If you're ever on Arkansas's Buffalo National River and you see an empty canoe drifting on cyan-colored water in the shade of the bluffs, don't assume that you've scored a boat. Similarly, if you see a canoe sans paddler riding the ripples of the Current River in the spring, when the water is cool and quick, don't assume that its owner is in the Ozarkian equivalent of Davy Jones' Locker. Assume nothing but siesta if that canoe is a teal-colored Solo Mohawk 13.
That's because owner, Margaret Webb, 56, of Piedmont, Missouri, finds her canoe to be such a stable boat that she's been known to take a horizontal paddling pause, aka a nap, while still rolling down the river. Her husband introduced her to canoeing when she was 32 years old and she progressed from tandem canoes to kayaks to her solo boat, which was an anniversary gift from her hubby. She considered it the perfect gift then and still does.
C&K: So, why is it the perfect gift?
Webb: It maneuvers easily on the river, but tracks well enough too. It pretty much goes where I want it without much thought involved. It's even stable enough that I can be comfortable while sleeping! Self-rescue is easy and it's relatively light for a Royalex boat. Mohawk was pretty good at making their Royalex boats light.
The Current River is a gem. What do you love about it?
The Current River from Pulltite Campground to Round Spring is my favorite place to paddle because you get to see so much wildlife, from otters to wild horses and even eagles.
This was your first and only solo canoe. What was it like the first time you paddled it?
I put it in the water the very next day after our anniversary and it paddled perfectly. It was so relaxing and fun at the same time.
What sorts of challenges do you encounter on those twisty Ozark and Arkansas streams?
This spring, on the Buffalo River in Arkansas, I went under a tree and just didn't make it. I went swimming, but it was a learning experience. If I had just thought to scrunch down in the very bottom of the canoe, I would have made it.
Your husband led you into paddling, which led you to solo paddling. Tell us about that journey.
We went on many wonderful trips all over this country and in Canada too, including whitewater rafting in British Columbia, the Colorado River, and the Nantahala River, which was on my bucket list.
And where haven't you paddled that you still wanna?
That would be String Lake in Wyoming, located in the Grand Teton National Park.
Any parting words?
It's the perfect canoe for me, so perfect that I wish I could figure out a way to live in it all year round; that would be my dream.
Have a canoe or kayak you love? Want it to be in RIDES? Contact Katie McKy at email@example.com and put "RIDES profile" in the subject line. You will have to provide photos of you and your beloved boat.