Paddlers Young and Old(er)

By Kate WIlliams

Good morning, all. A couple of items came across my desk this week that sharpened my thinking about the power of paddling for all ages:

#1: The first came in the form of a phone call from Kathy Whitney of Lakeville, Maine. She shared with me the news that her husband, Gil Whitney, set off from Old Forge, NY on May 1 in a 14′ 6″ kayak to through paddle our trail. She was calling to share not only the big-ness of this launch – her husband is turning 67 in July – and to ask that the NFCT network keep an eye out for him. But also and most importantly to share what it means to both of them. As she put it, she’s really nervous, but also very moved by it and supportive.  She described the pre-launch night she and Gil spent in Old Forge. He didn’t sleep much and in a middle of the night conversation shared with Kathy that setting out to through paddle the NFCT is “the second greatest thing I’ve done in my life. The first was marrying you….”

I wish you gentle tail winds, Gil, and I encourage all of our on-the-trail partners to keep an eye out for Gil, to lend him a hand when he’s passing through, and to e-mail Kathy with any news.

#2:  A day later, I was clicking through some e-mails and followed a link to the Adirondack Paddler, the blog spot authored by our Saranac Lake partners Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters.  GREAT information, images, and inspiration about getting out on the water as a family (check out the video).  NFCT’s own youth program, the Northern Forest Explorer’s program, launched in summer 2008, met with resounding enthusiasm, even yielding this quote:  “I think carrying canoes is fun!”  From gathering creatures at the water’s edge, to bouncing across a wavy lake, kids manage to find the joy and adventure in every aspect of the paddling experience.  I know many of you get out there with your kids – please send me your pictures and stories!

Barbara Anneka and Theron CT RiverGrandma Williams, and grandkids Theron and Anneka, on the Connecticut River, NFCT Section 7

(the kids actually did lots of paddling -they’re just relaxing for this photo opp)