Jim Morris
Palmer Rapids 2001 Instruction
    ("click" to enlarge)

    It was with a heavy heart that I received news of Jim from a friend who had forwarded me the message from WCA's Anne Bradley :
      "Good morning,"

      "It is with much sadness that I am informing you that Jim Morris, a long-time member and whitewater mentor/instructor of the WCA passed away on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 in Orillia.

      Jim will be remembered by many current members of the WCA.

      Jim taught the Whitewater beginner’s course at Palmer Rapids for some 20 years. During that time he was instrumental in starting over 400 WCA members on their whitewater adventures...."



    My story of Jim begain about a year prior to me meeting Jim for the first time:
      I had canoed lakes for over a decade but was humbled, in the year 2000, on an aborted Madawaska river trip in early May. Rivers alone were a mystery and a river in full flood conditions was downright scary. Given our rudimentary river skills, we were fortunate to have upset early and ended up in the safer confines of Palmer rapids. Our attire reflected our experience and we found that there was only so much insulation value in the nylon K-way shells that we wore...fast forward one year later to our meeting with Jim


    2001 Palmer Rapid "Whitewater" Canoe Class

    Jim Morris offered a whitewater canoe course in June 2001 to members of  the WCA along with his close friend Hugh. He had been doing so for about  the last 15 years. and there are some things that are better understood   "by doing" despite the best efforts put forth by Bill Mason in his classic book "Path of the Paddle". A year earlier, it provided enough lingo to convince the people renting the canoes to us that we knew what we were doing and could be trusted to return their boats (and us) in reasonable shape....


    The  class of  2001 numbered fourteen and the year was marked by exceptionally high water levels such that the far left bank ("river left") of Palmer seemed to be in full flood.. Some of the class met up with Jim and Hugh on the Friday night.

    Dry Wet

    Jim and Hugh meeting up with some of their eager students ("click any of pics to enlarge" ) before and after putting on their gear.


    Ahem...demo timeLesson 1

    Jim doing his thing with his ever oblidging volunteer wooden canoe figurine leading the class




    Exam time
    Jim with a student and looking out for stray boats at the bottom of Palmer on "exam Rapids". He's probably reminding people to stay to the left and to "back paddle !!!!"

    boatsstudents

    A plethora of boats, newly indoctrinated students, dragonflies, and great fun

    what are friends for...

    Jim and Hugh (above) celebrating at the end of class with a beer and the imminent arrival of steaks cooked on Hugh's custom BBQ rack.

    Over the course of dinner, the class rested and discussed their day and problems on the river that day. Jim was all ears and as he seemed in the canoe, sharing his element with people he had just met. With kindred spirits, numerous stories flowed from him that night lit by a bonfire.

    One particular story was his involvement in the early days leading up to the exploding growth cross-country skiing. In the late seventies, most of us had seen almost a decade of PARTICIPACTION commercials reminding us about the fitness of the average 70 year old Swede compared to a 30 year old Canadian. A friend of Jim's started up classes to teach cross-country skiing and needed a hand to cope with a large turnout of people wanting to participate in an upcoming weekend...in part due to some recent x-skiing articles in the papers. Jim's answer was

      "I don't know the first thing about cross country""

    A few minutes later, he offered

      "...at least I have a week's more experience than the people I be teaching"

    Though we had just met Jim the night before, I think everyone knew before he looked up, glanced around, smiled comically, and said

      "Well, why not!"

    He was a natural leader in comfort of the outdoors and gravitated towards these sorts of activities.


    It was with these river skills my friend Oswin and I (Ray) took on an early spring trip to the mightly Dumoine river...some 4 years after Jim/Hugh's introductory course. Out of a group of 8 canoeist, we would have been the only ones not to upset except for following orders of a more experienced boat instructing us to "follow their lead"...right down the hole that engulfed our boat. To this day, I can say that the "old school" use of the back paddle is a thing of beauty that Jim and Hugh had blessed us with.

    I join those 400 or more students today on Wednesday March 21 in thanking Jim and having the good fortune to cross paths with him as a student on the river.

    Well done, Jim, well done!



    P.S. If you have a favourite picture of Jim you like to include on this page, send it to me by email to the address below.


Credit River 2007
     With mild lingering effects of a pinched nerve...what better remedy than to get on a river full of current.I got wind of a Credit River (ultimately from Jim )on the April 1 weekend. Rounded up five employess from AMD (nee ATI) who fit the category of "can't wait" and a plan was hatched. Saturday morning started off as "brisk" at 9AM with an early morning house move. The put-in was just north of Eglington Aveneue with 20 or so boats with their accompanying canoeist...some with astro-equipped boating wear and two donning shorts.

    1. whitewaterontario.ca notice
    2. More information from the Canadian Canoe Routes post
    3. To check water levels to to the goverment based sites tracking water levels at Norval and Streetsville. To find, do a text search in Ontario.

Norval water level
(click to enlarge)


    Have a look at some links, below.
    1. 2007 Credit Down River post
    2. Some Pics from Gunner at Boatworks forum
The pics below are from the link above from Boatworks. They can be clicked on for better resolution.  Linda set the boats off  about 2 minutes apart. The black grahpite C1 boats set out 4 minutes after us and passed up as we were practising a front ferry (during a race).  Our boat is one of the two green boats (left of the red boats getting ready in the photo below).  A very blurry JPG was extracted from an MPG movie of us tagging along behind the graphite speedster. The last photo of the kayaker was Oswin practising his MKC grooved strokes on Jim's kayak.

start of race put-in
(click to enlarge)
Aris/Ray trailing Oswin

(click to enlarge)
Credit River 2014

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