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The OE Blog

Adventure 003 - Overland Empire x Sanborn Canoe Co.

While we work hard during the week and most weekends, we dream of adventures and quick getaways. So we got away to Orange Island in Florida's Canaveral National Seashore for another canoe adventure while the weather was still cool.

We teamed up with our friends over at Sanborn Canoe Co for some killer paddles to use on our journey, so after paddling in to our camp on Orange Island we spent the weekend fishing, canoeing, cooking great food, and enjoying the outdoors. 

We hit the weather perfect—warm enough to wade in shorts in the middle of the day, cool enough not to sweat through the night. You've gotta love Florida in the early Spring. 

It was an easy paddle on the way out, with calm waters and barely any wind. It doesn't take long when you're out on the water—with dolphins swimming a few feet from the bow of your canoe—to feel far from home. After hitting land we made camp, built a fire, and started preparing food. Then we hit the water to freshen up on our fly casting and explore the area.

After a good amount of paddling and exploring we came back ready for dinner, and prepared an overland feast of maple-glazed pork chops, grilled artichokes, roasted potatoes, and corn on the cob. All grilled over open flame, the way food was meant to be cooked. It's a good feeling having cooked an amazing meal outside, and it's why we put in that extra effort and load the canoes with a little more food.

After dinner it was off to paddle and fish more, of course shooting photos and videos the entire time. Once it got dark we stoked the fire, started fooling around with some time-lapse to catch the full moon move across the sky, then decided to start a batch of chili to enjoy on day two. This wasn't chili from a kit either. Sliced up steak, coffee, cocoa powder, onions, black beans, and a mess of other guessed and hand-measured ingredients made for a chili that surprised all with how good it was. We kept it warm over the fire and broke into it the next morning. Break a fried egg over anything and you can call it breakfast. 

After that it was more shooting, more canoeing, and more eating. We know how to have a good adventure.

Check out more photos on Sanborn's Scout Field Log.

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Adventure 001 - Canaveral National Seashore

Our first official adventure took us to Canaveral National Seashore on Florida's east coast. This protected waterway is home to sea turtles, dolphins, redfish, bald eagles, and many other native species. The primitive island campsites provide the perfect setting for adventure. 

We struck out on a Friday afternoon, work and family obligations creating a later start for all of us than originally planned. Once on the road, however, all stress subsided and we were happy to just be guys in a truck. We rambled on like kids about our plans for the weekend—the food we would cook, the photos we wanted to get, and the logistics of loading our excessive amount of gear into canoes. There would be no support boat, no easy way to our remote island campsite. Four guys and a dog, three coolers—one each for food, drinks, and ice—one amazing field kitchen, camera equipment, tents, firewood, clothes, propane, water, and various necessities. These would end up filling three canoes.

As soon as we were on the water we knew exactly why we were embarking on this adventure. Literally leaving land and trouble behind us, we paddled toward freedom, toward excitement, and toward a lot of hard work. We reached land at twenty past seven, not a far cry from nightfall. We set to work immediately building our camp, splitting duties between setting up the kitchen, and cooking, starting a fire, and pitching tents. By the time camp was set and dinner ready, it was dark. Like nine thirty dark. But the results were magical. A steak and salad never tasted so good. In the last hours of Friday we sat around our fire, drink in hand, and talked about our hopes and dreams: for this story, for the future, for adventure.

There were many more great moments that weekend; many more amazing meals cooked over fire and propane, many more ambitious thoughts and propositions, and many more chances for smile and laughter. And although things may not always be perfect or go exactly according to plan, adventure brings forth our knack of improvisation. Whether caused by rain, unseasonable heat, bugs, or some other setback, you learn to just roll with it and go with your instincts. To trust your gut. Because no matter what, the joy is still in the arrant satisfaction of getting away. And at the end of it all one thing was sure: we were four men closer in friendship than before, determined that this would not be the last adventure. 

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