Some "Ancient" Canoeing History

I stumbled upon this YouTube video of a group of canoers paddling the Flambeau River in northern Wisconsin back in 1966. It’s interesting that all of the boaters that are shown know at least a little about what they are doing, but PFDs are almost nowhere to be seen (I’m sure no one wore their seat belt during the drive to the river either - that’s how things were back then). It’s interesting how in the days before digital photography, shooting a video like this wasn’t something many people could do, yet nowadays, everyone shoots video, and professional-looking editing and background music are taken for granted.

Anyway, this was all before my time, but I’ve enjoyed paddling that river several times and recognized one spot for sure, and recognized the section on the South Fork by the description as being a place I’ve paddled too (though when I was there, one guy in the group described that part of the South Fork as “a lot of water going in a lot of different directions”). I found the choices of canoes to be interesting as well.

Within 10 years folks renting canoes for whitewater were wearing PFDs as I remember doing so on the Chattooga River back then. I also wore them in Florida in the winter although all that was required was the seat cushion type flotation at the time for each person in the canoe. The photo I am posting was a mid winter fishing trip on the Santa Fe River, FL in 1976 or 77. We have on Sterns PFDs and are paddling my first canoe a 16’ fiberglass Mohawk canoe made in Longwood, FL and purchased new for $180.

66 was a good year. I graduated by high school.

At first, I thought I might see myself in that video. When I was about 8, my family went on our 1st canoe trip - a week on that river. My mom & sister (12) in one boat and my dad, brother (5) and I in the other. I remember Daddy lined the boats down a few of the rapids and we portaged once or twice. Quite an adventure. Thanks for the memory.

66 was indeed a good year…
I bought my first new car; a 66 Mustang.
It was a “babe” magnet, and I have “always” loved the ladies.

These day women in their 50s with a daughter or two, whose eyes are seemingly surgically attached to a gadget…make Mom look pretty good.

My wife catches me a lot.
Gives me the “Move along; nothing to see here for an old man” look.
What a killjoy…


I miss the old SEDA PFD’s. Definitely were a step up from my old Stearn plaid PFD (LOL)!