Monday, October 11, 2010

An unsung hero of the Algonquin Outfitters rental fleet

The Compatriot waits patiently for its next paddler
 The humble little red solo canoe in the picture above is a Mad River Compatriot. Unlike the majority of the canoes in our fleet, it will never find its way to the "used canoes for sale" rack. This canoe is over 25 years old, still going strong and has the distinction of being the "most requested" canoe we have. One woman took it on four trips this summer and likes it so much she has even named it "Cherry." Another customer called several times to confirm that the Compatriot was available for his trip this fall and when it was all over, he left us a nice note:
This is the sixth or seventh time I have rented this canoe – and I love it more each time. Thanks!
What is about the Compatriot that people love so much? At 13 feet, it is relatively small, even for a solo canoe. Despite that, it is very stable, has good carrying capacity and is a pleasure to paddle. It is a canoe that will reliably carry you on a solo adventure and let you concentrate on the experience and the landscape, not whether or not you are going to fall out of the canoe if you lean a little too far to one side. This description from the 1981 Mad River Canoe catalog I found in the AO archives (see why you should never throw anything away!) sums it up:
... our Compatriot is a light responsive boat, perfect for the single paddler. Built along the lines of the Malecite, the Compatriot is easy to paddle, designed for lake or river touring. It will carry lightweight gear easily, respond well in tight situations and is light enough to carry along with the gear on portages. Even small children can paddle a Compatriot with ease, enjoying the response of a canoe to their own paddle stokes.
The Compatriot in 1983, in its original brown colour and wood trim

The photo above was posted on the AO Facebook page by longtime customer David P from Ohio. David wrote: "Here's a look back to 1983 when I took a spin in what became a good friend, the Mad River Compatriot, seen here at the Thomson-Littledoe beaver dam. Over the years there were some changes to the seat, thwarts and I recall the clamp on yoke was replaced by a permanent one, but what seems like yesterday are the images of the park. Thanks for all the help and friendliness over the years!"

Sunday, October 03, 2010

OK, so it didn't snow...

But the SUN came out, after what seemed liked an eternity of cloudy, rainy September days. Wind and rain have knocked down some leaves but the colours are still pretty nice and, hopefully, will hang in there for the upcoming long weekend.

Don't forget, if you can't get up to Algonquin Park, you can always see the fall colours from space. Regular followers of this blog will remember that we recommend the NOAA satellite image for the Great Lakes region for following ice-out progress. These images, updated several times daily, are also a useful tool for checking on the advance of fall colours in southern Ontario. Here is a snapshot from today. You can clearly see Lake of Bays in the lower left corner.

The nice red tinge of fall colour across central Ontario, as seen from space