Now, where did I put that old canoe?

Jul 15, 2011 | 2 comments

Canoe Trip

     I’ve been on the search for an old wooden canoe.  Actually, a wood frame and canvas canoe like those that are clear in my memory.  When I went to Camp Willapa in the 1940s, there were lots of them.  I think they were orange but maybe it was only those puffy, bulky life jackets that were orange.
     Not being especially outdoor oriented, I haven’t given much thought to those canoes for a good many (maybe 60) years.  So when I enthusiastically agreed to help out with the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum’s ‘Summer Camps on the Peninsula’ exhibit, I pictured those canoes just as I had last seen them – lined up in the boat house at Camp Willapa, ready for use.  One of them would make the perfect centerpiece for the exhibit!
     Camp Willapa, of course, has not existed as such since 1958 when Alan and Barbie Greiner bought the property and, shortly thereafter, opened their ‘next generation’ Camp Sherwood Forest.  My son and step-daughter went there, as I had gone to Camp Willapa.  They went on canoe trips to Long Island and on canoe overnights up the Naselle, as I had done.  And like me, they loved it all.
     It never occurred to me that the canoes might have been replaced with newer models.  Surely not aluminum or fiberglass?  Or, even worse, maybe as liability concerns mounted in the ’70s and ’80s, they got rid of the canoes all together?  Surely not.  But when I inquired… not a one left.  Gone to bugs every one!
       So, the quest continues.  I’m not being so picky now.  Just a nice wooden canoe that doesn’t look too modern would be fine.  The exhibit will open in mid-August.  That gives us a few more weeks to find the canoe of my memory, or a facsimile thereof.  Meanwhile, I do have a couple of vintage paddles out in the garage…


  1. Betsy

    You are the best curator. The details of your memories and the tenacity of your search will make this show extraordinary. Thanks!

  2. roger

    I had different idea on canoes till I read yr post nice mate


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