Adult ed class to focus on canoeing

MERRIMACK – An opportunity to learn how to plan, prepare for and lead a wilderness canoe trip is being offered to adults in town and the surrounding area through Merrimack’s Adult Education program.

The class is called “How to plan and execute a backcountry canoe trip” and will be taught by local Scoutmaster Bob Grosso.

The class is offered to people 18 and older who are not participating in a public school program during the day.

Grosso has been the scoutmaster of Merrimack Boy Scout Troop 424 since June 2000. He said he has planned three canoe trips for the troop, and each trip took more than 40 hours of research and planning.

“It occurred to me that I’m getting fairly good at this, and that maybe there are other people wishing they could plan trips like this but are afraid to try because of all the ways you can louse it up,” Grosso wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.

Grosso is no stranger to trips that have gone awry due to poor planning. He wrote an example of one of his favorite slip-ups: “I took a party of teens out for a week and the lady in charge of the food read ‘serves four’ on the box of macaroni and cheese. Three boxes should about do it for a party of 12, right? I eat an entire box myself for lunch, and that’s not after a half-day of paddling. That trip almost turned real ugly.”

The class will cover how to avoid such mishaps.

“We’ll cover what to bring and what not to bring. We’ll cover how to deal with emergencies, and how to plan so you are less likely to have one, and how to contingency plan so they are less likely to completely ruin your trip. We’ll also discuss backcountry navigation. How to look across a lake and figure out where you are on the map you’re holding in front of you,” wrote Grosso.

The class is really for people who have camped before and already know how to paddle a canoe, Grosso wrote, but others who are interested are welcome.

He will be using slides, photos and video to explain the planning and execution of a trip. His love of canoeing will most likely shine through in his presentations.

“There is something so special about being able to live out of a canoe for a week and see the ever-changing scenery. I just love it,” he said.

The cost of the class is $65. Registration forms are available at and at the Merrimack Public Library. Registration must be mailed to the address given on the form and be received by Friday.

The class will be held Tuesday evenings from 7-9. It will last six weeks and begins Jan. 27.

Andrea Bushee can be reached at 594-6460 or