With November coming up in a few days, it’s probably safe to say the portaging season is pretty much over. Depending on where you live, there might still be a few paddling days left, but tripping is left only to the truly hard-core. And so it is that we must start thinking about things to do while the water is frozen. Get ready, because it’s coming.
For me, it’s a time to catch up on my writing, which will keep me pretty busy considering all that’s happened this year. So for you I guess that might mean getting some reading done, so keep your eye on the RSS feeds, facebook and twitter for new posts. For the latter two options, you’ll get some bonus pictures of Nancy, news on other paddling related stuff, along with the occasional smart ass remarks. Either way it should fight the boredom a little as you stare out the window waiting for the seasons to change.
So what else can you do in the meantime to keep up your portaging interests? I’ve included a short list of ideas:
Best in Shows:
This is actually the best time of year for outdoor and paddling shows. This is a great way to not only to do something canoe and camping related, but also keep up to date with new products, services and trends. You can also pick up some tips and tricks from a demo offered, or meet some well known outdoor personalities. The best part is just being around outdoor people, meeting new friends and chatting about your favourite subject. Here’s a short list of upcoming shows that I’m considering attending this year:
Find a Winter Activity:
This is always easier said than done, but there are lot of fun winter activities out there. I’ve been trying to find one I like as much as portaging, but still have yet to really get into something regularly. Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, snowboarding or even winter camping… they’re all good. No matter what you do, try and get out there and keep active, and appreciate the season for what it is. It’ll make waiting for the water to melt much more pleasurable. Nancy and I sure take advantage discovering wild places just going back to the same parks as in the summer and appreciate the beauty of it’s snow covered look. Or you could do something crazy like the folks over at Swift Canoes. Being a canoe company, they might be especially susceptible to cabin fever waiting for spring.
Prepare for next year:
The most fun of the offseason, to me anyway, is planning next year’s trips. At this point you could go anywhere. Get the maps out. Have a planning party. Dream of all the places you want to see next year – perhaps those that you couldn’t last year. Then figure out how to do it. These activities tend to satisfy your portaging fix, but fair warning: it may make for impatient yearning. If nothing else, it should help you get through the offseason as you’ll have something concrete to look forward to.
Prepare yourself for next year:
Not as popular as the previous item, and sometimes considered a downright chore, finding a way to keep yourself fit during the cold months has a lot of advantages. It gives you something to do, sure, but it’s funny how you can use your want for paddling as a means to stay healthy. Imagine how many more lakes you can cross, portages you can get over, if you were just a little more fit (or conversely, not unfit from inactivity and holiday meals of the winter months). At best, this thought might keep you working out a little longer than you might have otherwise and at worst, keep you doing something, anything, that you may not have otherwise. If you’re one of those people who have found a winter activity, even better. Good for you (read: La-ti-dah!).
The fact is, winter is going to happen, and you’ll just have to deal with it. It might be a good time to learn a new skill, catch up on your outdoor reading, or even get into things that have nothing to do with camping or canoeing (yeah, I know). For example, I’ll be participating in Movember – the month formerly known as November – where people grow mustaches to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. It’s a worthwhile cause, a lot of fun, and a great chance for me to post humiliating pictures of my attempt – and so for you to laugh I suppose. This year, I’m going to make my best attempt at a Frank Zappa (I can hear the laughter already). Again, keep up with me on facebook and twitter for full enjoyment, as I’ll be posting a daily picture of my progress – and there’s going to be a fun surprise coming up in a couple of days.
More to come
So make sure to come back soon, as I’ll be posting more on each of these items during the offseason, as well as posts on this year’s activities. Writing these posts is certainly one activity that I will definitely do while waiting for the rivers to open up again.
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