The first thing you must learn about canoeing is that the canoe is not
a lifeless, inanimate object: it feels very much alive, alive with the life of the river.
Life is transmitted to the canoe by currents of air and the water upon which it
rides. The behavior and temperament of a canoe is dependent upon the elements:
from the slightest breeze to a raging storm, from the smallest ripple to a towering
wave, or from a meandering stream to a thundering rapid. Anyone can handle a
canoe in a quiet millpond, but in rapids a canoe is like a wild stallion. It must be
kept on a tight rein. The canoeist must take the canoe where he or she wants it to
go, not where it wants to go. Given the chance, the canoe will dump you
overboard and continue on down the river by itself.