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member (23)member
06/06/2023 07:03PM  
“Lighter than ours, I think!” My 13 year old nephew helped me take the 18’ Savage River Blackhawk off the roof rack and slid it into the launch. Him and his father (my brother) had just slipped their 16’6” Northstar Northwind in a moment before. We had hoped to spend a few evenings paddling our new canoe prior to our annual Memorial Day outing, but as you may have learned already, life can get in the way. It also moves on. We loaded up the new boat for her maiden voyage, seven and a half miles of pristine open water - complete with a lock by way of what the map ominously labeled…the Narrows.

We packed enough gear to call it glamping including a full size North Face Basecamp Duffel, 120L Sea to Summit backpack, another large duffel full of dog stuff, a small cooler, fishing pole, two folded out Ridegrest pads and a blanket for the dog, the dog, and a massive Salewa Midway VI tent (a palatial tent worthy of its own review) which filled the canoe to max capacity. Though this was the maiden voyage for the boat, it was the second canoe weekend for our 55lb dog, Lina. Her first trip was this same weekend and lake last year, and though she was a very good girl, seemed a little anxious whilst on the water. We had to pick her up and lower her into our rental (a 17’ Nova Craft Cronje) that trip, but this year, likely due to the beautiful lines and wide hull of the Blackhawk, she jumped right in on her own. We put on our preservers, grabbed our also new and so very handsome Sanborn paddles, a Gunflint for me and a Nessmuk for my wife and shoved off.

Stability was off the charts, even with Lina meandering back and forth and leaning over to lap up lake water. We joked and raced and paddled alongside my brother and nephew, also clear was how nimble the big boat was, even though it held a line so well. Of note, I have no idea where to put my seat, both front and back are on rails with about 18” of fore aft adjustment. I tried lots of spots and decided I like to be all the way back. My wife liked to be all the way forward, she is five feet tall and I think the skinny nose of the canoe made it extra easy to paddle without banging the paddle into the gunwales.

We made good time and entered the Narrows enroute to the lock. Narrows is a good name for it, as it was a bending and twisting shallow river, though calm, that we got to test out her nimbleness. An occasional power boat would pass and we get a thrill riding their wake. On and on we paddled until we approached the doors of the lock where the lock keeper (?) and friends approached, as well as their dog. Talk about excitement in the air! Lina was beside herself, desperate to play with the other dog, but low down in the lock she couldn’t reach, but as the water level rose, up she went until the two dogs got a good sniff. Then we were off to the campground, #75, a whole island to ourselves.

We paddled, fished, raced, and tooled around and though we are only just getting to know this boat, are both blown away. My wife doesn’t geek out on gear like I do, but even she said “I think I love this canoe,” which was the biggest compliment she’s ever given to an inanimate object. For me, it’s the most special thing (non-bicycle) I’ve ever bought. It’s as pretty as I could have ever hoped, it’s custom built which hits close to home (I sell custom bicycles), was designed and built by wonderful people in a cool factory, and checks every box for how we’ll use it and then some.

On our drive home, we discussed paddling the Connecticut River from Massachusetts to Long Island Sound and my wife asked if we’d become water people. I know this is more boat than we’ll ever need, but I doubt it’s possible to experience any more joy out of a canoe.
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member (23)member
06/06/2023 07:04PM  
member (23)member
06/06/2023 07:05PM  
06/06/2023 08:50PM  
Very nice canoe, congratulations on the maiden trip, here’s to many more!

senior member (77)senior membersenior member
06/06/2023 10:08PM  
truecyclery: " "

I love these trees! Is this from Saranac? Are they tamarack? Look almost like cypress!
member (23)member
06/07/2023 10:15AM  
NikonF5user: "
truecyclery: " "

I love these trees! Is this from Saranac? Are they tamarack? Look almost like cypress!"

Yes! They lined the little river inlets.
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