There is no display of canoes that can rival the abundance of elegant, historic and finely crafted wooden canoes as there is at the annual Assembly of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association. Every summer, about 300 canoe enthusiasts and family members gather together for four days to learn about and enjoy these beautiful boats. The Assembly features workshops and programs on canoe building and restoration, paddling skills, wood canoe history, kids’ programs, group paddling excursions and lots of friendship and fun.
This year’s gathering was at beautiful Paul Smith’s College set on the banks of the Lower St. Regis Lake in the Adirondacks. All the beautiful canoes are set on the lawn overlooking the lake to be enjoyed by all. And there is great paddling right from the campus. We enjoyed a canoe trek to Keese Mill and Black Pond in search of loons, and a guided paddle with a naturalist on Barnum Pond and Heron Marsh. The sunset over the lake during our evening paddle was accentuated by the call of Redwing blackbirds and the soulful tremolo of the loon.
A favorite activity of the kids is the annual “hands on the teepee”. Each year a different color hand print adorns the giant canvas teepee set up on the green. There are quite a few handprints from Kenny and Alex from years past!
The winds kicked up during the day and presented a challenge to get across the lake. And the winds did not cooperate for the final evening which resulted in cancellation of the annual “Paddle By” canoe parade. The photos of the Paddle By in our album are from last year’s Assembly. But that did not stop us from enjoying music and laughter with lots of friends at a campfire overlooking the lake. It is always bittersweet to say good-bye to our paddling friends from all over the country and Canada (and one from England!) but we know we will see them and share canoe trips and laughter once again next year.
The Wooden Canoe Heritage Association is a non-profit membership organization devoted to preserving, studying, building, restoring, and using wooden and bark canoes, and to disseminating information about canoeing heritage throughout the world.