Editor’s Note: Mike Clark – better known as Muddy Mike – is the founder of Big Muddy Adventures and its senior guide. He is one of the most accomplished canoeists and guides in America, having logged more than 20,000 miles of big-river paddling experience. He’s also happy to share his paddling knowledge and experience with others. So we decided to pick his brain and ask him a few questions. Enjoy!

Hey Mike, how do I make sure I don’t slip when I’m getting in and out of the canoe?

Good question. So getting in and out of the boat, if you have a little bit of mud on your foot and you step into the hull bottom, it’s kind of like ice. You’ll slip and slide. You know when people get wet? Getting in and out of the boat. They just slip and fall in the water.  So, when you get into the boat, you want to step into the hull bottom – not on the seat, and certainly not on the gunwale [the upper edge of the canoe’s side]. You gotta keep balance at all times. At Big Muddy Adventures, we will help you do that: get down, get in, get out. Without getting wet.

Any other tips along those same lines?

Yes. When it comes to your dry bags, don’t click them into the boat.

Really? Why not?

It’s weird, right? This is because your dry bag, when properly closed, will float. They’re also very colorful, so they’re easy to spot in the water. If we had a capsize and all those dry bags were dangling from the boat, we’d have to unclick them to be able to flip the boat because of that extra weight. So just let your dry bag rest next to you on the hull bottom. Unless you put a gold brick in there, it’s going to float.

Got a question for Muddy Mike? Send it to shawn@terrain-mag.com. Put “Muddy Mike” in the subject line.

Top image: Muddy Mike on dry land. (Reiss Wegman)