Canoe as ice breaker


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
I just came back from the local lake. I broke 1/2 inch of ice at the dock and then 100 yards of ice to get to open water. I have found no information on canoes as ice breakers. I'd have felt better in aluminum but what I have is a Trailcraft and that means stringers and canvas as in a kayak. Obviously, it never broke through the canvas or I'd be too cold to write now. Still, what is the experience with canoes in ice?
did it

12/31/99. Columbiaville, MI. Paddled the 1926 OT HW. Mostly open water but did paddle through some thin sheets of ice. Every thing froze solid that night. I think the Old Town was the last boat on the resevoir that millenium.

Not a big deal for the w/c canoe. A trail craft skin on frame seems a bit more vulnerable, But gald to hear all went well.
Well, you need to get Garrett Conover's book "Beyond the Paddle". But geeze, I just looked and its out of print, and used copies start at seventy-eight smackers (That's $77.29 Canadian, Andre)! Try your local library...
As Dave mentioned, suspended skin might require caution and good judgement (why would anybody with good judgement be paddling through ice in the first place??? :)) On a typical wood/canvas you might scratch the paint, but that's about all. Plastic, fiberglass, etc. might be better if you're worried about damage.

Someday, somewhere, before you hang up your paddle for good, find a lake with about 1/4" of nice black ice on it and a nice sunny day without wind. Take a long, strurdy paddle that you don't mind abusing a bit, kneel in the canoe and make a 3'-4' wide path through the ice as you paddle. You do part of this by sliding the bow up onto the ice a bit and letting it break the ice as it settles down and part by chopping with the paddle blade. Go for a while and then turn around (make a loop) and follow the path back.

Why? You ask? First of all, it satisfies some childish desire that most of us have to break things - like popping bubble wrap. Secondly, on a still, quiet day the sounds are priceless! All the little broken bits along the edges of your path move with your wake against the ice sheet and sound like the ice cubes rattling in a thousand scotches on the rocks. With every paddle stroke, your return trip sounds like wind chimes. Absolutely worth the price of admission and one of those simple paddling experiences that you remember for years.
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