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Before the slide to the dark side.

It started with my uncle's old wood-canvas "guide" canoe on Lake Winnipesaukee at 4, and progressed
to hours of cruising the shores of small lakes alone (against camp rules) during YMCA summer camps
at 10-14, with the "big trip" of ten Grummans doing thirty miles of Winnipesaukee. Strong winds scared the others one afternoon, but left me with a lasting memory of excitement and exhilaration.
And woven through my youth were my father's
stories of his youth spent at "canoe camps" cruising the lakes and rivers of central Maine in the late 1920s.

At 21, seven years after my last paddle, my Triumph motorcycle morphed seamlessly into a
Chestnut wood-canvas after my last near-fatality in Boston traffic. I then spent lots of time on the lakes and slower rivers of Northern New Hampshire, and
on the Saco River into which I dumped my parents
during an altercation with a large boulder that also crushed the bow of my beautiful canoe. A quick
trip to the Chestnut factory at New Brunswick fixed the canoe; the large boulder temporarily fixed my taste for whitewater.

A paddle across North America, mostly truck- assisted, brought me to the Yukon River, where I
learned to track and pole my Chestnut into a
lifestyle without electricity, plumbing or telephones for eight years. But because of time and space
restraints, I eventually traded the Chestnut for a 19' Grumman square-stern and 6 horse kicker, and put
paddling on hold for fifteen years.

One day, after marriage, babies, a move to the megalopolis of Fairbanks, car-camping, the death of a son, and divorce, I borrowed a Tripper for a solo paddle weekend on the lower Gulkana, a class II
wilderness beauty. The spark that started a
conflagration. The next week I acquired a used
Sunburst II that lasted five years, then a Probe 12, followed by a Viper for the past three. In between; two Grand trips, races, NOC clinics, a week on the Ocoee, starting Fairbanks Paddlers with a friend, two weeks paddling the Portland area, and enough
swims to qualify for a trout-counter's trophy.
Plastic had liberated me from the wood-canvas fear of boulders!

At present I'm 51, the buck-stopper with Fairbanks Paddlers, a part-time electrical contractor, on the Alaska Boating Safety Advisory Council, and
posed for another big change; I bought an RPM
Max this winter and have been working the pool
sessions to death every week since. On Saturday I will hit our season's first big water in the Max, and will find out (for sure!) if roll practice works, and if my Viper will ever see moving water again.

Brad -------------------
Brad Snow
"Alaska isn't the Last Frontier - It's the Last Bite on the plate." Ed Abbey.