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Addison man paddles 750 miles in canoe of his own design

MIDDLEBURY — This past June, Addison canoe designer and builder Peter Macfarlane successfully completed a month-long solo paddle of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a series of traditional waterways that span the northern forests from Old Forge in the south-western Adirondacks of New York State, across Lake Champlain, and on to Fort Kent on the St. John River in northern Maine. The trail features upstream and downstream paddling across small and large rivers, placid and white water, small ponds and large lakes. 
Not only was this 750-mile trip a personal challenge, but also he defied doubters by choosing to paddle a wooden canoe, one of his own design and construction — a 14-foot Sylva Solo Tripper.
Macfarlane will recount this sometimes harrowing journey at Middlebury’s Ilsley Library on Monday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. in a talk titled “1 man, 1 canoe, 750 miles: A personal odyssey along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.”
In this presentation he gives an account of some of the background to the trek, the planning, the hardships and euphoria, the day-to-day decisions and progress, and not least the weather, which was rarely other than hostile. Photos taken along the way offer the audience a chance to share some of the delights and misery alike.
Macfarlane, also known for his tremendous fiddle playing, said the cedar-strip canoe, which he created under the brand name Otter Creek Smallcraft, performed admirably in diverse water conditions, sustaining scrapes and scratches and a broken seat (his own fault). He said in an online blog that he performed nearly as admirably, and emerged weather-beaten but not beaten by the weather, which threw at him almost everything it could.
The event is free and the public is welcome.

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