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Poll: How old were you when you got YOUR OWN first canoe (and what was it)?

Poll: How old were you when you got YOUR OWN first canoe (and what was it)?

  • Under 20

    Votes: 15 21.1%
  • 20's

    Votes: 23 32.4%
  • 30's

    Votes: 17 23.9%
  • 40's

    Votes: 9 12.7%
  • 50's

    Votes: 4 5.6%
  • 60's

    Votes: 3 4.2%
  • 70's

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 80's

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    71
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does a 1/3 share count? My brothers and I went in together and bought the infamous Green Monster, an 18' x 41", 110lb experimental"great lakes freighter" from a local shop teacher back in '74 when we decided the Springbok and Woodstream no longer cut it with the family often going in 3 different directions. As a marathon paddling coach once said "it was built entirely wrong, but did everything right" That canoe regularly out performed other, more advanced designs in speed, agility, and both primary and secondary stability. I suspect it was due in part to it's extremely wide and long "football" plus the fact that , with 2 paddlers and 150 lbs of gear, it only drew about 1 1/2" of water, I even ran an old "super 7" evinrude on it occasionally and that sucker would plane out at less than 1/2 throttle and went like a greased pig. portaging was a real pain though- I always felt a good 2" shorter after a dozen yards.
Sadly, after 45 years some miscreant cut the lock and stole it, bypassing 7 Swift Kippawas, that oldwoodstream, and my brother's WW boat. Here's hoping the thief has nothing but blackfly- infested, 800M, uphill, hot, muddy portages in the rain for the rest of his life!:rolleyes:
 
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I was "almost" born in a canoe. It was 1952 in Mt. Pleasant Mi. My parents "and I " were canoeing on the Chippewa river when my mother was ready. My dad pulled the canoe over and they got to the hospital just in time for me to enter the world. This was a Grumman aluminum 17 ft. It was the family canoe until my Dad decided he wanted one of those new fiberglass canoes. He bought a very heavy Indian Voyager. The old Grumman was put in the barn and later was given to me. I liked it more than the glass canoe. I still have it but have not used it in quite a while. I've had lots of canoes since but a lot of memories with the Grumman.
I was the same, I was born 9 months after my parents labour day trip down the Madawaska, and 3 days after my parents trip to killarney...
 
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I don't remember my age but I do remember the circumstances. It was a planned procrastination that had run it's course. I was driving by a canoe builder-retailer and saw they had a sale on. Having already researched and pondered canoes ad nauseam I bought one on impulse. Well, as impulsive as a frustrated procrastinator can be. That was only a decade or so ago. We've been in this house for about 15 years now and we didn't yet have a canoe of our own when we first moved here, so that's as definitive as my memory permits. My indecisiveness often has me tied in knots. Did I make the right purchase? The correct make, model, hull etc? I'm in my 60's now so perhaps there's still time to rethink all this. Short answer is I was 50ish.
Meanwhile I'm enjoying the boat.
Boat.JPG

Prior to this hasty reckless splash of cash I'd been renting for decades. Starting off with tripping with friends, later evolving to family tripping with wife and 4 kids. Renting worked well throughout those years. One of these, two of those, a couple plastic prospectors this trip, a couple tin cans another trip...and as the kids grew and flew out of our nest the time finally seemed right to buy a one and only for just me and my wife.
Now...One daughter and her family are firmly into kayaks, and that is sweet. A son and wife are happy to tag along on a trip but are in no hurry to jump into the family tripping life. Ok, sure. Another daughter is seriously gearing up for a tripping future for her and her husband. Cool. The other son has just gotten bit by canoes. Two fixer-uppers (1 kev, 1 w/c) hang in his garage waiting for shop day fun. Bring it on. The future looks good.
And maybe, just maybe, I'll act on impulse and get another canoe.
 
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My first owned canoe was a 1937 Old Town HW that I purchased in 2006 as a replacement for a 1931 OTCA.
The family dispute was resolved, but I still have both boats, along with a Wenonah Solitude and a Curtis Solo Tripper.
 
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We've had polls on how old you are and how long you've been canoeing, but this poll asks how old you were when you got title ownership of YOUR OWN first canoe. Not your family canoe, not your summer camp canoe, not your friend's canoe, not a rental canoe -- but your own first canoe, which you could have gotten ownership of by buying it, receiving it as a gift, building it or finding it. Also, tell us what kind of canoe it was, whether you liked it, whether you still have it, and if you no longer have it, what happened to it.

While I started canoeing at age 8, I used family canoes, friend's canoes or rental canoes until I was married with two of my kids, and about age 36 in 1980. We took a vacation to Mendocino, California, and rented a canoe on the Big River. We saw otters and had fun. It reminded me of my childhood canoeing in Maine every summer. So I decided to buy a canoe when we got back to San Jose.

My very first purchase was a Pelican Canoe from an ocean marine store, which was inexpensive. I had to put it together -- thwarts, foam sponsons and other rickety parts. I also bought a motor mount and a 2hp outboard motor, because I had visions of also recreating my motorboat youth. In those days I was lean and trim. I took the canoe to a lake, put on the motor mount and motor, sat in the stern seat . . . and the stern promptly sank into the water. What a piece of junk that Pelican was. The marine store took the canoe back, and was even happy that I had put it together for them, but I kept the motor and motor mount.

Then, I shopped in a real paddling, mountaineering and ski store, Western Mountaineering in San Jose, CA, which later became famous (and still is) for its sleeping bags. They had Mad River and Old Town canoes there, along with Hollowform and Perception kayaks. Jim Shelander had just recently become the first open canoeist to run the Grand Canyon, and he was at the shop describing how he did so in a Mad River Royalex Explorer. So, that's what I bought, a yellow one for $650.

I loved that canoe and did everything in it all over northern California -- lakes, Sierra whitewater, coastal range whitewater, poling, wilderness tripping, portaging, motoring around San Francisco Bay -- with my family and by myself. I installed a wide cane middle seat and thigh straps, built a rowing rig, had a spray cover custom made, and used both double blade and single blade paddles. I brought the canoe with me to the east coast in 1982, by which time I had a second canoe and was a confirmed single blader, and still have it. The MR Explorer was and still is a very good do-everything-reasonably-well canoe for both tandem and solo. But I eventually needed 14 additional paddle crafts.
Coleman Ram-X, 15'.
 
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I was 22 1/2, just out of the navy and I bought a Sears 17’ aluminum canoe using my sisters employee discount. It cost me about $150. I really wanted a Grumman but it would have been about $60 more. I used that canoe a lot and sold it in 1983 for $150 when I got a new OT Tripper, which I bought using a friend’s employee discount.
 
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I was 17 back in 1979 and my first canoe was Bart Hauthaway's largest, the Allagash tandem, that I paddled solo with a single blade - stern first while seated on the wrong side of the bow seat.

I grew up outside of Chicago, Oak Park, reading the old Herter's Catalog and Outdoor Life, dreaming of fishing adventures, but had no mentors nor means to get out of the city. Years later when I got my driver's license, had a job, and my first car (a 1972 Pinto) the first thing I saved up for was a canoe. Now, I don't recall how I became aware of Bart's boats, but I was living in Bedford, Massachusetts, not too far from his shop, so I drove down to get a boat. My memory is imperfect but I faintly recall him telling me he was no longer building boats. When he saw my disappointment he offered me up the 14' Allagash, saying it was an unsold second because there were voids in the layup. Little did I care and I proudly took it home. It cost me $250.

My first trip with it was down the Shawsheen River through Bedford and Billerica, Ma, a tiny urban stream, trash filled back then, polluted with PCB's from the Mitre plant, brushy and not much water, but it opened up into a sinuous marsh that still felt like wilderness to me. I took that boat up to Orono, ME, in college and paddled it all over. While it was gorgeous, such classic lines, it didn't really paddle all that well, tracked poorly and was very slow on flat water with too much rocker and beam, not nearly enough volume in the bow and stern for rapids, not enough depth or outwales to keep the water out. Whenever I'd go over even the smallest drop the bow would hit, then the stern would clunk, and both would crack because of the voids in the laminate. It got quite a bit heavier over the years from the repeated repairs. I loved that boat.

Even with it's deficiencies I ran class III whitewater in it, the entire Dead River, Kenduskeag River Race (downriver and slalom, I did poorly at both ... of course it was the boat's fault, not the paddler's), Sebois, Machias, Narraguagas, Pleasant, East Branch of the Penobscot, all over Downeast and the Katahdin region brooks. There was a pool on the Piscataquis River, above Howland, where I caught trophy sized smallmouth, brook trout and landlocked salmon all in one day, smoking a cigar to keep the mosquitos at bay. That Allagash took me everywhere; I really loved that boat.

Allagash.JPG

It got destroyed one winter when the ice sliding off the roof of my garage basically crushed it as it was stored leaning up against the wall. I had a good twenty year run with it. Homeowner's insurance replaced it and I used the settlement to purchase a 17' Old Town Penobscot, a royalex boat. The Penobscot was a much more competent boat by all accounts, but just did not draw me in emotionally like my Bart Hauthaway Allagash.

Monel
 
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My first canoe purchase was in 1979 when I was 32 years old. We took a short trip to Vermont from our home in Connecticut and somehow ended up with a 17’ Grumman on top of the van. I think it was a spur of the moment decision. The reason for Grumman was that this was the brand that my Dad had bought for my brother and me when we were teenagers. It took us on our first multi-day trip down the Delaware River, on many day trips on the Schuylkill river near home, and years later on a weeklong trip in the Boundary Waters. What could be better?? I soon found out after subscribing to Canoe magazine and learning about Royalex, Kevlar, and then modern design features. At least the Grumman was in its element when I took my three year old son on his first canoe camping trip in the Adirondaks. We ascended some small river which had beaver dam after beaver dam. The aluminum craft was unfazed by the shoving, teetering and pulling on the way up, or the smash and drops as we shot the dams on the way back down. It may still be in use somewhere. I sold it and moved on to a Kevlar TW Special and a Royalex Explorer, but the old shoe keeled Grumman still has a place in my heart.
 
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Whitesell Descender, took on my first and only white water trip.
 
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2017 @ 64. It was getting too hot for me to enjoying hiking so I decided it was time to try water. Somebody told me about Hornbecks; I got researching pack canoes and ended up with a used kevlar Slipstream Wee Lassie that summer. Four pack canoes later and I spend all the time I can noodling around the southern Adirondacks.
 
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Salvaged a 17’ aluminum from my friends dad’s junkyard. My friend and I were probably 13 yrs old. This canoe got wrapped around a tree in flood waters and was bent in the middle. We hacked the damaged middle section out and joined the two ends with a ‘metric ton’ of nuts and bolts and many tubes of caulk. It was crude, but worked. Had many summers of fun in that.

While off at college/starting careers that canoe went missing from his parents yard. Most logical assumption is that it got stolen.

Fast forward 20 more years (wife, kids, career all established) I got the itch to be back in a canoe. Of course I have much better means nowadays so I bought a new Nova Craft Prospector 16…and new adventures began.
 
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I bought an old Sawyer Cruiser in 1981 when I was 31. It had been wrapped somewhat and both sides were busted out of it. The aluminum gunwales were real wavy. I gave $25 for it. After building sailboats earlier, making it seaworthy was not that hard. Getting the gunwales to look like something took time. I paddled it for 20 years and sold it for $400.
 
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Old Town Discovery 164. It was part of the local shop’s rental fleet. Already scarred, I didn’t have to be careful with it. Fished and scalloped out of it, as well as just paddling. Sold it this year for what I paid for it ~20 years ago when I got my first Kevlar boat. Never going back!!!
 
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My dad bought a couple Osagian aluminum canoes when I was in high school.
The first canoe I bought myself was a Discovery 174. A real freighter. Took me down many rivers.
I believe I was 33, give or take a year. That was a long time and many canoes ago.
 
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