December 13, 2011

Couple songs I love

Just enjoyed these this evening and felt compelled to share:


Ain't it the truth

And vice-versa...

And then some folks, don't get to stay in either one.

On a more Christmas-y note, I got new pogies and new creeking shoes as personal Christmas presents to myself, which will come in handy for Alabama jewels like this:

October 15, 2011

Fun Stuff 2011

Jan 2nd. - BCC Feast on the Beac
h. At the Mulberry takeout/BCC property. Level 3.5 ft. In the Riot Magnum.

Jan 3rd. Mulberry. Level 2 ft. With Joan, Tracy, and BJ. In the WS EZ.

Jan 4th. Crossfit 101. First class. oof!

Jan 8th. Mulberry. Level 1 ft. With team V. In the WS EZ. Perhaps 550 - 600 cfs? = low 1ft.

Playspot near Glen Clark was in but shallow, Training Wheels was in,

Lunchstop was in.

Jan 15. Ridgewalking at Guntersville State Park in the snow. With Dave and Valerie. Pics here.

Jan 16. Hike at Oak Mtn. Solo.

Jan 22. Locust Fork. With Vander, Mark, Gray and Chuck N. Level very low. In the WS EZ. Got surfed in hole at base of Powell Falls.

Jan 23. Iron Hoop Cave. With the B'ham Grotto. Awesome trip. Pics HERE.

Jan 29. Mulberry Fork. In the WS EZ. Level right at a foot on the bridge. With Team V. High in the 60's. Pics HERE.

Jan 30. Locust Fork. Level 350ish (low!) With Team V. Pics HERE.

Feb 4. Ridgewalking. Somewhere in the B'ham area, looking for a rumored local cave. No luck, we found something but I am pretty sure it is an old mine shaft.

Feb 5. Went to Locust Race. It

was cold! Didn't paddle. Slalom postponed till sunday; downriver started at 3. Hung out with Mark and Vander, then they left and I spent some time with Ryland and Jenni after they got off the downriver course for a warmup.

Feb 6. Mulberry Fork. In the WS EZ. Level 2 ft. With Team V, also Glen.

Then went by the Locust Race, saw Mary M., Jason and Moe. Pictures from Mulberry and from the race are here.

Feb 12. 5kBR. Benefiting Kid One Transport. 9:24 first mile; pace time 10:37, race time 32:55.

Feb 12. Locust Fork. In Panda's Dagger Crossfire. With Ryland in his Dancer, plus some newbie boaters from Mississippi. Level very low 413 cfs/2.7 ft. est. Went backwards over Powell Falls. High in the upper 50's.

Feb 18-20 Guntersville Getaway. Pics HERE.

Feb 26-27 NPFF. Pics HERE.

March 5 KofC 5k. 34:10.

March 6 Hucking Graves Creek Falls. With Mary Mills. Mulberry Fork Race was rained out.

Video of me:

Video of Mary:

March 12 Ain't Louie Fest. Elkmont section of the Little, 3.6 ft. In the Magnum. With Wendy and Roger. Went to Sinks to watch boaters go off of it. Video of Sinks HERE.

March 13 Ain't Louie Fest. Middle Tellico 2.5 ft. In the Magnum. With Wendy, Roger, and Sally.

Photos for ALF HERE.

March 19 Mulberry. In the triple X. Level a bit under 2 ft.

March 20 LRC Chairlift. In the Magnum. Level around 500-550. Temp in 70's. Pics HERE.

March 22 UAB Pool Session. In the Magnum.

March 26 Ocoee. In the Magnum. With Ryland and Ben F. Normal release, but chilly drizzly weather. I only brought drytop with thin skin short sleeve underneath and neoprene pants, so I bombed down to goforth and took out there. Ry picked up a fluid solo s for Jenni.

March 27 Ry, Paul E, Lee, and I went to Shoal creek. On the way the gauge spiked to flood. At the take-out it looked pretty good, but there was a dead bobcat with a whiskey bottle between its paws laying on the ground. Not a good omen. We decided not to run Shoal. We went down 79 towards the Locust instead, checked the level at Calvert Prong, too low. Ran the Locust at 3.6 in the Magnum. Great great day. 1 roll at the Falls.

April 2 Tigers For Tomorrow. No photos allowed. A neat place, but also sad because these big cats and other critters had dire need of homes, and their situation would not be as it is if legislation outlawing owning big cats as pets were adopted. You can be arrested for owning a pet whitetail deer or mockingbird in Alabama - but a tiger or lion? Legal!

April 3 South Sauty. In the Magnum. Level 12.5 inches, Town gauge 560ish. Air temp 70's. With BMac. Photos here.

April 9 Mulberry. In the WS EZ. Level 1.5 ft. Air temp 80's. With Joan, Helen, Heather, Red, Kerry, Mac, happykilmore Shannon; hamburger Bryan's first trip on the M. 30 rolls, 1 combat.

April 10 Locust. In the Magnum. Level 3 ft. Air temp 80's. With Ry and Kenny.

April 16-17 NOC demo days and ERA Nantahala Open. Sat. level 1690 cfs, in the LL Freeride. Sunday 1100 cfs, in the WS Project X 56. Pics here. Boat reviews here and here.

April 23 Locust. In the WS EZ. Level 4.2 ft. Air temp 80's. With Ry, Rundell, Paul and Lee. Lee broke his paddle in Double Trouble and we fixed it with a stick inside, and some duct tape that came off of my paddle outside. The stick broke soon after and Lee paddled Whoop-Te-Do with one half paddle in each hand. He stashed the shorter half and paddled Bullard Shoals to 160 with the long half kind of like a C1 paddle. His run of Bullard Shoals - upright - gave me some of the best belly laughs I've had in a while. He attempted 2 runs of Powell Falls and swam both times, but he almost made it both times too.

April 30-31 Divine Mercy Sunday shoot in Stockbridge, Ma

May 10. My mother Sara passed away. I am putting it here to remind me of what happened around this time.

May 15 Visit to Joan's House. The day after my mother's funeral. In the WS EZ. We played wiffle ball and frisbee with her two nephews and their friend - one 12 year old and two 10 year old boys - then went paddling in the creek behind her house, with periodical cicadas everywhere, white egret, two grey herons and an osprey. Then Joan gave me my first ever tennis lesson. It was very cathartic to hit the tennis balls that came out of the throwing machine.

May 21-22 Boaterchick Festival 2011 and CCC playboating clinic with Jade Wei. In the WS EZ. Nantahala, normal level.

From Left: Joan, Jade, Amanda, Melissa, Mary, Lorraine, Judy

May 28 - Hiwassee. In the EZ. With K1Chik.

May 29 - Ocoee. In a demo Project 56x. With Ryland.

May 30 - Stern Agee JCC triathlon. 200m swim, 8 mi bike ride, 2 mi run. Time: 1:11:05.

June 4 - Coosa. Spectated at the Coosa Whitewater Festival. In the EZ. Level 8000. Temp upper 90's but the water was cool and there was a breeze.

June 10-12 SERA 2011.

June 12 Hiwassee. In the WS EZ. With K1Chik. Paddled most of the day with Team V.

June 18 Nanty. In my new Wavesport Project X 56.I love my new boat!!!! With Ryland, Jenni, goodbones and tweetybird, and a new friend named Craig. Craig swam Patton's and busted his chin. He had to get 6 stitches in it later on after we got off river and had dinner at River's End.

June 19 Ocoee. In the Project X 56. With Ry and Jenni, Kenny, Julie, and Mikeyboats.

June 25 Tuckaseegee. In the Project X 56. With Amanda H, Mary Mills, TVCC newbie class.

June 26 Ocoee. In the Project X 56. With Amanda H, Mary Mills. Met up with Ryland and Rundell at Go Forth.

July 5-10 WEEK OF RIVERS. Carolina Canoe Club annual event at Smoky Mtn. Meadows.

July 6 - Nantahala playboating clinic with Jon Clark instructing, with Joan.

July 7 - Upper and Lower Pigeon, normal release, maybe a bit extra water.

July 8 - Nantahala with Brian on SUP and Susan to Ferebee, and Joan, Julie on SOT, Joy, to takeout.

July 9 - Tuckaseegee 500 release with Joan, Julie in Piedra, Joy, Boyd open boater, Beth, and Grey. Saw the Meadows on SOTs.

July 10 - Surfers to Slow Joe Wave, with Joan.

WOR photos HERE.

June 17 Ocoee. In the Project X 56. Day trip with Ry and Jenni.

June 23-31 Middle Fork of the Salmon. In Bonnie's EZ. With Gordo and Bonnie, Chris K and Chris B, Don K, OC1-Kanubi, many others. Best trip of my life. Pics HERE. Great trip report from Kanubi HERE. Some advice I gave a friend who is leaving for the Middle Fork this Thursday Aug. 4 - "I got blisters/sores on the tops of my feet from wearing wet, sandy Chacos; the straps and sand cut into the skin. So a better plan is to put on dry socks and camp shoes when you are in camp. I ended up putting bandaids and gorilla tape over the bandaids on my feet to try to stop the sores from getting worse.
I don't know what levels you will have but at 2.8ish I'd rate Powerhouse a sweet long class III boogie, Velvet Falls a III-, (easy line on the left by the rock). Pistol creek a IV, Tappan Falls and Tappan three a IV-, Weber a IV-, Rubber a IV, Haystack a III+, Cramer Creek a III+ (just go for the tongue down the middle, hootenanny, plenty of deep water to roll below). Lower Gauley feel to the wave trains. Lots of big holes to dodge. You might have some hardboaters with you that know the lines. That would really help! We boat scouted most of it except Pistol and Tappan Three. Wish I had scouted Rubber. Don't go down the right side at Weber. Do go down the right side at Tappan Falls. Hope this helps. BTW there is a book with all the rapids and camps etc. but really not helpful to hardboats for the lines. I didn't read it until after I got off the river and bought a copy in Salmon."

Aug. 7 Mtn. Biking and Rolling Practice at Joan's. Julie, Joan and I road mtn. bikes on her family farm and then had rolling practice at their pool. I conked my head while playing in the pool with some of the nephews.
Aug 13-14 BCC Summer Slam. Sat: Nantahala, in the WS Project X56, with Debbie, Chris, Haywood and Scott. Sun: Upper and Middle Ocoee with Andy, Lynn, and Jim.
Aug 21 - Hiwassee. In the WS Project X56, with Jenni, Ryland, and Rundell. My paddle and two helmets were in my car in the shop, so I used my old paddle and black Pro-tec helmet. It was fun putting the grass in my helmet holes like the old days.

Aug 27 - Middle Ocoee. In the WS ProjectX56, from the top. With Andy, Lynn, and Ben.

Aug 28 - Upper Ocoee. In the Riot Magnum. With Andy, Lynn, David, and Mark C. who borrowed my WS Project X56. One crazy line at the bottom of the Olympic section and one roll in Roach Motel made my adrenaline fix, so I went home rather than paddle the middle.

Sept 2 - MCBS Open Jam, Ranelli's Deli Soul Pit. I played bass. Quick visit since I had to get up at 6 and drive to the Ocoee... things I do for fun... ;^)

Sept 3 - Upper and Middle Ocoee. In the Riot Magnum. With Andy and Lynn. First time for me running Mikey's Ledge. Wheeeeeee

Sept 4 - Upper and Middle Ocoee. In the Riot Magnum. With Andy, Lynn, Bill, and Helen.

Helen's first run of the Upper! Also with Fred in his raft with his son and his son's girlfriend. Andy and Fred ran the raft over Alien Boof.

Sept 10 Mulberry. In the Project X 56. With Joan. Missed Team V, they put-on earlier. Ran into ol' high school buddy Suzanne, she had followed me off of the interstate to the put-in when she spotted my car. She was kind enough to be our shuttle bunny. Great time, level 1 foot, 702 cfs.

Sept 11 Bike Riding. With Joan at their farm. Another great time! The weather is beautiful right now.

Sept 17 Warrior Dash. In Manchester, Tn. With Katie and Gary. Pics here. Video here and here.

Sept 18 Ocoee. Middle Ocoee in the Project X 56. With Mikeyboats.

Sept 25 Choccolocco Creek. With Joan and Linda. My knee is hurting from sprints so I sat in front of a 2 seater Sit-On-Top with Linda driving. Then went by to visit Blue Eye Springs near Lincoln. Pics here.

Oct 1 Ocoee. Middle Ocoee in the Project X 56. With Christine Blumberg and friends. Dynamic Duo footage here.

Oct 2 Nanty. In the Project X 56. With Jenni and Ryland, Denise, her friend forget his name, Joan.

Oct 6-9 Tag Fall Cave-In. Pics HERE.

Oct 15 TVCC Ocoee Race. In the Riot Magnum 72. (a very few) Pics HERE.

Oct 16 Bham Grotto Vertical Practice. At Palisades Park. Pics HERE.
Oct 22 Coosa River. 4000 CFS. High around 7o degrees. In drytop and shorts, didn't get too warm or too cold. At this level the Ender spot at the ledges is in. We did not check on Baby Gap but figured it wasn't in. In the WS Project X 56. With Glen, Joan, Julie, Heyward, Debbie, Caren, and a couple more folks whose names I can't recall. Pics HERE.
Oct 23 Ridgewalking in The Big Coon. With Dave H, Reed and Forrest. Returning to a lead Dave and Reed had started to dig open, and a lead Forrest found and they had dug open. We found a name and number in the low 20's scratched on the wall of the second lead. We are not the only ridgewalkers... also found some interesting nerd holes, indication a good elevation to check next visit. Pics HERE.
Oct 29 Bikram Yoga.
Oct 30 Coosa. 8000 cfs. High around 68 degrees. In the Project X 56. With a big group.

Nov. 24th. JCC Turkey Day 10k. My time was 1:14:29

Dec. 3rd. LRC Chairlift Section In the Riot Magnum. Level around 650-700cfs, temps upper 60's. With the TVCC. Pics HERE Best level I've ever run it at, padded out some of the bony stuff downstream.

Dec 4th. Locust Fork. In the Riot Magnum. Level around 700cfs. Air temps upper 60's. With Rundell, Daniel and his girlfriend, Fred, folks from Huntsville.
Dec 9th. BCC Christmas party At Debbie S. house. Nice.
Dec 10th. Locust Fork. In the Riot Magnum. Level around 1500cfs. Padded out nicely. Left side slide of (right of island) Powell Falls was a smooth ride. Air temps upper 40's. With Paul E, Rundell, Team V. Sunny but I still felt effing cold. Head heater helped when I remembered I had brought it.
Dec 14-18th. Solitude Utah Skiing. With Ron, Jocelyn, Joan, and Holly. Awesome trip. Pics HERE
Dec 23. White's Creek in Tn. In the Riot Magnum. With Bob B III, Christine B and friends. Level around 1.5 ft on the take-out bridge. Pics HERE. Video HERE and HERE.

Dec 26th. Upper Town creek. Level I don't remember... High upper 40's, windy, cloudy. With Brian and Jen. Pics HERE.
Dec 27th. Upper Mulberry. Level 10 ft. High upper 40's, windy, cloudy. With Damien. In the Riot Magnum. Then I took pictures of a karst area on cty. rd. 9. Pics HERE.

Dec 28th. Gurley Creek. Locust Fork. Locust level 5.67 ft. Weather sunny and mid-50's. With Nathan C. and Brett K. In the Riot Magnum. Brett and I also went over to Graves Creek and I took some pics at the falls. Photos HERE

Dec 31 Daddy's Creek. Level 1.5/6 ish. With Dave L, Christine B., Dave Mc, and others.

October 14, 2011


Even though it's Halloween season, not *those* Zombies. The Zombies' Odessey and Oracle album is one of my new favorites. And it was released when I was 2 years old.

This is one of my favorite songs on it: Hung Up On A Dream. It strikes me that the music from bands I like that is released today, hasn't really changed genres from the 60's onward. It also strikes me that I simply love Mellotrons.
I have been told that the artist that made the cover misspelled "Odyssey" and the band was too nice to have him correct it.

September 25, 2011

Why is it so hard?

I was talking to Donna about how I have been an artistic mute for several years. I think the main challenge for me now is to figure out why and how I can make this stop. I still practice and play music at home, a lot, but I just don't use music to express myself in public, which is the point of music in the first place.

August 25, 2011

Awesome and awful year so far

This has been a really strange year so far. I hadn't blogged about it, but my oldest sister Merls was diagnosed with breast cancer a few weeks after our mom died. She had a lumpectomy and is going to have radiation and Femara, so her prognosis is very good.
This means both of my sisters are breast cancer survivors, which is scary. I can't do anything about it except go to get screened every year (and I do and am clear) and just keep doing the things that make me happy.
Crossfit keeps improving my boating. Now that sounds like a trivial thing in the midst of the subject of cancer, but it is completely relevant. It is one of the reasons this year has been awesome at the same time it has been extremely sad and painful.
I am boating better this year than I ever have. Thank you crossfit.
Middle Fork of the Salmon was the best trip I've ever taken, ever. ever ever. ;-)
Week of Rivers was awesome as usual. Wish I lived closer to some folks...
I'm going skiing in Utah this December.
And I'm tinkering with violin.
I suppose the message here if there is any, is to keep busy doing the things you love, and find new things to love as well.

August 6, 2011

Quick post on guitar stuff

If you play by ear (like me) and need to work on memorizing the fretboard (like me) and you want to improve your soloing on guitar (like me), and improve your chord knowledge (like me), get a ukulele.

A ukulele forces you to make chords out of, at the most, four notes. This simplifies the chord shapes in your mind. You start to see the patterns of, for instance, the relation of the other notes near the note you are playing on the C string (on guitar this would be the G string) and then, when you are back on guitar, the pattern is there. I'm telling you, for me, starting to play ukulele provided a real boost in my soloing and my chords.

Another thing that will help your soloing is to be mindful of your hand positions. If you are making an extreme movement to get to a note, well, you're getting out of position and you are going to hit a wrong note. Everybody learns how to play a scale vertically - without moving your hand up the neck. Start practicing scales in the pattern of two strings, slide up a fret, all the way up the scale, maintaining your hand position. If you start your major scale from the first note, then the second, and so forth, you will be covering all of the modes.

Finally, if you can get your paws on a copy of The Alchemical Guitarist vol 1 DVD, which consists of lessons by Richard Lloyd, which originally came with Guitar World magazine as a column, you will find a wealth of information that will be helpful to you in ways that no other guitar instruction I've come across has possessed. I didn't see it for sale on Guitar World's site, though vol 2 is there (I just ordered it this morning), nor on Richard's site. Perhaps if enough people requested it it would be put on sale again.
I cannot stress enough how much Richard's lessons have helped my playing. There is an example lesson on youtube, how long it will be up there I don't know. When I first watched this lesson I had to rewatch it about 20 times to understand what he was saying, and then it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Here it is: sample lesson from Richard

June 10, 2011

The way it feels to paddle whitewater - via video

This is a nice find for me this morning: a point of view video of the Wenatchee, that somehow captures the way kayaking whitewater feels to me - a combination of gliding, flying, rollercoaster riding, and endless movement.

I hope that you get outside this weekend - the woods, the rivers, the lakes, the beaches, the mountains, the deserts, the caves, the canyons; anywhere outside of the air conditioned walls most of us spend our workdays in.

May 26, 2011

What now?

What do you do after the loss of your parents? It's like floating in the air under a parachute, wondering where you will touch down.
I'm trying to keep busy - going paddling as much as possible, because that is my great stress release. Everyone at work has been very kind to me and my sister. I find myself thinking strange thoughts, like, "Well, mom outlived Bin Laden".
I've also been watching PATTON for the first time; it's on Netflix online. Wow what a great movie. It also strikes me as being a movie about my parents' generation, the best of us I think. My father and my uncles on both sides of my family were all in WWII. My mom was born in 1930, so during the events in the movie she would have been a young teenager. My father was in his 20's, as he was born in 1920.
I took a playboating class last weekend (my penchant for non-sequiturs has remained solid) and it was hard for me to get into at first. We stayed for a couple of hours at the Slow Joe wave at the NOC, then went up to the top and played down to the Ledges. I even thought, as we drove to the put-in, that I might just bow out for the rest of the class. Details of my mother's suffering in the hospital kept popping into my head. But I decided to keep with the class, I went anyway and I am glad I did. I rolled a lot and that cold Nanty water got my mind out of its funk, at least for awhile. This was during the Boaterchik festival, and that night we all had barbeque and beers at the festival and I and my group of friends slept in this crazy bunkhouse, in sleeping bags because it got pretty nippy at night. The next day we had the second part of the playboating class and again, at first I wasn't really into it. We put on at Ferebee and went down to the stern squirt spot behind the flat rock, and that cold water slapped me upside the head over and over and it was the best thing. We paddled to the takeout and I had a good line at the falls.
Crossfit has been helping too - it is such a ridiculously hard class, every time, that it drives any bad thoughts out of my head and replaces them with sweat and gasping for air. I have had great improvements in my paddling from it, both in terms of strength of strokes and in terms of stamina (metcon aerobic endurance). Most of my classmates are much younger than me and run rings around me, but I soldier on. It is a positive and encouraging environment.
This is a rambling mess but I'll post it anyway.

May 11, 2011

My momma

My momma passed away last night around 7:30. She had terminal cancer in her lungs. It was a very fast sickness and she spent less than a week in the hospital.
The Palliative Care Unit at UAB was wonderful to my mom. So was the general medicine wing of Spain Wallace. So was the ER at UAB. I can't tell you enough about how sweet everybody that worked there was to my mom and to my family.

Here is a picture of my momma and my poppa that I love.

February 17, 2011


The attorney for Blount County has notified the Birmingham Canoe Club that any cars parked on Whitewater Drive, the paved county road leading to the BCC property at the takeout for the Mulberry Fork River, will be towed at the owner’s expense. The county will be posting signs in the near future. Please park in the parking area only!

WildWater movie

The new movie WildWater will be shown at the National Paddling Film Festival - see my last blog post for NPFF details.
The trailer for WildWater is excellent, enjoy:

February 16, 2011

National Paddling Film Festival

The National Paddling Film Festival, aka NPFF, will be Feb. 25-26 in Frankfort, Kentucky. This is a great event and will feature the new movies Raven Fork and WildWater. This event benefits American Whitewater, Team River Runner, First Descents, and other regional conservation-based non-profit groups.

Locust and Mulberry levels

I am reposting this to start the new (ish) year off with my data regarding the Locust and Mulberry Levels.

*Note - the Mulberry Gauge is being moved to a site upstream.  The correlations to the bridge gauge will all have to be re-done over the coming year(s).*  
Link to spreadsheet of new Mulberry correlations

I've had this in a printout on my wall for years. I don't think it is online anymore so I am going to type it in so I have it handy online. I don't know who originally compiled it. I've altered it to suit my own experiences.

Online gauge for the Mulberry:,00060

Online gauge for the Locust Fork:

This information is NOT intended as a gauge for safe water levels. Be sure to check the readings at the put-in bridges. Use your judgment and DO NOT attempt to paddle if your skills do not match the river conditions. Gauges change, and rivers change.

CFS Conversion


CFS Flow

Stage or Height

2’0” to 2’6”
Minimal flow for paddling
2’8” to 3’0”
Good Paddling begins at this level.
Ideal technical paddling with a little push.
House Rock rapid gets strong; ender hole is prime for tricks.
House Rock rapid needs scouting; Double Trouble rapid gets less technical; ender hole begins to wash out; surfing and wave wheel paradise.
Big Water river in trees;Powell Falls becomes grabby – scout river right.
A real flusher; Whirlpool above Ender Hole becomes very dangerous.


CFS Flow

Stage or Height painted on Bridge. Subtract 3.3 from the online USGS gauge to get the correct feet on the painted bridge gauge.

Bump and scrape. Too low!
0” – 6”
Class I.
Class II. At 651, bridge gauge said 1 ft with lots of little surf waves. -at bridge 1ft./700 cfs the surf spot between the islands at Glen Clark was in. *at 702 cfs 9-10-11 this spot was not in. But we found a great surf spot right below the bridge and a spin spot near the top of the turn to Glen Clark, new stuff.*
Hawaii 50 begins to form and bow surfing possible.
Enjoyable run; great down river run.
Hawaii 5-0 is a surfer’s paradise; Lunchtime becomes retentive.
Pushy; rapids and eddies begin to wash out; floating debris may be present; 5.0 questionable but the hole behind is great.

January 1, 2011

JAN 1 2011

Welcome, 2011. Happy New Year!

I wanted to share a website that I have been working on with GCA-Steve and others:

Nubiaq is a website for beginner paddlers, kayak or canoe. It includes a FAQ and a lexicon of terms and skills used in paddling.
It is a wiki, so please feel free to join and contribute if you have paddling info you would like to share.