Canoeing in Sylvania

Yesterday I went on perhaps the most extensive canoeing trip of my life, across the border into the Sylvania Wilderness, a loop encompassing five different lakes. (I am fine at canoeing as long as I can be in the front. Putting me in the back, where one is responsible for steering, leads to loop-de-loops and tears of frustration.) I also portaged for the first time in my life, meaning I carried an upside-down canoe through the woods on my shoulders, and discovered that it isn’t so much the weight that’s troublesome as it is keeping the thing balanced.

The lakes are just unbelievably clear, especially coming from nine months in the murky waters of Georgia’s coastal marshes. You can look down and see every detail of the lake bottom below you. Over the course of the afternoon we encountered loons and a couple families of Common Mergansers, and got a brief glimpse of a mammal that was either an otter or a beaver.

I know this post is a bit short on actual natural history, but it turns out that they keep you, er, rather busy in grad school. More to come.

9 replies on “Canoeing in Sylvania”

I actually do much prefer kayaks (though I haven’t portaged with one, so I can’t say how that compares). I’ve never really been taught how to kayak “correctly,” with specific strokes and what have you, but my experience has been that kayaking is much more intuitive than paddling a canoe and I’m generally able to get myself where I want to go in a kayak with no trouble.

Sadly the school where I work emphasizes canoeing, partly because it’s much more of a teamwork-based activity. Ah well.

That’s funny, and I mean that in a good way. In a tough spot when kayaking, I find myself reverting to the paddle strokes I learned while canoeing. I know it’s “wrong” but it keeps me upright.

I still love a canoe, and there are few things in life as good as paddling as part of a team that really knows what they are doing.

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