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.
I put in about four in the afternoon [Saturday], figuring to get to cousin Johnson’s place[, my chosen jumping-off point,] by dusk. I remember well how important each mile gained is. So I left next … Read more »
Tanks for the Memories
Readers Sound Off About Aluminum Canoes
If form indeed follows function, then there’s beauty in some of the industrial age’s most improbable offspring. Like the Grumman aluminum canoe and all the other “tin tanks” that followed in its wake, for instance. Tamia wrote about these venerable (and venerated) craft earlier in the year, and the mail she got around the column was so interesting she figured the tin tank deserved a curtain call.
by Tamia Nelson | June 23, 2015
Plastic is forever, at least when measured against the scale of human life. Scraps of lawn chairs, shreds of shopping bags, and fragments of soft drink bottles will be circulating around the world’s seas — and poisoning marine life — long after our cities go the way of the fabled Ozymandias’ “sneer of cold command.” But while plastic itself is almost eternal, the things that we make from it — including lawn chairs, shopping bags, and soft drink bottles — have a much shorter life expectancy. They are, in fact, almost ephemeral. This is true of plastic canoes, as well. Farwell’s and my veteran Old Town Tripper is a case in point. It grew progressively more brittle as the decades passed, succumbing at last to the combined … Read more »
Dressing for Success
Fighting the Cold War: Readers Wade In
Are drysuits worth what they cost? And which is better — to be a comfort-loving Amphibian or a safety-at-any-price Frogman? Those were the questions Tamia posed in a couple of recent articles. She outlined her answers to both questions, of course, but paddlers have minds of their own, and they weren’t shy about letting her know what they thought.
by Tamia Nelson | May 5, 2015
Last month I penned (keyboarded?) a couple of columns on a vital subject: dressing for cold-season paddling. The first of these asked if drysuits were worth the cost. (My answer: Yes, but not every paddler needs one, and some of us who need one can’t afford it.) The second outlined the less restrictive alternatives available to the experienced paddler who prefers to “dress like a sensibly turned-out hill walker” rather than an “out-of-work frogman” — a comparison borrowed from sea kayaker and British Canoe Union senior coach Derek Hutchinson.
As luck would have it, the two articles attracted a fair amount of mail. Any notion I’d had that they (along with my earlier columns on cold-season paddling and hypothermia) would exhaust the subject were soon proved wrong. … Read more »
Dispatches from Our Readers
A Few Words From the Texas Hills
At last! Summer’s come to North America, and paddlers are making the most of it. But in the midst of all the hubbub and hustle it’s sometimes hard to keep our eyes on the prize. That’s why we need to take a break every so often, to step back and remind ourselves what it’s all about. This week, in “Our Readers Write,” Tamia and Farwell do just that, with a little help — make that a LOT of help — from a Texas paddler.
by Tamia Nelson and Farwell Forrest | May 31, 2005
At last! Summer’s come to North America, and paddlers are making the most of it. As departure dates loom nearer, routes are scrutinized and tweaked, travel arrangements finalized, and piles of gear crammed hastily into bulging packs and bags. It’s a hectic time, and in the midst of all the hubbub and hustle it’s hard to keep our eyes on the prize. That’s why we need to take a break now and then, to step back and remind ourselves what it’s all about. This week we do just that, with a little help — make that a lot … Read more »