November 13, 2020

Low Water Beaters debut

LowWaterMulberry11-08-20x from Dangerjudy on Vimeo.

Some of us did the absolute lowest water Mulberry trip I have ever been on.  We had to be creative at times to find the fun, but it was there.  Awesome day. 
The little tidbit of "Sail" soundtrack at the beginning is a joke.  That song is the most over-used soundtrack of all time in kayaking videos.   

November 4, 2020

Strangest persons in the world

 “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you.”

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo - Xochimilco,Mexico City (1936).
#ravenousbutterflies Frida Kahlo

Fun Stuff 2020

January 1st  BCC Annual Feast on the Beach.  Mulberry Fork.  Level 2.5 on the old bridge.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Water temps chilly, air temps upper 50's-lower 60's.  Photos here. 
Another great start to the new year, paddling on the Mulberry Fork
January 4th  Upper and Lower Mulberry.  Level 4.5 on the bridge, 5.3 on Streambeam.  With many friends.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Air temps lower 60's, water temps chilly, windy.  Some of the others went for a second lap on the lower, and those of us remaining tried and failed to build a campfire at the takeout, even with our cars right there... I bought four bic lighters on the way home and stashed them in my ridgewalk pack, my drybag, and my car...
At the Upper Mulberry putin, 1-4-2020
Me making my challenge fire

January 5th  Ridgewalk and Fire Building challenge.  Confirmed a qualifier which I am proposing be named Tyr's Lair.  Then some of us had a fire building challenge at the BCC beach property on the Mulberry.  We were given 3 minutes to gather tinder, and we had to use just the items we would have had in our boats the previous day.  I was allowed to use one of my new bic lighters lol, otherwise I would have had nothing.  Then we tested other firestarters and tinder options.  We also had brats/hot dogs, and smores, cooked over our main campfire.

January 12.  Ridgewalking.  More ridgewalking in an area not far from B'ham, with the Howells.  We didn't find any qualifiers. 
January 19 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  Air temps around 40-45f, sunny bright day, low wind, water temps cold.  With Janice and Joel, Peggy, Vander, Fergus, others.  The level on Streambeam was just under 2 ft, and on the bridge was 2.5 feet, but the level didn't match my observations on the water. The first wave river left above Glen Clark, that we always warm up on, was blasting my stern and wasn't all that wide or friendly.  Training Wheels was not there at all, and Eddyhop seemed high with fewer eddies.  wtf
Afterwards we had another picnic on the beach with campfire roasted hot dogs on skewers, s'mores, and hot chocolate.  We also practiced more firemaking skills.
January 23 Rolling at the YMCA. 
January 25 Ridgewalking.  At a place in Jackson County Al. with Dave Howell.  We had an amazing day, a stout hike, and are checking our many finds to see if they are on the ACS or not.
January 26 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Janice, Joel, and Peggy.  Air temps started out lower 40's and cloudy/cold,  after we got off the river we socialized over a campfire and the sun came out, air temps felt mild.  Level on Streambeam 2.8 feet, the bridge was at 2.5 feet, not my favorite level but we had fun.
February 2 - 9 Ski Copper Mountain Colorado.  With Joan S, Amanda S, Patty C, and members of the Nashville Ski Club.  We started the week very cold temps and little fresh snow, then got dumped on with about 3 feet of snow!  I hadn't done the math but realized when I got home that it was the first 'real' skiing I had done in 3 years, since I went to Breck.  It was challenging for me to get my ski legs back but I did OK, I fell twice the whole trip so that's something.  I spent all of my time off of American Flyer, Timberline, and Woodward Express lifts.
February 15 Survival Workshop/Campout.  At Wolfpen campground in the Bankhead.  We worked on shelter building, fire making, map reading/compass use.  

February 22 Ridgewalking.  Dave and I returned to the area in Jackson County we visited previously and found a blowing lead with water high in elevation.  We walked/climbed down a streambed then routed back via a trail.  
February 23 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Andy and Lynn, Fergus, Michael C., Kevin who I really enjoyed discussing the Picard series with, and Joe I.   Level slightly under 3 ft, air temps started mild ended up chilly, water temps cold, cloudy and a few unforecasted raindrops when we put in. 
February 28 - 29  B'ham Grotto Getaway.  At the NSS Headquarters in Huntsville.  Saturday we went on the ridgewalk and found some nice leads.  Auction that night was fun.
March 1 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Andy and Lynn, Fergus, Michael C., Rebecca R. Level 2 feet, air temps mild, water temps very cold.  Rebecca in the EZ was queen of Lunchstop wave!
March 7 Mulberry Fork Race.  I was actually supposed to go hike Bear Creek in LRC, but the trip leader cancelled due to water levels.   I brought some sides from a local restaurant to the race but didn't stay long.
March 14 ALF 2020.  Greenbriar. In the LL Stomper 80. 1.4 when we put on, 1.3 when we left.  Mild air and water temps, fun day, but this is a minimum flow for this run. Photos here.
March 15 ALF 2020.  Clear Creek, Lilly to Nemo, 432 CFS.  In the LL Stomper 80. Nice level, great day, despite the water and air temps being chilly due to a cold wind.  This is a long run, several class III rapids and the scenery is beautiful. Photos here.

March 21.  Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M. Water warm, air temps warm; but still drysuit conditions. Level on streambeam 3.65, old bridge was right at 3 ft, new bridge was slightly under 3 feet.  A small, discreet group of friends met and practiced social distancing.  Boof rock at Glen Clark was covered; Training Wheels was not in, Eddy Hop rock was still there but not many eddies to hop.  Lunchstop was big and flushy.  Five-O needed a long boat.  Weird level today.  Still grateful for being able to paddle one more time.  Hoping for many more.
March 28.  Mulberry.  In the Wave Sport EZG-50. Water warm, air warm, I wore my Kokatat Knappster goretex shorty and IR shorts.  With Joan S., Peggy R., Kenny and Lori C, Michael C.  Double shuttles using pickup trucks, extreme social distancing, and an understanding that self-rescues were required.  Streambeam reported 2.5, bridges showed 2.0, but it seemed like the streambeam gauge was more accurate, not just to me but to Peggy.  Glen Clark rock was covered, Training Wheels was a wonderful green wave for short boats, Lunchstop flushy, Five-O a green wave as well. 
Video of the trip by Michael C.:

April 5 Mulberry. In the Wave Sport EZG-50.  Level a perfect 1.7 on Streambeam.  Walked the shuttle.  Appropriate social distancing.  Surfs for days.  Amazing day.
April 9 Mulberry.  In the Wave Sport EZG-50.  Level 1.2 on Streambeam.  Walked the shuttle.  Appropriate social distancing.  Training Wheels wave was heaven, I had a hard time getting on Lunchstop, and 5-0 wasn't in.  Warm, sunny day. 

I look serious in this photo but I like it, too. Mulberry.
April 11 Locust Fork.  In the Wave Sport EZG-50.  Level 2.3 ish, low.  With Peggy R. and Chris C.  Warm air, warm water.  I went all the way to 160 which is not my typical habit these days.

April 22 Cahaba Lovick section.  In the Jackson Antix M.   With Barry and Kao.  Level 2.5 ft.  Cloudy.  Lots of great surf waves, lots of flatwater too.  Trip took 2.5 hours at a leisurely pace. 

April 24 Cahaba Lovick section.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Andy and Helen.  Level 3 feet. Sunny.  1.5 hours, perfect level for surfing!

May 2 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  Level 1.2.  With Janice, Joel, and Peggy.  The takeout is officially open again.  Surfing forever.  Water and air temps warm.

May 3 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  Level just under a foot.  With the same crew as Saturday + Fergus.  More surfing forever.  Water and air temps warm, said farewell to the Mulberry at the takeout as it may not run again this season.

May 9 Coosa.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Fergus T., Michael C., Rebecca R., Carin B., Justin S.  We went to the Coosa for an 8000 cfs release.  Baby Gap was in and it was a great day.  I wore a drytop and grumbled about it, but though the water temp and air temp were mild, there was some wind and clouds/overcast.  Video here.

May 16 Upper Little Cahaba.  In the Jackson Antix M.  Michael C. had been telling us about this spot for rolling down 280.  I decided to join him for a weekday visit to what I discovered is a great swimming hole. It is on the Little Cahaba that releases from Lake Purdy dam.  We walked/paddled our boats upstream to the Crybaby hole that Bennett S. discovered a few years ago.  Video here

May 23-25 Memorial Day weekend.  

...May 23 Hello to the Hiwassee.  In the Jackson Antix M. 
With members of the Birmingham Canoe Club.  We stayed Saturday night at Reliance Fly n Tackle. 
May 24 Roll practice with Mary Mills.  In the Jackson Antix M. Really just a visit with Mary, we met at the Ocoee takeout and paddled up Big Creek to find a pool full of fish.  Going to have to take my snorkel back up there.  
May 25 Ocoee lite.  In the Jackson Antix M.  I met up with Mary Mills, Andrea and Keith, Tom B.  They put in at the top and I put in below Slice n' Dice and took out at Go Forth.  I have had a lot of anxiety in my life from my sister being in hospice and these guys are the most relaxed, awesome crew to be with for my first Ocoee taste of the year! 

June 21 Hiwassee.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Fergus T.  I was supposed to take a lesson the following day with Joe but I had an ear infection that kept me up all night. 

June 26-July 5.  Unofficial Week of Rivers.  In the Jackson Antix M.  The official WOR was cancelled, but some of us went to camp at SMM and paddle practicing social distancing.  Rivers:  Tuckaseegee,  Nantahala, more of both.  Thursday July 2 most of my camping friends went home, while I went to st ay with Mary M. in Andrews.  Visited Tom and Lola's farm, paddled the Tuck with the Andrea and Keith crew, paddled Mary's Dagger Rewind on the Nantahala, back-endered the race line at the falls, tried three rolls, swam. (sighs).  Visited Fontana Dam and had dinner at Tapoco Lodge, at a picnic table by the Cheoah.  I love that part of North Carolina and didn't want to leave.

RBF, but I am actually happy, Pizza Wave on the Nantahala. This is really funny, after I surfed this little wave these people on the deck of Pizza By The River applauded! 

July 12 Coosa.  In the Jackson Antix M.  Fergus, Michael C. and Carin B.  Level 12000.   Baby gap was not in, and Moccasin gap was not friendly, but a wave at what I think is Pipeline was wonderful.  

I didn't keep a blog from July 12 - Sept 29.  This is the longest I've ever gone without updating since I started this blog.  Too much going on.
I had three lessons with Mary and Juliet on the Ocoee.  
I had one super low water trip on the Mulberry, less than six inches on the streambeam gauge, but everything went; we never had to get out of our boats.
I started playing pickleball, because my Crossfit box closed, not due to the pandemic but due to other things...  I am awful at pickleball but it is fun.
A couple of regular Nantahala runs, one during not-GAF weekend.  
A hike at Otter Creek farm and taco soup in the horse patio with good friends.  That was 09/25/20.

A run on the Ocoee from Entrance to Go Forth, trying to get familiar with my Stomper 80 after months of being in the Antix 1.0.  Nice boof pic at Double Suck...

I didn't run the Upper Nantahala this year.  I haven't since my bad pin there last year.  I have a lot of cobwebs in my head.  2020 has been awful in so many ways. 2019 wasn't pleasant either.  Losing my sisters has been really hard on me.  It chisels my confidence and claws the joy away on the river if I'm on a challenging run.  However,
I will not give up.  Good friends help immensely.   And the river will never disappear.
Oct 3 Ocoee.  In the Dagger Nomad M.  With Fergus T., Mike C., Margaret W.   
Carin B. was kind enough to let me demo the Dagger Nomad M (Newmad).  Towards the end of the river I started to realize I was going to have to give the boat back, oh no!  I loved it.  Review here. 

Oct 17 Ocoee.  In the Dagger Nomad M.  With Mike C., Steve I, Spence I.  Carin let me demo the Nomad another time.  Wonderful day. *except* for the bad hit to the head Mike took after colliding with Spence in Hell Hole.  Spence didn't flip, but Mike did and while trying to roll took a really hard hit from a rock river right, that stunned him even through his WRSI helmet.  (He has retired the helmet.)  I believe from his symptoms for a couple days that he had a mild concussion.  Scary but he is OK.
We did a lot of boofs including a big one that was new to me, near the "Jedi ferry" to the right of the top of Squeeze Play.  The Nomad was easy to boof.  

Oct 24 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix 1.0.  With Joel and Janice, Mike C., Riley C., Peggy, others.  Level .8 on Streambeam, air and water temps mild.  I wore my Kokatat Session semi-dry top and shorts.  We had five people surfing on Hawaii 5-0 at the same time!

Oct 30 Mulberry. In the Jackson Antix 1.0.  With Joel and Janice, Mike C., Joseph W., Dennis C., others.  Level 2 feet.  I wore my Kokatat Icon drysuit for the first time this fall.  Air and water temps mild, so I was a bit overdressed.  Which was good because we had carnage at the takeout.  Joe swam, I ran over him, got stuck in the hole river right above 5-0, Dennis ran into me and slammed me over, I carped a roll, swam. Cue yakety-sax music.
Oct 31 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix 1.0.  With Joel and Janice, MikeC., Peggy, Joan, Lori, others.  Level 1.5 feet. Sunny, air and water temps mild, but I wore the drysuit again as that was what I had in the car.  Lovely day.  Afterwards we had a campfire and sausages, halloween candy, and smores, it was still a bit hot for that but was wonderful prelude of many more to come.
Nov 1 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix 1.0.  With Joel and Janice, Fergus, Peggy, Lori.  
Level 1 foot.  Sunny, air and water temps mild but still in the drysuit.  How awesome to get 3 days of local water paddling in a row! 
Nov 8 Mulberry.  In the Necky Chronic.  With Mike C. and Jeremy B.  Level .33 on the Streambeam gauge, the lowest I have ever run the Mulberry.  Air and water temps warm, I wore my Kokatat Session semi-dry top and shorts.  Video here. 

Daugherty Run - Creek Season Opening Day

GREAT paddling video on a class V micro creek in West Virginia and some snowboarding/skiing too.  Pretty much sums up why I wake up every morning.

October 14, 2020

This is the most overwhelmingly epic kayaking video I've ever watched.