An important part of Canoe North Adventures trip planning is matching an appropriate route to the skill level of our participants. The pace of each trip is determined by the group and its least experienced member. For our canoe expeditions, you should be comfortable in and around water, and have at least some flatwater paddling experience. For more advanced trips, you should have whitewater experience combined with being a strong flatwater paddler.
When assessing the fit between a paddler and a river, we first look at the demands of the river. How technical is the river and what physical demands will it ask of paddlers. Are there elements of risk associated with remoteness, elevation change, weather or the length of the trip? We then look at the skills and physical ability of the paddler along with their attitude and overall ability. We encourage those thinking of coming on a Canoe North Adventure trip to conduct their own self-assessment but with the realization that most people underestimate their ability and skills. Most important is to talk to one of us to determine which river would be appropriate.
Novice paddlers are not beginner paddlers. They are comfortable in a canoe and around water. They may not have any river experience but have spent time in a canoe on lakes and are comfortable with basic paddling strokes. The pace on the river will be fairly relaxed and the leaders will be very involved in upgrading skills and training on the river.
Intermediate paddlers should have spent a fair bit of time on either lakes or rivers and be comfortable around water. Although not all padders have river experience, you should have basic canoeing skills and ready to take on a new experience that could take you outside your comfort zone and into a safe and fun challenge. The leaders will be very involved in upgrading skills and training on the river. It will be expected that group members contribute to the team development of the group.
Advanced paddlers should be ready to take on a more challenging outdoor environment that could be remote and be ready to play their part in as a team player with adaptability and good attitude important to the trip. Although extensive skills are not required, more advanced ability is important.