Tank’s Thoughts: I’m a Canoe Dog Now

This is Tank, reporting for this week’s Notes from the Trail. When we were camped on Spoon Lake, the ice disappeared. That means we can’t walk on the lakes anymore. We have this big yellow/tan thing that Dave and Amy call a canoe. I’ll tell you all about what it is like to canoe.

First of all, it is amazing to see these lakes when they are all water. There are some birds that float on the water sometimes. Amy tells me they are loons. They make an interesting sound sometimes. There is a mammal that swims around in the water too. It is a large rodent called a beaver. They don’t make noise except when they slap their tails on the water.

A day after the ice disappeared, the water started moving. I got really excited when that happened. I thought it was maybe fish or beavers or some sort of sea monster making the water move. I started barking at the water. I ran back and forth, trying to figure out what was making the water move. I barked and barked. I got my paws wet. I even tried to bite the water. Amy told me that I was seeing waves on the water, caused by wind. I’m still not sure about that. Any time I see the water move, I get kind of anxious.


Tank barked at the first waves he saw.

What do you think was going on in Tank’s head when he saw waves for the first time?
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We use the canoe to get across the lakes. I know that it is a travel day when I see Dave and Amy pack up the tent. They carry their big bags down to the shore. They put the canoe in the water. Then they put the big bags in the canoe. We get in last. They call me and tell me to get in. It takes me a minute. I have to work up the courage to get in. The first couple of times Dave picked me up and put me in the canoe. Then they tell me to sit. I know “sit” really well. Sometimes I get treats if I sit, so I always sit when they tell me to.


Tank practiced riding in the canoe when there was still ice on most of the lakes.

Once we’re all in the canoe, Dave and Amy use these long stick-like things to move the canoe. I guess those are called paddles. I don’t have to paddle, because I’m a dog. I just sit. I sit and look around. Sometimes we go out in the middle of the lake. That is kind of boring, so I relax. Sometimes we paddle close to shore. That is really interesting. If I see something I am curious about or if I see waves, I whine.

When we are done canoeing across a lake, Dave finds a spot called a portage. A portage is a trail from one lake to another. I know what trails are because I’m a sled dog. I’m used to running on trails. Dave and Amy carry their big bags across the portage. I walk with them. During the first couple days of traveling, I didn’t have to do any work. Amy tells me that, starting tomorrow, I get to carry some things in a special dog backpack. It is kind of like a harness. I’m really used to wearing a harness. The only difference is that Dave and Amy will put stuff in this backpack, so it weighs more than a harness.
What are some similarities about traveling in the wilderness in the winter and in the summer? What are some differences?
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We do two trips across each portage. Amy and Dave carry stuff across to the new lake and then walk back to the old lake. Then they carry the rest of the stuff across. Probably the craziest thing I’ve see is when Dave or Amy carries the canoe. This great big thing that is 19 feet long is carried by one person! They just pick it up, flip it upside down and put it on their shoulders. I don’t understand why we don’t just pull it across the portage, like a toboggan on the ice and snow. Dave tried to explain the reason to me, something about rocks and damaging the canoe.
That is basically our routine. Paddle across the lakes and carry stuff across the portages. Sometimes the paddling takes a long time. Sometimes it is a short paddle. The portage trails are different lengths too. In one day we canoed across eight lakes. When we got to Newfound Lake, Dave and Amy looked for a campsite.
Do you think you would like canoeing and camping? Why or why not?
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Tank and Dave relax in camp.

At the campsite, we got out of the canoe. They unloaded everything. Then they set up their tent. I took a nap while they did that. Amy gave me my dinner of kibble. I like that. Then Dave and Amy ate dinner. Everybody went to sleep when it got dark out. The loons made noise and then got quiet. It is time to go to sleep. I guess tomorrow, we’ll do it all over again. I can’t wait to see more lakes and trails! I’m called a sled dog because I pull a sled in the winter. I think it’s fair to say that I’m a canoe dog because I ride in a canoe.

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