By Makaela Willis, Marketing & Owner Services Assistant
Canoe Reflections LLC is one of our two canoe-based Community Partners. They provide canoe-camping experiences for women on Michigan’s serene Manistee River just north of Cadillac, Michigan. Participents get to camp along the river on State Forest land, setting up their own sites. Those with little or no paddling experience are most welcome – guidance in handling a canoe and setting up camp is provided by Sally Van Cise, A.C.A. certified canoe instructor and river guide.
I had the amazing opportunity to have a little interview with Sally and find out more about this empowering and calming experience.
What inspired you to create these empowering experiences for women through your business?
“I wanted to share the beauty, peacefulness, stillness, and sense of “just being” which I experience when paddling. Time slows down, there are no deadlines. There are just sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that can only be found on a river.”
What is your favorite experience that you have had on a recent camping trip?
“Recently on Lake Superior, I loved lying in my tent and listening to the sounds of the water rolling onto the rocky shore. Last October on the Manistee River, I simply sat in my chair after dinner and watched the full moon coming up through the trees, giving an amazing light to everything.”
Which camping trip do you prefer, the one-day or the three-day experience?
“The one-day trips are easy, involving very little preparation. Even in 4 hours, the river gives you a feeling of quiet peacefulness. It’s a good way to meet and enjoy the river. The three-day trips do involve more preparation beforehand, as well as more paddling. But you get a deeper feeling for the river and its gifts. Your involvement in setting up and breaking down camp, helping with meals, and packing the boats leaves you feeling accomplished. You learn things about yourself and about the river that you had never imagined.”
I know that I am hoping to give this experience a try this upcoming season!
What is something you wished our Owners and community knew about your business?
“As an American Canoe Association certified instructor, I have two other options for people:
- I can provide gentle instruction on a safe small lake for a couple of hours. I call this “training your canoe.”
- I can combine the lake and river paddling guidance. In the morning I help folks refine their skills while on a small lake; in the afternoon, we go out on the river for practice. Those who have joined me really liked it.
I wish people knew what a pleasure canoeing is. I wish people knew the joy of solo canoes – you are alone in your canoe.”
Sally also wanted to give a reminder that this upcoming year she will only be doing day trips or instruction. No 3-day trips this year. If you recently got a new canoe, or want to learn a new skill over the summer, Sally would be a great person to learn how to “train your canoe!” For Co-op Owners, Canoe Reflections LLC offers 10% off any 1-day trip or 2-hour instruction session.
For more information visit Canoe Reflections LLC on Facebook or give Sally a call at 989-866-6321. You can also learn more about the business on our Community Partners page! I am hoping to try my hand at paddling in a canoe down the river sometime soon with Sally! Wish me luck!