Urban canoeing: Lake Phalen to Gervais Lake

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Here are some pictures from a nice little canoeing trip we took with our friend, Jim. He owns a beautiful wood canvas canoe. The three of us became friends at YMCA Camp Widjiwagan in Ely, where wood canvas canoes are used as part of the curriculum to teach young people about teamwork and environmental stewardship. In addition to being easy on the eye, wood canvas canoes are very quiet on the water–much quieter than Scrappy, our aluminum canoe.

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It was nice to spend some time in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood of Saint Paul. We hardly make it over there. We put in at Lake Phalen, padded through Phalen Park, portaged around a bridge repair project to Round Lake, paddled along a scenic creek leading to Keller Lake, and then paddled under Highway 36 into Gervais Lake. It was getting dark, so we didn’t spend much time on Gervais Lake before heading back to the put-in. People gush about the Minneapolis chain of lakes, but the Phalen-Gervais chain of lakes is quite nice, too. Some highlights: water fowl, families enjoying the park, ice cream truck, many bridges, kayakers practicing rolling, fall leaves, quiet canoe, spending time with a good friend.

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