Pictorial Essay

Page 8 of 10

Focus Group

Modern paddlers in a large canoe made from a log

The crew of the 33-footer studies their prospects. Notice that four of the paddlers are kneeling erect. That is because, first, sitting back on one's heels is extremely tiring; the Corps of Discovery's canoeists would have supported their butts against bales of cargo. Second, the erect posture keeps their center of gravity low while enabling them to use a vertical "catch" with the paddle and thereby achieve maximum power with each stroke.

Steady as She Goes

Modern paddlers in a large canoe made from a log head towards a rapid

Allen Burgmuller, in the bow, shouts past Bill Hudson, Charlie Stevenson and Rod McIver to author Bill Bevis in the stern, "Hey, it's really steady!" When crossing an eddy seam, paddlers in modern lightweight canoes must lean away from the current in order to counteract the tendency of the craft to flip (see illustration, Hydrodynamics). When the big dugout canoe was paddled across the eddy seam into the main current, it showed no tendency to roll or flip.

Upstream Ferry

Modern paddlers in a large canoe made from a log head into a rapid

Allan Burgmuller and Chuck Anderson hold Marten's 18-footer in a ferry angle in fast-moving water, allowing the current to move them across the river without losing too much headway.

Steady as She Goes

modern paddlers in a large canoe made from a log head are several feet below the top of a wave

While Bill Hudson, Charlie Stevenson and Rod McIver grin in anticipation, Dick Barrett gets his "dry suit" drenched by a standing wave, and the 22-footer ships some water. Dick feels that the thick gunwales in a dugout minimize the destabilizing effect of water inside the boat sloshing from side to side. Somewhat surprisingly, no one went over all day.

Easy Exit

modern paddlers in a large canoe made from a log paddle across a rapid

Bill Rossbach, Eric Kress, and Mike Johnson (hidden) take the 22-footer through turbulent water without needing to "brace," or lean to keep the boat upright.

Blasting Through

Surfin' the Clearwater

Allan Burgmuller, Juliette Crump, Chuck Anderson and Bill Bevis blast the 22-footer downstream through Class 2+ standing waves.

Peeling Out

Modern paddlers in a large canoe made from a log execute an eddy turn

From the bow of the 22-footer the author executes a draw stroke, which allows the boat to exit an eddy in a surprisingly crisp "peel out."

Surfin' the Rapids

Modern paddlers in a large canoe made from a log paddle upriver

Bill Rossback and friends (Eric Kress and Mike Johnson are behind him, out of the photo) ride down the front of a wave to somewhat offset the velocity of the downstream current. They found maneuvering the 22-footer upriver with a minimal crew required a lot of power on the paddle.

These pages funded in part by a grant from the National Park Service, Challenge Cost Share Program