Canoe Country Wilderness Canoeing
by © Lee Hegstrand


Duties and Conduct

Preparing camp is most efficient when all hands do the work. For large groups daily work assignments should be made before each encampment. You might find using a canoe as a table to lay out food and cooking items handy. Simply place logs or rocks just ahead of the stern plate and just behind the bow plate to steady the canoe. Store paddles away from traffic areas. Assigned persons prepare dinner while the others set up tents and gather firewood (if you must cook with a fire).

Secure the campsite at night and especially carry all canoes well away from the lake and tie them down. Voyagers have lost canoes overnight because of sudden storms (Author’s and others' experience). For various reasons the Canoe Country experiences more extremes of weather than most other parts of the country. Shelter all packs from the rain at night by stashing them under overturned canoes or placing a tarp over them.

You should always haul your food pack up into a tree with the bottom of the pack at least 10 feet off the ground and the top of the pack at least six feet below the branch. Here's one simple way to do this. First tie a rock on a fifty foot 3/8 inch nylon rope and throw it over a tree branch that is about twenty feet up. Next tie a loop encompassing carabineer 1, then rope end B is looped through both carabineers. Note that carabineer 2 is attached to the food pack. Next rope end A is pulled to raise carabineer 1 up near the tree branch then rope end A is tied off about six feet up the tree. Finally, haul the pack up to the recommended height with rope end B and then tie it to the same or a nearby tree. A much more convenient solution to bear-proof your food is to use plastic barrel packs that have been recently marketed. Barrel packs do not have to be raised up a tree. Food packs stored on the ground will, without a bear visit, at least invite mice and chipmunk invasion. To prevent bear damage to tents, never bring food into them. If you leave a camp your food pack should be taken with you or suspended in trees, as you would overnight.

Additional "how to" on hanging a pack

Bear-proofing camp....Jacobson's references

Campsite bear intrusions (very rare) can almost always be countered by loud yelling and banging on pots or throwing fist-sized rocks (as a last resort) at the bear. If a bear refuses to leave after all these actions are taken, then you should quickly pack up and leave. This is only prudent, such bear behavior is very unusual and signals a potentially vicious animal.

Try to be quiet in camp and on the water so as not to disturb nearby parties. Noise travels great distances over water. It is not uncommon to observe wildlife from campsites if conversation is reasonably muted. It is one of the wonders of the Canoe Country that it is so removed from the noises of civilization that on windless days the complete silence of the region is striking. Cliff Jacobson found that stranding individual youth at various places for several contemplative hours was a popular event in his guided trips.

If you are building campfires it is good courtesy when you leave to clean out the cold fireplace ashes and scatter them in the woods if the grate is quite full.

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