November 25, 2018

THE JOURNEY AND THE CRUX - incredible read


The Journey and the Crux

A Silk Road Passage to the Crown Jewel of Central Asian Whitewater


https://www.canoekayak.com/photos/the-journey-and-the-crux/

October 3, 2018

Fun Stuff 2018

Unbelievable! 2018 and I've already paddled twice.  Seven days total on the river out of the past two weeks.  Sweet!
Jan 1st - BCC Feast At The Beach.  In the LL Stomper 80.  6 of us paddled the Mulberry at 1/2 a foot.  Weather freezin-azz cold, maybe 20F?  Alex S. got a great roll at Lunchstop.  Then we had chili around a nice bonfire at the takeout.  Photos here.  


Jan 5 - Locust.  Level 2.1.  In the LL Stomper 80.  To Swann.  Sunny and in the low 30's.   Icicles on the rocks, and iced over eddies.  With Norma L. and Josh H.  Josh let me try his new medium Pyranha Ripper from Double Trouble to the beach across from Austin Creek.  Sweet boat! Photos here.


Icicles on the Locust Fork
Jan 20 - Lesson on the Ocoee with Kirk E.  In the LL Stomper.  Release was from midnight thru 11 am ET, so I drove up at 4am.  5 hour lesson, very thorough.  Stoked to do more lessons with Kirk!
Then I drove to Mary M's house, and had dinner with her at the Hoppy Trout in Andrews.  

Jan 21 - Demo medium Ripper, Nantahala, thanks to NOC for the demo!
Jan 22 - Aimee Mann at the Lyric Theater.  Great show!  My first visit to the Lyric.  Fantastic venue.
Feb 3-4  - Locust Fork Races.    I did not race.  I did spectate.  Sunday the river had come up so the set of gates below the last hole were very entertaining.  Most racers flipped there.  Most rolled, too.  Some flipped and rolled a few times.  I wish I had taken video.


Dry weather spell... then... RAIN

Feb 10 - Mulberry take-out.   In the Dagger Axiom 8.5.  With William who let me demo his Axiom.  Weather forecast had a flash flood watch so we just goofed around at 5-0 instead of running the river.
Feb 11 - Graves Creek and Calvert Prong.  In the LL  Stomper.  With Andy, James, Riley, and others on Graves.   Andy, James, Matthew and others on Calvert.  We had a bad strainer incident.  Graves is a cool little creek that needs wood cut out.  Portages, carnage. I swam at the strainer.  Calvert is clear of wood and delightful as always.  Level on the Locust high,  7-8 ft.  Locust portion of Graves was tall wave trains.
Feb 16-18 Grotto Getaway.   At Maranatha camp.  Really nice place for our SERA!  I stayed in a hogan with the Howells, Andy and Gary.  Ridgewalk on Saturday in the mist and rain, I found a blowing lead high in elevation that we are excited about returning to.

Feb 18 Locust Fork.  In the LL Stomper.  With Clayton and Kahyee, Lynn.  Many folks on the river.  Level in the 3.5 range, which is a good filled in medium.   Weather in the low to mid- 60's, sunny at first, then cloudy.   I was happy to wear the drysuit.
Feb 24 Mulberry.  In the LL Stomper. What a change 5 days of warm temps makes.  Can't believe it's real.  
Mulberry today at 1.5 ft. In February. No drysuit. No drytop. I was in a shortsleeve top, and IR shorts. It rained some on us. The rain and the river water were both mild.temps. Unbelievable, wonderful day.   With Clayton V. and William C.
March 3-4 Mulberry Fork Races.   I was gate judge coordinator, so I didn't paddle.  The level was in the 2.5-3 ft. range on Saturday, closer to 1.5 on Sunday IIRC.  It was very cold both nights and I found out my 20 degree bag isn't even a 40 degree bag anymore.   It was sunny both days and the gate judges did their jobs well.  I'm impressed with how much hard work it takes to put on this event every year, and it's been going on since 1980.

March 9 - 12 ALF.  With the Lost Tribe.   Drove up Friday afternoon.   Middle Tellico K1 Saturday at 1.8, sunny, 50's during the day.   Middle Tellico OC2 Sunday at 1.7, sunny, low 60's.    Mulberry Fork K1 Monday at 3.5.  It was snowing and cold at the Tellico on Monday so I drove south to find sunny skies and 50's in Alabama.   I didn't take photos this ALF. 
March 18 Locust Fork.   In the LL Stomper.  Level 3.1.  With Ross Jacobs, Jason Hardy for his first trip on whitewater in his Dagger Katana, Shahn and others.  Weather mild.
March 24 Mulberry.   In the WS Project X 56.  Level 1.5.  This was correlated to both bridge gauges and new digital gauge.  Weather chillier than predicted and water temps chilly as well.  I wore my shortie top and shorts and was underdressed for the occasion.    We surfed our tails off.   With Andy L, Joan S, Clint (new boater).

March 30 Tellico.  In the LL Stomper.  Level 2.3.  Weather and water temps mild.  Predicted 100% chance of rain, instead we had blue skies and puffy clouds.  I am convinced that it's impossible to predict weather in the Smoky mountains and their kin.   This was a quick day trip to get wire from Mary Mills for our SERA.   Chattanooga traffic going home made it a longer day than I wanted.  Still worth it.  Always.
March 31 Mulberry.  In the LL Stomper.  Level 1.5, same as last Saturday.  Weather warmer, water still chilly, glad to have my drysuit on.  Surfed a bunch again.   With Andy and Lynn, Joan S., Clint, Josh H., others.  Great day.
April 7 Paddlefest.  Chilly, upper 40's, windy.  The event was a bust.  I felt terrible for the event organizers, but Mother Nature had other plans for us.   I didn't paddle.

April 8 Mulberry. In the ProjectX 56.   In the drysuit which means big shoes for the drysuit socks.  ugh.  my feet!  Nice weather though.  Still chilly but sunny.   Afterwards I visited the Caudles.
April 14 SERA workday.  HUGE rainstorm that night led to:

April 15 Upper Mulberry, Calvert Prong.   Trip report here: http://dangerjudy.blogspot.com/2018/04/april-15-2018-upper-mulberry-calvert.html
Weather overcast, some sun, it got to 60.   Mulberry was at 5 feet when we got to the stick gauge.  Locust at 7 feet.  Calvert needs better correlation.  A bridge gauge hopefully.
April 28 Endless River Adventures Nantahala Open 2018  A great time taking pool floats over Nantahala Falls, then a fun after-party at ERA.  Full video here.  Yep that's me going over the handlebars on the unicorn float, in the top hole at Nantahala Falls.
via GIPHY

April 29 Murphy Riverwalk.  I went with my friend Mary Mills and we walked her two dogs at the Murphy Riverwalk.  I was very impressed by this set of walking trails at the confluence of Valley River and the Hiwassee River.




May 20:  Cahaba Lilies.  From the boat ramp to the end of the dirt road.  In the Dagger Axis 10.5.  With B'ham Grotto members.  Water was 1000 I think?  Low but fine. 
May 25-27  Memorial Day weekend.  
 - May 25 Hello to the Hiwassee.  In the Necky Chronic.  Warm, gorgeous day with no rain though rain was predicted all day.   Solo trip, went to Webb's to buy a shuttle and was spotted by various TVCC folks who insisted I catch a ride with them.  So nice to have zen time on the Hiwassee *and* also paddle with TVCC.
- May 26 Tellico Ice Cream Run.   In the LL Stomper 80.  With Christine and various other River Dogs.  Ice Cream Run (Oosterneck to the Ice Cream shop in Tellico Plains) was harder in spots than I anticipated. There were 6 of us in our group, and we put on at a 3.5 level which we agreed would be minimum. There are a couple of technical rapids, a lot of stairstep ledges, and the last set of ledges right after the bridge was, um, interesting. Christine and I got ahead of the others and went on beta we were given that the cleanest line would be far right. Well, it is steep and manky over there. We banged down over the top drop and headed to the middle for the rest of the rapid. We were able to signal the others not to take the route we started down. Maybe with more than minimum flow it's better on the right.
- May 27 Ocoee to Go Forth.  In the LL Stomper 80.  1800, nice fluffy level. Lots of people were out which surprised me as I expected everyone would go to Tellico, which was 2.5. I was tempted by Tellico but I wanted a quick run and a shorter drive home.
June 3 Sipsey River.  In the Dagger Axis 10.5.  With members of Huntsville Canoe Club and others.   Level 1000ish cfs, low but everything went.  Beautiful run with an awful take-out that needs work.  Photos HERE.

June 9 Lesson with Kirk from Ace Kayaking.  In the LL Stomper 80, on the Ocoee.  Great lesson on forward strokes, arm and wrist paddle positions, eddy turns, and a visit to the creek above Double Suck.  That evening I went to the dinner and auction for Chota school, at OAR.
June 10 Hiwassee.  In the LL Stomper 80.  With a class from the Chota school.  

June 17 Hiwassee.  In the LL Stomper 80.  With cavers. Kind of impromptu class.
Summer hair! 
June 24 Ocoee.  Class with Joe from Ace.  So much to work on! 
July 1 Oak Mtn. Lake.  With Cavers and Crossfitters.   At the lake that has the wakeboard park by the back gate.  First time at that lake- perfect for rolling.
July 5-9 Week of Rivers.   Drove up Thursday the 5th.  Stayed in the LL Stomper for all trips. Friday - laps at Nanty falls, did racers' line for the first time in a kayak instead of a pool toy... then Surfers to Take-out with Marcos H.  Saturday - Tuckaseegee, first time Dneesh is back on the water after her stem cell replacement, with friends and Geezers, Kathy K. paddled my ProjectX56, her first time in a kayak in 6 or more years and she looked like she never stopped paddling. Pics HERE.   Sunday - Nantahala with Joan and her sister and nephew, Charlotte, Sienna and her dad, others.  Monday - Ocoee with Mary M., Daniel, and Charlotte.
Friends paddling with Denise on the Tuck 
I've been slacking on posting...   I know I paddled the weekends after WOR, Ocoee/Stomper 80 as usual.

August 6-12 Middle Fork of the Salmon.   In the Airtight Inflatables Shredder with Christine B.  With Canyons outfitter, highly recommend.   Also on the trip:  Joan S. in a Remix 59 from Canyons, Andy and Lynn in their kayaks they brought to Idaho as they drove, and Steve and Carolyn I. in a C2 ducky they dubbed OCD. 

Day 1 - Atl to Boise, ate at "Pie Hole" pizza joint, stayed at Hotel 43.

Day 2 - Flight via McCall Air on small prop plane to Indian Creek putin
Day 3 - 6 On the river.  Bus ride from take-out to Salmon airport, and a flight via McCall Air on small prop plane back to Boise.  Dinner at The Funky Taco.
Day 7 - Boise to Atl
There is no easy way to get to the Middle Fork, and the logistics can be expensive.  It is SO WORTH IT.   And simply, I will not go with any outfitter but Canyons.  They are the best.

Photos here.  My waterproof Olympus Tough is having issues.  Cameras have a short, tough life with me.
Chrstine B. and I on the Middle Fork of the Salmon, paddling the Shredder. 


August 18  Hiwassee.  In the Savage Skeeter Canoe, which I loved, but still sold to Matthew, as that was my plan all along.  Rain 90% predicted at one point... not a drop on the river and sunny skies.  With The Lost Tribe at canoe school.  Dinner that night at the Ace kayak school party, bbq. 
August 24-26 Ocoee area.  Volunteered for the first ever Ocoee River Championships, the first competitions on the Olympic course since 2001.  Dinner with Appalachian River Dogs, Grega made brisket and sausage tacos AND pulled pork.  yum
Sept 1-3 Labor Day Weekend.  Drove up Saturday afternoon. Ocoee Sunday.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Stayed home Monday.
Sept 8 Ocoee.  In the LL Stomper 80.  With James H.  
Sept 9 Ocoee.  In the LL Stomper 80.   With the TVCC first-timers trip.
Double Trouble, 9-9-18
Sept 20-23 Chimney Rock/Dale Chihuly exhibit at Biltmore.    With Kathy K., photos here
Sept 28-30 Ocoee/Upper Nanty/Ocoee at GAF.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Ocoee Friday was during secret week, release 1400 plus feeder creeks for est. 1800, perfect level.  With Michelle H, BJ and Wilson from D.C. others.   Saturday Upper Nanty with Pat Ross, lower release of 350, one roll at Troll Hole.   Sunday Ocoee with Steve Isbell normal level, down to Go Forth.  Forgot my camera...
October 5- 7 TAG Fall Cave-In.    Did a hike Saturday with Jason and Kelly and others on a mushroom foray.  We didn't find much, some little puffballs and one scaber stalk bolete.  Not quite cold and rainy enough for chickens and hens.

Oct 7 - Ocoee.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Warm weather and water; normal level.  With James H.  Quick fun lap down the Ocoee.
Oct 13 Ocoee Race.  In the Hyside Paddlecat.  With Sonya K.  Colder than I thought it would be, I was in neoprene pants, NRS long sleeve rashie, IR thick skin, IR shorty top, and my Sweet FullFace with the mohawk thingy velcroed to the top, and I was still chilled.  Reminds me of the early days when I didn't have any cold weather gear.  But I want to put off wearing the drytop/drysuit, I get tired of it. 
Race results: We were 4th of 4 shredders.  I caught my right index finger in some webbing on the side of my 'cat and bruised it; kept it taped a couple of days to my middle finger and it's better.   I was surprised to see only a 2 minute or so gap between us and the winners considering I had never paddled with Sonya before.  Small victories ha ha.  (lemon twigs reference).  The after-race party was fun.  I won some webbed neoprene belly-yak gloves in the raffle, strange items that I have no idea what to do with, guess I'll try to roll my boats with them...

Oct 14 LRC views.   With a bum finger, I headed to LRC to see if mushrooms are popping (they are not) and google maps took me to a random spot on the parkway and said, "You've Arrived!".  um not really, google maps.   I went to the falls parking area and spotted another car with a green liquid logic kayak on the roof racks.  A kindred B'ham paddling spirit- it was Justin A.  We hadn't met before; just fb friends.  Soon after his friend Mike showed up with a blue LL Freeride on the car racks and a guest from Seattle.  We looked at the falls, drove down the parkway to some more overlooks, and walked down the first bit of the Eberhart trail.  Nice way to spend a day off the water.
Oct 27  Hiwassee. BCC Fall Colors Trip.  I said goodbye to the Hiwassee for the season, as is my tradition.   Air temps cool; water warm, cloudy but no rain.  With Heyward, and two newbies.  We had the river to ourselves except for some fishermen and one solo kayaker who paddled past us.  Camped that night at AU in the cold air, around a nice fire, with Trey and Christy C. from Chota, and others from the BCC.
Oct 28  Ocoee.  I said goodbye to the Ocoee for the season with a quick lap to GoForth.  Warm sunny day; a lot of boaters on the river but not a lot of commercial traffic - perfect.
Saw The Lemon Twigs at Saturn that night and they were fantastic.
Nov 11 Alabama Mushroom Society Foray.  At Swann bridge in Blount County.  I found three Lion's Mane.
Nov 17 Locust Fork.  In the LL Stomper.  Level 3.5 ft, air temps cool, water temps cold.   I swam below Powell Falls.
Nov 18 Caving.  In a local SCCI preserve, with the B'ham Grotto.  We went in circles in Cotton Valley and never found the main route.  We must return.
Nov 23 Ridgewalk.   Day after thanksgiving.  Really challenging hike, when I got home I got The Crud full-force and spent the next four days sleeping.

Dec 2 Mulberry.  In the LL Stomper.  Level 2 ft, air temps 73F, water temps warm.  Gorgeous day.  Training Wheels was a sweet soul surf class II, Lunchstop was bouncy and narrow, 5-0 wave was glass, perfection.

September 15, 2018

July 27, 2018

Posted by a friend today

"I talked to my inner lover, and I say, why such a rush? We sense that there is some sort of spirit that loves birds and animals and the ants – – – perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you in your mother’s womb. Is it logical you would be walking around entirely orphaned now? The truth is, you turned away yourself, and decided to go into the dark alone. Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten what you once knew, and that’s why everything you do has some weird failure in it. "
Kabir, translated by Robert Bly.

June 12, 2018

Perception Corsica and Pirouette

I get the different models of these boats confused, and asked for details on Old School Whitewater Boat Obsession forum.  Here's the conversation:

Me:   I never knew the difference between the Corsica, Corsica Matrix, and also the different Pirouette lines... do tell

Tim Kennedy:   Corsica was the OG. It was the first "keyhole" cockpit/creeking specific design from Perception, influenced by the short (relatively speaking) creek boats of the time, such as the T-Canyon and Jeti. Corsica S came next with more rocker and maybe a bit shorter ("S" for small or sport). Then came the Matrix with even more rocker and a bit wider for stability. The Matrix also came out with outfitting/safety improvements with the "Proline" outfitting (which was also now offered in Corsica and Corsica S). The Proline outfitting incorporated pe reinforced pillars and bulkhead footbraces. Then came the (Corsica)Overflow and later Overflow X.
Gary DeBacher:  First met Corran Addison when he was sitting by his glass Corsica prototype along the Nanty. He only had a hand in designing the Corsica and the Corsica S. Most considered the S to be the best boat with the Corsica name. The initial keyhole cockpit was too narrow at the front for big guys. Charlie Wallbridge hogged his out to fit. I had the second version and still had to cut back the braces. The third version was a better fit.

Christopher Muldrow: As far as Pirouettes, the regular Pirouette was an edgier, more slalomy boat than the Dancer. One could argue it was the first plastic "playboat." The Pirouette S shaved two inches off the regular model and had a lower volume stern. The Pirouette SS (Super Sport) had a concave stern and much lower volume overall. It was Perception's counter to the RPM. A Pirouette S and a regular Pirouette behave fairly similarly. A Super Sport will stern squirt you down the river if you're over a certain weight range. The original Pirouette came out before there was a Proline option, so you'll find some older boats that don't have that Proline outfitting. By the time the SS was out, Proline was available on all of them.
   Gary replied:  The Pirouette S was smaller than the regular in the bow as well as the stern. And the S had less overall rocker than the regular.

Willy B Roberts:   Corsica came out 88/89. Matrix 91. Pirouette and Overflow 92/93

Gordon Black:  I believe Corran Addison designed the Corsica. I may be wrong, but I think he did. It is faster than you would think. I really liked the Matrix, tho not nearly as fast.

May 2, 2018

Endless River Adventures' Nantahala Open 2018

Great video of this year's ERA Nantahala Open.  I'm flipping over on the unicorn float at 1:50 btw.

April 16, 2018

April 15 2018 Upper Mulberry, Calvert Prong

Yesterday was fun in an old-school boater kinda way. I initially tried to plan a trip to East Fork of Flint Creek. This run has no internet gauge so Ron Looney who lives nearby it checked the bridge gauge on his way home from work, about 7 am. It was about twice the flow we hoped for. We changed plans to meet at the takeout of Calvert Prong at 11am. The thinking was, we might get another read of East Fork Flint, and Calvert was (sorta) on the way. 
The Locust was running about 7 feet, which usually means Calvert is in at a good level. Calvert doesn't have an internet gauge OR a bridge gauge. But there are pylons in the stream next to where County Rd. 1 crosses Calvert, and we can use them to tell if the run has water. I loaded up my trusty Liquidlogic Kayaks Stomper 80 creekboat. It's my 'default' kayak choice when I don't know what kind of day we are going to have, creeky or river running.
On the way to Calvert, I stopped by Blackburn, yet another run with no internet gauge. It was in flood so any gauge on the bridge was hidden. I've wanted to paddle Blackburn for the first time and have yet to get to do that... yesterday was definitely not the day to try it. Heading on towards Calvert, I drove past the turn to check on the pylons on the hwy 1 crossing, to discover they were under water.
When I arrived at the take-out for Calvert, I was surprised by the number of vehicles. A lot of Alabama boaters wanted to paddle something different than the standard Locust and Mulberry runs. I walked out onto the metal bridge that crosses the river at the take-out and looked at the current. As I suspected from the hidden pylons I checked earlier, Calvert was in flood as well. We had a discussion of what else nearby we could run, that included Upper Locust, but I was unsure of what Cornelius Falls would be like at this level (any beta on that?). Some of us decided to run Upper Mulberry. The Mulberry was at 6 feet per Ming's stick gauge. (Yes, the Mulberry has no internet gauge either; the state defunded the USGS official gauge of one of the most popular beginner rivers in the state. Two people have made their own homemade gauges that upload data to the internet and both of these gauges are down right now. One is Ming's stick gauge and she was able to report it on Facebook.) Back to the story. Some folks decided to stay and run Calvert. I predicted, "Well it will be flat, and fast..." While the others prepared to run Calvert, Andy Lee and Lynn, William CraftonMing StephensChase Bryan and I drove 20 minutes to the Garden City parking area (takeout for the Upper Mulberry) and while we were consolidating boats for shuttle we got a phone call that the others were done on Calvert and headed our way! We put on about 12:30 with Matthew Walz and James Henderson from the Calvert crew, and the rest met up with us on the river.
The Upper Mulberry was wonderful. Just freaking wonderful wave trains, and I made a mental note to put this run in consideration any time the Mulberry was over 4 feet. I've ran it before but it had been awhile, and yesterday was a perfect level. There was one eddy line where some of the guys in playboats tried to stern squirt, with lots of rolling and laughing... I have some video to post later. There was a Jitsu, an RPM, and an Axiom rolling around...
We finished up and some of us headed back to the Calvert take-out. We got there around 4pm to find it had dropped a foot. We didn't check to see if the pylons were visible. I kinda pondered going home as it was still high, but decided to run it, hell we were there. Andy and Lynn, Ming, Matthew, James and I put on. The water had dropped enough that some of the rapids were in play, and the one bigger rapid, Cyclops, dealt out some carnage, including the wonderful view I had as I paddled behind James, as he got munched in a curler in the drop and executed a perfect roll. I wish I had a helmet camera video of that moment! 
I do think this was the highest level I've paddled on Calvert. A quick muddy run and some wave trains, but most of the surfing was washed out. I'd preferred it had dropped another foot; today it will likely be nice, as the Locust is holding at over 6 ft. I had a dry hair day again today, which isn't exactly a good habit, I need to roll more. It's hard to motivate myself to roll when I'm in my comfy Stomper, in a warm drysuit on chilly, brown water. I know, I know. On the way home I checked Blackburn again, it was still pretty high, which suggests the dam at Inland Lake might have been releasing overflow. It might be good today.
Pylons to check on County Rd. 1 bridge view of Calvert. They weren't visible yesterday.

March 16, 2018

Cardune/Cardoon recipe

'Tis the season for Cardune, a Sicilian delicacy.  I thought I had a page about this already, but it's not showing up in a search, so...
Should you know what these are, and be fortunate enough to have a local grocer who gets them in early Spring, celebrate. Cynara cardunculus are a relative to the artichoke and when they are cooked properly they taste kind of like artichokes.  



Clean like you would celery then with paring knife, peel any obviously tough strings and discard. 
Cut the cleaned cardoon into 4-6 inch pieces and place into large pot of water with the juice of one lemon in it and turn on high heat. 
When water comes to a boil, continue cooking until cardune pieces are tender, but not mushy. 
The cooking time might vary from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. 
Keep testing them to make sure they are tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water. 
 Pat dry with paper towels and prepare your coatings. 
Make one bowl with beaten eggs. 
One bowl with seasoned flour. 
Dip cardune pieces in then egg, then flour, then in pan of heated vegetable oil mixed with olive oil.  Do not crowd in pan – dip, flour and fry as you remove cooked cardoon.
Fry until golden, then turn over and brown on both sides, place on paper towels to drain.  Salt and pepper to taste. 
They are delicious warm or cold.


.....
"The Cardoon has a long history in American horticulture, as it was a common colonial vegetable and one grown at Monticello in long rows. Today, few bother to grow the plant for food, opting for imported artichokes or those flown in from California, but the cardoon offers a more sustainable option to air-shipped artichokes, especially for those who garden in the north, and as an ornamental and a vegetable, it can be planted in the border rather than the vegetable garden."


January 13, 2018

sadness

We buried my sister today.    It all seems like a dream.