Those damn dams

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After the first few dams the boys developed a method of going over even big dams without stopping. The bow paddler jumped out and pulled the canoe onto the dam,the stern paddler then jumped out and pushed,the bow paddler jumped in as soon a the canoe hit water on the other side and paddled hard, and finally the stern paddler pushed the canoe the rest if the way and jumped it. it was like a ballet an usually they didn't even get their feet wet!
 
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Another plus with beaver dams and ponds in this area is there are often brook trout in them since the water is deeper. They don't get very large (the large ones are in lakes and are caught by trolling) but usually large enough for the frying pan.
 
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Also, if I am dragging the Kevlar canoe over the water level dams how badly does this scratch the hull? I don't mind wear and tear on my gear - in fact I kind of like that lived in look. Just wondering what to expect.
Thank you.
I've run dozens of beaver dams in my kevlar boats with nothing but a few minor scratches and have found that royalex scratches far more, as with any canoe you just have to make sure you're not bridging it, I've seen an old aluminium fold up right behind me because they bridged the canoe, while I was unscathed in my ultralight kevlar canoe.
 
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I've run dozens of beaver dams in my kevlar boats with nothing but a few minor scratches and have found that royalex scratches far more, as with any canoe you just have to make sure you're not bridging it, I've seen an old aluminium fold up right behind me because they bridged the canoe, while I was unscathed in my ultralight kevlar canoe.
Like many who do not know any better or have never been taught any differently, I bet they also bridge their canoe when loading it on shore prior to launch with one end high and dry and the other end in the water, causing an air gap underneath in the middle. Making it very unstable and difficult to load properly as well as potentiallly damaging and weakening the structure.
 
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I/we encounter beaver dams every year, year in year out with charming/annoying frequency. I love the eco alteration these busy bodies bring to the landscape, but they do pose challenges to the tripper. The upstream channel is often deep enough to respect and the downstream section is likewise liable to slip trip one up in their travels. Those half submerged sticks can be slippy. If the dam is low enough then by all means run it. Otherwise if the dam drop is significant then I prefer to meet the obstruction more obliquely. If I need to unload a pack or barrel then it's easily done. Most times the (kev) canoe can slide over and be easily reloaded. There have been times when the dam was surmountable only by a climb. Full unload. Lift over. Full reload. Mind your footing. But rarely has there been a swim. Only once that I can vaguely remember, and quite frankly I don't recall if it was her or me who slid in for the unceremonious swim. In any case it was not refreshing.
 
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I think we've concluded that sliding is OK. What I wonder about is how you get from the boat onto the dam in a solo boat. In a tandem with two people it's easy, the stern guy holds the boat still with a paddle pushing on the stream bottom while the bow person steps off the bow onto the dam. When solo in a tandem I try to get the bow on the dam enough to hold it there but not high enough to be unstable. Then I can walk to the bow and step off, hoping it doesn't slide off back into deep water becoming very unstable. I guess you can do this in a solo boat too but the consequences if the boat slides off the dam are greater because of the less buoyant ends.

How do you guys do it in a small solo boat if you don't have room to get broadside?
 
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I have always had room to broadside enough to take a leg out and test what I am standing on or not before committing to getting out. This is way easier when kneeling. Usually the dam will be the same width as the river . If you can't turn around on the river because of a lack of room the potential attack angle problem should enter your mind. Sometimes you can exit on the river bank below the dam then pull the boat over.
 
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I really don't like sliding too much, although the striations on my hull would contradict me. Out for a solo day paddle there's not much to fuss about. One 40L pack of stuff and a barrel of weight. Both have gab handles so out and in they go one-handed each in turn. The canoe is light enough to be gathered up and played out again using hands on the rails. I like a short painter at the yoke for keeping the boat within reach. I don't want to have to swim for a drifting canoe. Tandem is similar. Her reach is not great and she hates to climb over gear and stems so all our take-outs and put-ins are wet footed and broadside by habit, or quartered at the very least if the stream is narrow. As YC says, there's often the stream bank to clamber thru if a slippery stick exit proves precarious.
 
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