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Paddling with Mom

Posted by Rutabaga Staff on 5/9/2013 to Where We Paddle

Staff memories of paddling with Mom


We thought it might be nice this mothers day to give a shout out to all of our mothers who either allowed, tolerated, or inspired us to be the paddlers we are today. I hope you enjoy some of our staff’s memories and hopefully they remind you of a memorable experience paddling with your own Mom. This Sunday we all owe a debt of gratitude to all of our mothers. Give your mom a call, send her an email, write her a letter, buy a nice gift, or all of the above, she deserves it! Happy Mother’s Day!

Margaret’s Memory of Mom

My mom was far too busy raising kids and managing the household. She did have a love of nature, but her idea of a good time was birdwatching and wildflower hunting. She did get a chance to experience the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with a group of friends after all of the kids were either moved out or self sufficient enough that she could do that. Her trips became a yearly thing that did rub off on me as I saw how eager and excited she was to go and peacefully content when she returned. I’ve inherited her Boundary Pack and compass which I continue to use on wilderness trips and will keep to pass on to my kids.

Ty’s Memory of Mom

SUP’ing in Madison has been a hobby of mine since last summer; as long as it is not too windy it can be a great time – even with mom!

The first time I went on a SUP board was during my interview process at Rutabaga Paddlesports. I was in between my first and second interview, and my mom had brought up the idea to rent a canoe. After being in the Rutabaga shop earlier in the week and seeing all the SUP boards I had asked mom if she would be up for it.

Easy! Mom was down, so we headed to the shop. We did not go far, just launched from behind the Rutabaga building, but it was a lot of fun. We made it under the bridge and out to Gilligan’s Island out there, and then headed back in.

The coolest part about SUP for me is looking down onto the lake, but that first time the coolest part was watching my mom get into a new sport. She said it was cool, and it barely took her any time at all to find her balance. Can’t wait to go along with her again, and for spring 2013 to hit! What a cold April it has been.

Marit’s Memory of Mom

My Mom was always in the bow for all our family canoeing adventures. Our most memorable trips were to Quetico Provincial Park in Canada. We went every September. Now the weather in September can be a little unpredictable. I remember once we were paddling in 2+ foot waves, which is big deal when you have two adults and two kids (and all your camping stuff for a week) in an 18 foot canoe. My Mom took every wave head on, and with the help of my father steering from the stern, got us across the lake in one piece. Needless to say I still remember it 30 years later.

Nancy’s Memory of Mom

My Mom isn’t a great paddler but I have a favorite memory of her in a canoe from many years ago. I flew to Florida to spend some time with my vacationing parents and convinced Mom to hop into a rental canoe in Myakka River State Park. It was a very windy day and I was coaching her on how to help me control the boat. As we rounded a bend, a huge alligator was stretched across 1/3 of the river channel. We had plenty of room to get around it, but from Mom’s perspective she was sure we were going to hit it. She froze with her paddle in the air and began to moan, “oh no, oh no, oh no!” As I struggled to keep the boat away from this creature with big teeth, I finally burst out “If you don’t help me we ARE going to hit it – now listen to me and PADDLE!!” That got her moving again and we continued without incident. But we still laugh about the alligator at Myakka.

Scott’s Memory of Mom

My mother was the most skilled duffer(non-paddler along for the ride) I have ever known. She had three absolutely necessary items when going for a day trip on the Wisconsin River. Her red aluminum sling seat for relaxing and reclining in the center of the canoe, her latest mystery novel, and her oversized photochromatic glasses…the kind that got darker when you went outside. Without them she was blind as a bat. She may not have contributed much in getting us from point A to point B but she was johnny-on-the-spot with snacks and drinks from the cooler and willing to wield her sandal as formidable weapon if any of us three boys got out of hand. Even though it may not have been her first choice of activites for the day, she was always more than willing to go along so that us boys could swim, fish, and paddle. Thanks Mom!

Darren’s Memory of Mom

The first time I paddled with my mother was in the Superior National Forest. She had never been to the north woods and was caught in a conundrum: take pictures like crazy or just soak it in. I told her we had a week, so she started relaxing and just paddling. She saw pictographs, old growth white pine, and wild blueberries, which became an instant favorite. Fashionable socks were replaced with warm ones, and her normally citified ways became more rustic. Since then we’ve paddled all over the place, including a trip to Baja California. Mom is still kayaking at 72. She’s my hero.

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