View topic - Beaver Dam Carry Overs when Solo

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:48 pm 
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I have quite a bit of experience tandem canoeing and doing beaver dam carry overs with two people but now that I am into solo canoeing with a very light carbon/kevlar Swift pack canoe what are the best practices for getting over beaver dams when going solo.

Thanks in advance for any advice offered.

Rob


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:50 pm 
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The only real difference in my experience is that your are more likely to get wet and more likely to tweak your back.

"Best practices" depend on how finicky you are about (mostly superficial) damage to the boat. I'm not so my strategy is to power over as much as possible then get out and pull with most of the power coming from pushing with my legs from the far side of the dam (while swearing at those pesky beavers).

Of course once I'm over the dam I thank the beavers for making a nice pond to paddle over to the next damn dam.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:03 am 
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It's like any situation where you can't get side on to climb out of the canoe. It's not going to be pretty.

I always work on the premise that it is better to get one's bottom half wet than end up over balancing and getting wet from head to toe in the process of trying to keep your feet dry.

Most canoes are pretty tough provided you don't bridge them. Solos also become incredibly unstable when just the ends are in contact with the ground/water so it is probably worth avoiding that situation anyway.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:32 am 
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When conditions allow I will get speed up and power up onto the dam as far as possible. Then crawl forward on packs and step onto dam. Then decide if some weight has to come out of the canoe. Pull the canoe over but hang onto one of the ropes. I will often times walk to end of dam and reenter the canoe from the creek bank.

I wet foot and do not mind wading but wallowing in beaver musk can leave you reeking.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:40 am 
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I carry two packs, one in front of me and one behind. I don't know what the accepted method is, but this is how I deal with it.

Going downstream...land parallel/sideways, step out, grab pack from behind the seat, throw it on the dam. now the canoe, from the midpoint, or just forward of it (because I left the front pack in the boat), lift and swing the front around and over the dam. The weight of the pack in the front will tip and slide the canoe down the dam. Walk the gunwales down the slope. Hang on to the stern or stern painter line! Replace stern pack as it slides by, if gentle slope makes this possible. Place canoe sideways parallel to dam. Add rear pack. Hop in.

Going upstream. Same thing, but both packs will have to come out and be placed on the dam. Boat wants to float away while moving packs, so hang on to the painter line. Grab the gunwale fore and aft of the mid point, crouch and lift/swing the canoe up over the dam. Throw the front pack in. Slide the canoe into the water. Replace the rear pack. Place canoe parallel to the dam. Hop in.

If the creek is narrower than my canoe length, it gets uglier.

As Chris said above..."it's not pretty."

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:20 pm 
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Location: Denver, CO
"but hang onto one of the ropes".

no matter your technique, hanging on to the painter is critical to the operation, and it really is best to have painters on both ends - for example, you get out of your boat, hold the bow painter and shove the boat back out, then walk it around to the gap/spillway in the dam and haul it up (or float it down) the slope, then change to the stern painter and shove the boat off again, and then walk it to the best spot for getting back in

I've found that as often of not, the "ends" of the dam are easier to work from - at least the water is shallower there - sometimes you can just haul your loaded boat around in the wet grass near the ends - and yes, I do that with my ultralight kevlar boats. boat is a tool - I'd rather damage it than myself, so long as any damage is superficial, so I have no qualms at all about slideing the loaded boat over the lower dams - especially if the wood is wet and slippery, or even just reasonably smooth.

for dams that are too high to haul a loaded baot over, you just have to pick your spot and unload, shift the boat and reload -


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:50 am 
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Location: Manitoba
Parallel or end in and crawl along the gunwales but either way, as Mattt stated, "but hang onto one of the ropes".

Sometimes I land at the best landing site and then line the canoe to the best location for crossing the dam. There is no one size fits all with beaver dams.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:11 am 
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I usually get wet so unless it's warm out I wear dry suit or dry pants. Kevin Callan has a video depicting how he crosses them somewhere...my way is pretty much the same lol.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:08 pm 
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Very funny, that Kevin Callan!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk8sfEQRwY8
:D :D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:57 pm 
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Unfortunately the "crawl over the packs option" is not an option for those of us who are gyroscopicly challenged and paddling a Wildfire!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:23 am 
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Unless there are big rocks in the dam I leave both packs in. I run the boat onto the dam, or at least into the sticks on the low side, then crawl over the front pack. The bow is partially supported by the sticks. I often have to grab a stick and squeeze it against the gunnel with one hand to keep the boat from moving backwards as I crawl forward. Once out on the dam I heave the canoe over and get back in. I usually just grab a paddle to stick in the stern as it slides off the dam, rather than untying a painter. The only tricky situation is going upstream, when I have to drag the canoe basically straight up, with the bow in the air, until the main pack (50 lbs) in the back is level with the top of the dam. Then I pull down the bow and slide the boat in. The pack is right on the dam when I pull down. If I just pull straight over with the bow low, the weight of the pack in the back bends the canoe across the dam and the canoe can crack :-( Light weight kevlar has its limits.

I can only recall getting wet once. I was going downstream, the dam was three feet high, it had many long sticks on the downstream side. There was another dam just downstream so the water on the low side was waist deep. The stern was about three feet from where I was standing, so I took a giant step down and into the stern. With my big pack in the back and all my weight even further back, the stern submerged, the boat was wildly unstable, and I did a graceful back flop into the beaver pond, swamping the boat. The move has worked fine on many other dams, because on the downstream side the water is usually very shallow, so the stern just hits the bottom. If I ever get in the same situation again, with deep water, I am going to try a superman style dive onto my stomach onto the main pack.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:05 am 
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My technique.

Ramming speed.

Crawl up to the front of the canoe and then get out and stand on the beaver dam.

Pull my canoe up and over.

Put my canoe parallel to the dam using my paddle to make sure my canoe does not float away.

Get in very carefully.

Paddle away.

Aside from wet feet, has worked every time.

One day, I am going to fall in on the canoe re-entry and that is going to be really unpleasant.

But not today.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:15 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Come up sideways. And get out. Put canoe in sideways. Get in
Would you really ram your car into your house? Think about it. That's what you are doing as your canoe is transport and shelter.
Solo canoes are too narrow to get over the end and tandems are pretty unstable too unless you have a barge


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:39 am 
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A lot depends on the size of the beaver pond waterway.
Here we are going from left to right and going upstream gaining height.
In this pic you had to approach from the bottom straight on, but could put in sideways on top.
(we where both paddling solo.

Image

In this pic we had to approach and leave straight on, thick swamp growth on the "down" side, just wide enough for a boat.
And on the put-in side again because of rocks, trees and plant growth we had to go straight. ( I was solo.)

Image

Each beaver dam system will have it's own challenges.

Image

Make sure you have some spare bolts for your yoke ( assuming as a solo boat you will be taking it on and off for each long carry) as I can speak from experience of "dropping " one....... :oops:

Jeff

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:42 pm 
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