Traditional Paddlers Gathering – Minnesota

Yesterday I returned home from the Traditional Paddlers Gathering, which takes place on Lake Carlos in Minnesota. This was my sixth year at the event, and I must say, it is one of my favorites. The place is beautiful, the activities are an absolute blast… and the people… well, they totally rock.

Qajaqs and kayaks fill the lawn next to the warm lake.

Qajaqs and kayaks fill the lawn next to the warm lake.

Throughout the four-day event I taught informal rolling, The Art of Teaching Rolling, Simplifying the Roll, Skin-on-Frame Rescues and an on-land class focused on a discussion of traditional qajaqing. I also ran two sessions of Yoga for Paddlers and did an evening presentation on The Greenland National Kayaking Championship. Typing this, it seems like a lot, but I had so much fun working with the enthusiastic participants that I could’ve kept going for much longer!

A rather scenic parking lot.

A rather scenic parking lot.

In addition to the stuff that I was teaching, there were lots of other classes and activities going on. These included strokes, a really interesting class on making fire, Greenland Rope Gymnastics, a qajaq building demonstration, a harpoon contest and a hand line fishing contest.

Dave Sides works with Andrea on Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

Dave Sides works with Andrea on Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

Fred Randall works on a qajaq during the weekend-long demonstration.

Fred Randall works on a qajaq during the weekend-long demonstration.

Sipke practiced fishing from the dock in preparation for the hand line fishing contest the following morning.

Sipke practiced fishing from the dock in preparation for the hand line fishing contest the following morning.

I participated in the hand line fishing contest. Watching the sunrise on the lake was well worth waking up early for.

I participated in the hand line fishing contest. Watching the sunrise on the lake was well worth waking up early for.

One thing I've learned is that if you're feeling chilly, it's worth finding out where Cindy is. She's great at finding the warmest place in camp :-)

If you’re feeling chilly, it’s worth finding out where Cindy is. She’s great at finding the warmest place in camp 🙂

A few people went for a walk in the woods and brought back some tasty mushrooms. This is likely the largest mushroom that I've ever seen, and the picture only shows half of it!

A few people went for a walk in the woods and brought back some tasty mushrooms. This is likely the largest mushroom that I’ve ever seen, and the picture only shows half of it!

Evening entertainment included movie night, presentations, a silent auction, a raffle and a live auction.

Evening entertainment included movie night, presentations, a silent auction, a raffle and a live auction.

Jeff Bjorgo also kept us entertained with some live music.

Jeff Bjorgo also kept us entertained with some live music.

Evening fires were also fun, and I tried something called a pudgie pie, which was very good.

Evening fires were also fun, and I tried something called a pudgie pie, which was very good.

The qajaq that Fred build was auctioned off on Saturday night.

The qajaq that Fred built was auctioned off on Saturday night.

All in all, it was a fantastic event. Thank you to Michelle, Tony, Jeff, Pete, Cindy, Renee and Sipke for taking such good care of the out of town mentors and to all of the participants who came out for the event. It was wonderful to see/meet you all! See you next year!

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