A Note from the Richardson Tribe:
Ultimately, we decided to ask Santa to deliver two Dick's Sporting Goods canoes capable of accommodating three people each. I figured out that two canoes could be nested with very little modification allowing them to be carried with a minimal footprint. On Christmas Morning 2010, Santa delivered. Now, getting canoes for Christmas might seem a bit odd. It is, after all, pretty cold in the winter, even in our neck of the southern woods. In fact, for the first time in my life, there was snow on the ground on that Christmas morning. Needless to say, we didn't run right out and get in the pond. We waited a couple of days for that.
With regards to carrying the canoes on our Jeep, I began my research well in advance. I found a water craft rack manufactured by Warrior Products which was really nothing more than a luggage/light rack without the basket. It served its purpose but proved to be a bear to install correctly. Once the rack was attached to the Jeep, I discovered how difficult it was to load the two nested canoes by myself. I usually have some help, but I prefer to know I can do it solo if I have to. I solved the loading dilemma by installing a Cabela's Canoe Loader and Rack. This ingenious device made it much simpler and safer to load the canoes, plus it added significant support to the rear portion of the canoe rack.
So, with the
transportation issue resolved and two new canoes, paddles, and life
vests, we did what any eager family would do, we headed south. Our
christening voyage of the Minnow and Manatee (yes, we name
everything we own) was in the 70+ degree waters of
Salt Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National forest. We
couldn't have asked for a better first experience. We were able to
see and touch manatee while paddling around the peaceful waters.
Bonus? No one was eaten by a gator!
The Richardson Tribe
Canoeing and Kayaking - What
You Need to Know
Be sure to check your local laws and guidelines for any additional items that may be required or suggested. We strongly suggest visiting a park or outfitter to rent a watercraft to try out first. If available, take a class, or make your first excursion with an experienced group. Listen to the experts, they have great advice. Never go out alone. Now, go out there and have some fun!