Monday, December 29, 2008

Next Year's Water

December 2008 snowfall in Wisconsin
Record breaking December snowfall in Madison,
for the second year in a row.

This marks the last entry in this blog for 2008. Being an optimist, I'm trying to take the lemons (HUGE snowfall) that have come my way and turn them into lemonade (next year's water). December 07 set a snowfall record for southern Wisconsin that I thought would not be broken. Turns out that December 08 was even bigger and snowier! In the immortal words of Greg Brown, "who woulda thunk it?" Every shovelful that I threw up on the pile next to the mailbox, I tried to imagine as water in a lake in a few months. I also tried to block out the buzz of snowblowers that surrounded me as I use a shovel to move the snow, unlike all of my neighbors. The top of the mailbox is about four feet above the curb. Thankfully, I finished the driveway before I ran out of space to throw the snow. The next few months look to be fairly quiet here in Wisconsin as there is no "boatable" water to speak of. Canoecopia looks to be the next big thing. Should be another fun event and a great way to usher in a new spring!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Amazing Photo

An incredible image by
John Van Den Brandt

This is one of the best photographs I have ever seen. Besides the fact that an egret is fairly rare to begin with, I am left wondering how John managed to be in the right spot at the right time to get the bird striking this pose.

John Van Den Brandt is the owner of Wild Wind Images. He appears in our most recent movie talking about wildlife photography, which is where I got to know him a bit. If you click on the picture, you will see a larger image on John's website. The egret is the June 2009 image from a calendar full of amazing shots that John took.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Season ending musky from Hayward Fly Fishing

52-inch musky caught on a fly rod by Hayward Fly Fishing CompanyThe big one that didn't get away
Larry and Wendy, our guide friends from Hayward Fly Fishing Company, sent us this today. It is their season ending musky. 52+ inches, 35+ pounds, on a fly, out of a drift boat, on the same stretch of the Chippewa River that we floated this summer making our movie. 5 degrees when they left their shop, 20 degrees at the put-in. I suspect the adrenaline they ingested catching this fish more than made up for the temperature!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Poling remains at the top of the list

Poling occupies the #1 spot on my list of most interesting things to do in a boat. I keep coming back to a wonderful 12 minute online movie about poling, featuring an Old Town canoe and an East Coast river that Life on Terra has produced. Very watchable.

This podcast, as it is called, is one in a long running series to which I keep returning. It looks like the podcast series is part of the program at Montana State,in Bozeman, Montana. It's the first program I have come across that looks to specialize in the sort of nicely produced outdoor-oriented content that I enjoy watching as well as producing. This series also spends time on the people and personalities behind the content rather than just the content itself.

Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"inland waters kayak fishing" has been released

After a few months of virtual heavy lifting as well as watching some very talented people do their own heavy lifting while filming and editing, we would like to announce that Quietwater Films' fourth movie, "inland waters kayak fishing" is now available.
Poling an Ultimate kayak
Jimbo Meador (front) and John Reinders (back) navigating a stream while poling their Native Watercraft Ultimate kayaks
Jimbo Meador, John Reinders, Wendy Williamson, and Larry Mann provided the paddling, poling, and fishing while we were out on the water. Damon Hennessey and Christina Smith did a wonderful job behind the scenes working the camera and editing our footage. And of course there are the boats. Even though they are inanimate pieces of plastic, those Ultimate kayaks are worthy of thanks for the wonderful job they did floating everyone around on the lakes, rivers and streams of the Chippewa Flowage, a slice of paradise in northern Wisconsin. The two muskies, numerous smallmouth bass, northern pike, along with "all the ones that got away" also made for some nice days fishing as well!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What happens when you impulsively buy canoes

An Arkansas canoeing friend relayed this set of pictures showing the outcome of his purchasing four canoes from Wenonah, in Winona, and then road tripping the four boats all the way to Arkansas on a Subaru Forrester. One trip.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Field Day at Gordon Creek

As part of an ongoing documentary film project, we spent a gorgeous fall day out on Gordon Creek this week. With blue skies and some quiet, I could not ask for a better day to be out on a creek. Having a third grader at home who loves bugs and worms and other cool things, the pleasures of small things close to the ground are front of mind for me. With both still and video, I almost always am lucky enough to find something small and up close that I used to just pass by. Today was
Fuzzy Caterpillar

The Farmer's Almanac says something about fuzzy caterpillars and the oncoming winter
no exception. Thanks to my third grader's gift of perspective I saw this little black and orange fuzzy caterpillar on a road trip. Not sure where it was going but it was putting the energizer bunny to shame.

My fuzzy 100 leg friend was just the start of a great afternoon. We were out on Gordon Creek to walk it with Kathleen Falk, the Dane County Executive, and an enthusiastic caster of flies. Jim Gentry and Mike Schmidt from the Southern Wisconsin chapter of Trout Unlimited were along for the walk as well. Today was a big day for Dane Country as they were announcing another land purchase along Gordon Creek. It was a big day for SWTU and Quietwater as it was a chance to get some time with a major player in the stream restoration activities in western Dane county. I continue to be impressed with the effort that goes on behind the scenes in stream restoration. It looks to me like about 95% of the effort happens between people and across tables, sometimes even coffee is involved.
Stream Restoration
Two critical pieces of stream restoration - people who care about the land and the machine that does the last 5% of the work.
Jim Gentry and Mike Schmidt, from SWTU, have spent countless hours writing grant proposals, learning their way through the vast spaces of restoration infrastructure, meeting landowners, and working with numerous levels of government. Finally they swing a hammer and get to build a few lunker structures, although not as many as one might think. The end result is a stream left in better shape than it was when they started.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back on the Water

I met Andy this spring and discovered he was an avid kayaker without a kayak. He did have a wheelchair though and limited use of his body from the collarbones up. Enough to get him back on the water and paddling again.
Andy Janicki, Kevin Carr, Karen Carr at a Rutabaga-sponsored adaptive paddling event
Andy Janicki talking with Kevin and Karen Carr, owners of Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories
Johnson Outdoors, who just happens to have their headquarters in the great town of Racine, WI., donated a kayak to Andy's employer, the Wisconsin DNR, to further Andy's efforts in promoting adaptive paddling. The paddling community, across the country, came together and raised enough money to purchase adaptive paddling gear. With that, we were off.

I met Andy at Devil's Lake State Park one day in mid-July, got the boat set up and him in it. Then - he was off and free again, paddling on his own for the first time in almost four years.

Dana Johnson's efforts getting the word out within the paddling community were instrumental in this effort being a success.
Andy Janicki back on the water
Andy Janicki, back on the water thanks to Johnson Outdoors and the paddling community
Next time you are in Brookfield, WI., be sure and stop in at the REI there and ask for Dana. She's great. Johnson Outdoors is one of the few publicly held companies in the paddlesports world. It's a pretty big place with alot going on. Cynthia Georgeson works there and was instrumental in making this happen. She took the time to listen and care and make something good happen for the small world of adaptive paddling. People like her will help this effort grow and reach out to more people.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Doing the Right Thing for Gordon Creek

Or maybe it should be "Trout Economics"? At any rate, regardless of what the working title is, we are creating a short film for the Southern Wisconsin chapter of Trout Unlimited about the restoration efforts they, and many other parties, are making in the Gordon Creek watershed.

A stretch of Gordon Creek, looking north, restoration partially complete.

For me, this is an unexpectedly complex but interesting view into the "what why and how" of a watershed restoration project. On first view, I thought this would be about placing some structures back in the stream and the people doing the work. It is some of that. But there is so much behind the scenes, it makes the actual in-stream work seem like that 10% of the iceberg you can see, while the hidden 90% lurks under the surface.

The final step for stream restoration. A large machine made delicate in the hands of a skilled operator

That hidden 90% of stream restoration is all about land ownership, access rights, township-county-state-federal-citizen-nonprofit cooperation and interaction, the issue of invasive plant species, and of course what needs to be done to improve trout habitat. The more I see and learn, the more fascinating the whole behind the scenes effort becomes.

At its heart, restoration work is about land and water stewardship. Ultimately doing the right thing. Getting the work done is also a marvel of cooperation between many parties and many people.

The trout like it too!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another Great Labor Day at Lake Wazeecha

The Labor Day weekend was great this year. Again. And again we went to Lake Wazeecha up in central Wisconsin. The kids are a year older than last time,
Labor Day at Lake Wazeecha

In the middle of a wonderful
three days at Wazeecha

which made a difference. They're all strong swimmers now and they're all strong bike riders. So even though my wife and I still keep them on a short leash, they are also now self entertaining and able to mostly think for themselves. Which meant there was time for other stuff besides kids. We brought up lots of boats and bikes and used them all. Usually, half the stuff we bring we could have done without as it went unused.
Boats bound for Wazeecha
Having a trailer makes (un)loading much easier

I found a fly rod in my hand which was nice. Caught nothing - but I find the motion and the concentration you need to cast a fly line to be nearly hypnotic.
Flyfishing for the fun of it

Perfect evening except for lack of fish. Boats probably not helping matters.

So the lack of fish was the cost of the simple pleasure. Besides with all the boat traffic and warmth, I'm betting the fish were deep and I was fishing a grasshopper imitation near surface.

Our little shoebox dog, Banjo,
small dog camping

Our little shoebox warrior keeping the world safe.

enjoyed herself this time around. She usually does. She has new dirt to roll in and new smells to entice her.

Gas prices have gone down a bit, so maybe the new found meaning of a staycation has lost some of its resonance. Nevertheless, with pleasant places like Lake Wazeecha less than two hours from our door, we are all happy to stay close to home and find beaucoup enjoyment doing little things in local places. Go find one of those spots near you and start enjoying your own pleasant place!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

pleasant places in northern Illinois

Most of my favorite pleasant places revolve around water. We took a trip a few days ago however, that once again opened my eyes to how many fun little places there are virtually right under your nose. All you have to do is look instead of glossing over the close spots on the map and searching for the far away.

My wife wanted to go somewhere for a day. She looked at those close by spots and found Apple River Canyon State Park,
Apple River Canyon State Park

At the base of an impressive cliff on the bank of the Apple River

just across the border in Illinois, about 1:45 from our house here in southern WI. Off we went. The plan was to hike and goof around at the park and then go into Galena, a nearby little tourist town, for dinner. This little state park has all sorts of neat little day trip type places and a variety of hiking trails. The Canyon was impressively deep and narrow. The bluffs were definitely of the vertical cliff-type variety. The river was small, but it was midsummer, well beyond any runoff, so I would expect it to be at low-flow. Fun to wade and catch minnows. Or try to anyway. We watched one of the three other people there actually catch a little trout, so I'm pretty sure there are even fish in the river.
3 story flood gate protecting Galena

A set of very impressive gates on the Galena levee

Like Leavenworth, Washington, Galena, Illinois is another worn out and used up resource town. In this case the resource is lead. This part of Illinois and Wisconsin has all sorts of metals rich geology. I believe the mines in this area were a significant supplier of the lead that Union soldiers used in the Civil War. Happily, after that sad part of our history, someone had the drive to remake the town and dress it up into a little destination place for tourists. They largely succeeded. As far as I can tell tourism and shopping are the main products of Galena. It's a cute little town. The Galena River, which flows right next to the town border was tiny when we saw it. Appearances must be deceptive though, as the town had a giant levee surrounding it and a set of flood gates the size of which I had never seen before. When the river floods I guess it really must get big.

The biggest surprise of all was waiting for us south of Galena. We had some time to kill so we wandered out of town and spied a small sign pointing the way to something called Chestnut Mountain.
view of three states from Chestnut Mountain

Three state view from a surprisingly good vantage point

A few miles outside of Galena all of a sudden the road went straight up, wound around a few corners, and topped out on the bluffs along the Mississippi. In the parking lot of a surprisingly large ski resort. Chestnut Mountain. I was shocked at the vertical this place has. The summer time view was gorgeous. You can see three states from the top of the chairlift. The lifts were running, so they let us ride them down and back up. Our kids had never done this before so it was a real treat for them. The view over the Big River was beautiful. They have an alpine slide which they open up during the summer.
alpine slide at Chestnut Mountain near Galena

Big fun on the alpine slide

Looked like big fun. Sadly it was closed because of a recent rain, from which the concrete sliding tubes were still wet. But it looked FUN. I also saw a rack full of mountain bikes available for rent. I thought this place looked like a great weekend getaway during the summer. Big fun. Nice sights, a workout or two if you want, and a great view from a summertime chairlift ride. Wish I had known about this place sooner.

Next time you want a day trip, go to that spot on the map 65 miles away that you have been ignoring forever. It might just surprise you. It sure did for me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nine summer days in Florida

Florida. Humidity. Cocoa Beach. The south in the summer. All things I never fancied myself contemplating much less doing. Yet July 16th found me, my wife, and our three daughters on the way to Florida
Cocoa Beach
Beautiful Atlantic Ocean beach sand right outside our door
for nine days of fun in the sweat, humidity, bugs and heat. To cut to the chase. I kind of liked it. For me, the Wisconsin heat and humidity was worse than the fabled but easily tolerated Florida heat and humidity. At least I thought it was during the time we were there. Cocoa Beach benefits from the giant heat sink that is the Atlantic Ocean. Disney, forty miles inland and with less benefit from the ocean, had daily thunderstorms that we did not see on the coast and it was hotter and more humid inland than on the coast. The bugs weren't so bad in either location, to my surprise, although I did see roaches and even managed to take a shower with a nasty one. But I digress......

We spent four days at Disneyland (or is it world ??), staying at the Grand Floridian, courtesy of a trip my wife won. It was inside on Disney property, with boats and trains going directly to and from the hotel to the park. Everything at the hotel was picture perfect. Too perfect, but it all fit together in a fantasy story kind of way. Besides that, our kids loved every single square centimeter of it from the late night excursions to the giant outdoor pool to the 24/7 café, to the big lobby of the main hotel building.
Disney in Florida
Looking west at the Grand Floridian hotel from the dock at Disney world
The room we had was very plush and fancy but way too small for a family, although I'll bet the thinking is that you spend most of the time at Disney and not so much time in the room, which I would have to agree with. The hotel was nice but nothing special, while Disney was the perfect kid fantasy place. This was followed by five days in a condo on Cocoa Beach. Very cool. Having avoided the South, and Florida in particular, for my entire adult life, I found it to be tolerable. While there are MANY MANY better places in the western part of our fine country, Cocoa Beach, Florida was OK. Kids and wife enjoyed it immensely though and it was all quite family friendly.

Cocoa Beach
Surf level shot of Cocoa Beach
We all thought the beach was beautiful. I was expecting to see a garbage-strewn, run down narrow strip of nasty sand. Instead there were sea oats and some sort of creeping dune rose (my words), a wide strip of beach, life guards, and a distinct wild sort of feel. I was shocked, given the proximity to the road and the crush of hotels and condos in plain sight as far as the eye could see. Much much better than what I thought it would be.

Monday, June 23, 2008

muskie - fly rod - kayak

June in the Midwest finally arrived, and we went fishing for our fourth movie - "inland waters kayak fishing". In Hayward, WI. For muskies. Using fly rods. And kayaks. Larry and Wendy from Hayward Fly Fishing company were kind enough to guide us.
muskie on a fly rod in a kayak

John Reinders on only his 200th cast catching his first muskie

John, in the picture above, was onto this muskie - day one, hour four, location two. Nowhere near the mythical 10,000 casts. Lucky or good, we'll never know, but the muskie gods smiled on him that afternoon. I felt pretty lucky as well, having camera in hand capturing the tail dance of an extremely elusive fish. Location two, by the way, was too shallow for traditional boats. Kayaks were perfect and we had the entire stretch to ourselves. Wendy floats this stretch in her drift boat, which also works well. On this particular day, she traded her drift boat in for one of our kayaks and left her boat in my hands to carry our camera guy, while she tried out fly fishing from a kayak.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Camera Platform for our next project

Here's a shot of the maiden voyage of our latest piece of gear. camera platformIt's a high-tech piece of plywood wizardry floating on canoes. Kind of like the v.1 of Hobie Cats when they came out.

We will soon be starting a kayak fishing project and I wanted a stable way to get out on the water for shots beyond what I can get from land.

Friday, May 23, 2008

stacation - coming soon to a vacation near you

stacation - sta • ca • tion [stā - cā - shuh n]
  1. event that occurs close to home; may replace the family vacation;
  2. strongly correlates with historically high gas prices, as well as oil company profits
  3. may make destination resorts nervous
  4. makes paddling in Wisconsin even cooler, especially if you live here
[Origin: 2008 summer; < L stacātiōn- (s. of stacātiō; stay home and try to have fun; see stacate, -ion); r. ME stacacioun < AF]

Had to laugh when my partner Darren used this word in conversation for the first time. I believe he attributed it to some radio talk show host he had recently heard. Listen for it in a conversation near you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The joys of small town living

One more reason to enjoy small town living. Shot taken out of our kitchen window looking over the deck and into the back yard. Obviously survived our 100+ inches of snow this past winter.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2008 Water Walker Film Festival Award Winner

2008 Water Walker Film Festival Award WinnerThe wonderful, and very Canadian, Anne Baxter called late yesterday and informed us that "paddling the solo canoe" had won an award at this year's Water Walker Film Festival. This film festival is all about honoring the memory of Bill Mason, one of modern canoeing's "founding fathers". He also went on to become a conservationist who spent a good chunk of his life bringing attention to Canadian waterways to help preserve them and make Canadians more aware of the resource they had, in many cases at their doorstep. He went on to achieve some global renown for his efforts in conservation. We are happy to be an award winner. Also kind of neat to have made a solo canoe project, as I do believe that was one of Bill's most preferred watercraft.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Coming To A Pond Near You ??

This is what I saw today in our neighborhood. Under the big huge drainage pipe you can see what, for now, is a surprisingly nice pond. Fish in it, birds on it, stable banks, and some kind of ugly trees that are sticking up out of it. But they're part of the waterscape now. I can take my canoe or kayak and WALK to this pond and have a peaceful little float. Even better I can take my kids.

And now today this shows up. Hundreds of feet of drainage pipe. I wonder what they are going to do? hmmmmmm........ I have to give the the city (Stoughton, WI.) some benefit of the doubt, I don't know what they are doing at this point. But the pipe does not leave much to the imagination.

Years ago, this was a gravel pit that one would think would have some pretty high infiltration rates. Apparently either high sedimentation rates or more clay in the soil than expected overcame the infiltration and the pond was unexpectedly born.

I guess I am biased, I've never had a 13-acre pond within walking distance of my house before. I kind of like this "as is". Of course the floods last summer that just about entered my basement are also part of this same pondscape. I swear, the older I get the harder it is to find a simple answer. Hopefully, this will end well.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ice Out

Finally.The ice finally goes out

This has been quite the winter here in Wisconsin and for much of the northern US. Kind of a winter from the old days when the drifts were six feet deep and the cold was of the below zero sort. All the global warming outcry and the accompanying mild winters lulled us into a sense of warm security. I know I was certainly wondering what was going on when I was mowing the lawn in November the last few years. So this winter, whether it was a fluke or not, was different from the last few winters and was certainly long enough to create cabin fever. Which has made us all anxious for spring. In those afore-mentioned "olden days", the ice going out was a big event. I've never been around water as the ice was melting, "going out" to use that old term. Today though, I saw a little bit of it in action. Ice going out, to me, looks more like ice rotting and literally dissolving in place more than anything else. With a little wind today, I sat on the shore and watched big chunks of it break off, get blown around and melt, almost in front of my eyes. Neat stuff.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

John Abrahams and Superior Surf Systems in Duluth

John Abrahams was the best man in our wedding. We've kept in touch over the years, although that could always be improved upon. He has been in Duluth, MN for the last eon or so, which also happens to be the town where I spent the bulk of my childhood years. It's a great place if you bring your own job with you. Or start something, which is what John has done. I got a call from him last night. He's coming down to Canoecopia for the first time ever and staying with us. Should be big fun. He's a great guy. And he is also the founder of Superior Surf Systems. I knew he had been thinking of starting a kayak shop and I had searched for him and all sorts of kayak keywords near Duluth. Turns out he does surf skis. These are unusually long sit-on-top kayaks. surf skis
So I was googling for the wrong thing this whole time. Anyway, it turns out that surf skis got their start in South Africa and have been around awhile but are keeping a VERY low profile. John is determined to change that a bit and bring surf skiing to the Midwest and Lake Superior.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

a very interesting geography website

An interesting website I stumbled across today - Geosense

After too many hours shoveling snow, I came in and sat down for a bit. Yesterday's blizzard was amazing! A real old fashioned blizzard! Anyway, Stumbleupon is a neat little utility I use once in awhile. You press the button and it serves up a random site for your time wasting pleasure. Kind of like channel surfing.

Today Stumbleupon served up Geosense to me. I tried it and was quickly hooked. It's nothing more than a simple game where you try to pinpoint the given location before your competitor does. You can play against the clock as well. Try it. I thought I knew my geography...this site is showing me otherwise!

The snow we have on the ground in the Madison, WI. should certainly make for a great water year!

Friday, February 1, 2008

some work in a different time zone

I went out to the Outdoor Retailer show last week. Quite the experience. In prior lives I had been to a few expo-type things and some conventions. But nothing as big as this show. Every day of walking the show floor led to sore tired feet. It's been a while since that has happened. I even brought what I thought were the right shoes for walking on concrete floors. Funny how the odd and unexpected things end up making the strongest impact.

The show itself was remarkable. If you are an outdoorsy person this place would have been pretty close to heaven. Just about every possible gear maker and vendor was there. This was the winter show so things skewed towards winter sports and not so much towards summer. I was hoping for more of the paddling stuff, but...I guess that's for the next show this coming August - the Summer Outdoor Retailer - supposed to be even bigger than the Winter Outdoor Retailer.

What did I find? All sorts of things - beyond the people I was lucky enough to meet - here's one of the things I liked that I found at the show - toe socks - from Injinji. They are a mix of non-scratchy wool and several other fabrics.

toe socks from InjinjiI like how they feel. This might be an acquired taste for some though. For others, especially if you like flipflops with the anchor thing between your toes, you'll love these socks.

Two more things that caught my eye, amongst the plethora (word for the day) of displays that were filled with other neat things.

1 - LipZip lip balm. I think this stuff is for skiers, but their innovations solve two problems for me which is why I like it. Lip Zip lip balmThey added a small hinge to the cap, so now you can't lose the cap, it is attached to the barrel. They also added a retractable string and a clasp to the bottom of the barrel. So now you can hook it on a belt loop or a D-ring, instead of losing it or forgetting to take it out of your pocket and then running it through the washer.

2 - Smartshield sunscreen and bug repellant - Like LipZip's market, the sunscreen bug juice market is an old giant already full of products. But again I thought this was a product that had a couple of nice innovations and therefore is significantly different from what is already out there. First, their product is applied with a towelette. Personally, I have ALWAYS DISLIKED sprays and lotions, both sunscreen and bug juice, so I have tended not to use them. I do however like towelettes, especially the towelettes you get from KLM on some of their flights. And now from Smartshield too.
SmartshieldThe second thing I like about this sunscreen/bug juice is that it is based on aloe vera. This means that it will absorb into skin and not sit on top of skin like petrol-based products. If you enjoy the blessings of a head without hair, like I do, this is big because this is a sunscreen I can put on top of my head that won't runoff when I sweat and trickle into my eyes and sting like crazy. Once summer rolls around I'll post again with some results.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

pleasant places off the beaten path

A recent comment on a blog entry brings up the notion of just how many neat places there are that are off the beaten path. This kind of fits the theme of our "pleasant places" newsletter column. It also fits my own style, now that the comment from Thomas in Oklahoma has made me think about it.

So in the interest of being a trend follower and putting up a Top Ten list on a website and because I really like these places and they are all a GOOD LONG WAYS off of the beaten path, here is my Top Ten List of "Pleasant Places Off the Beaten Path". Most of them are water-centric too. Sorry about the run-on sentence back there....
Top Ten Places Off the Beaten Path

10. The Jersey Lily, Ingomar, MT. - This one barely made the list, it's one of my Dad's favorites. Hwy.12 wide spot, pot belly wood stove in the middle of the store.

9. Roslyn, WA. - About a half-hour off of I-90 on the dry east side of Snoqualmie Pass. aka Cicely, Alaska. A mid-90's television show I liked, Northern Exposure, was filmed here. Full of Ponderosa pines. Great spot. Getting close to north Cascades.

8. Duluth, MN. - My hometown, right at the tip of Lake Superior. In college, the lakeshore was a dump, full of college bars. Not that way anymore.

7. (tie) National Bison Range, Moiese, MT. - A neat spot to view some wildlife. Near Ravalli. About 30 minutes northwest of Missoula.

7. Leavenworth, WA. - Touristy, but I love the part of the Cascades especially Tumwater Canyon that this town is nestled in. Wenatchee River is right in town too.

6. (tie) "up North", northern Wisconsin - I usually stop in central WI, but this part of the state is great too.

6. Winthrop, WA. - In the heart of the north Cascades. Remote, quiet, deer grazing in the village baseball field kind of place. Fabulous spot. Takes some effort to get to though.

5. Ely, Mn. - Major put-in for BWCA canoeing trips. Very remote. Watch out for moose on the roads. Almost met my maker here after narrowly missing a monsterishly large moose while driving my Ford Fiesta through a -40 degree night on the way to this town.

4. Missoula, MT. - Graduated from college here. Fabulous spot. Remote. Bitterroot River and valley is very nice.

3. Lake Wazeecha, Wisconsin Rapids, WI. - hard to beat a sweet spot like this, only a couple hours away from home

2. Stanley, ID. - For me the most remote spot on the list. Special. I think Idaho is the best kept secret in the country because of places like this.

1. Salmon, ID. - My favorite spot - Spent a ton of time in this little unknown hard to get to mountain town. Great spot. Great memories. Go there.

Some of these places are somewhat struggling because they are TOO far off the beaten path. Wisconsin Rapids (near Lake Wazeecha), for example, is about a half-hour off of I-39. Everyone from Chicago blasts by the exit (Hwy. 73) for this area, on their way "'up North" to Minocqua and Eagle River. I think this area of "inner WI." has EVERYTHING going for it that Minocqua et al has. Except for the fact that no one takes the exit to discover it.....

I hope people that read this will post some comments on their favorite remote spots!

Canoecopia booth

Quietwater Films will have a booth this year at Canoecopia. Canoecopia is the largest paddlesports expo/convention/tradeshow in the country.Canoecopia 2007 It happens in Madison, WI. this year from March 7-9 at the Alliant Energy center. I walked the aisles last year along with my wife and kids. Big fun just being part of the energy that comes along with a crowd of tens of thousands of happy people looking around at outdoor gear.

This year will hopefully be even more fun as an exhibitor. Last year we had nothing to sell or even to show really. This year we'll have three products - a solo canoe DVD, a rec kayak DVD, and a tandem canoe DVD.

One of the things that makes Canoecopia interesting is the great bunch of speakers who give talks on a wide range of paddlesports-related topics. The talks are free with your admission. The hardest part is finding a space to sit in some of the speaking rooms. Many of the talks are jam packed. The swimming pool of the adjacent hotel also gets used as a demo area, so there are demonstrations given live on the water too!

As a spectator last year, I really enjoyed it. The whole Exhibition center is filled up with boats and equipment and people. It's a fun time. Vendors come from across the country. People attend from all over the US and Canada as well.