo around or, with our feet on solid rock, pull it through.
Sometimes the current moves toward our goal – but it is then that we are in the greatest danger of being swept into rough water, or, calmly but swiftly drifting past on the opposite bank from the mouth of the next river in our journey – or simply losing track of where we are in relation to the map. For these and other reasons we must carefully and frequently study the map as well as paying attention to the landmarks around us and consulting with those who have done the journey before. It is especially important to study the map before making changes to the planned route since alluring deceptions abound. By studying our map we will be aware of the dangers ahead and be better prepared to negotiate them. Once again, when facing a stretch of rough water, take to the wilderness, study your map, and plan the best route through or around the rapids.
It is customary for those traveling downstream in water that is calm and deep to accumulate extra baggage - but when water is rough or shallow (or worse yet, both) or a portage is in order these niceties can bog us down and slow not only our progress but also that of our companions as we journey toward the Goal.