December 29, 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:
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. 

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.
Dec 16 Mulberry.  In the LL Stomper, Level 2 ft again.  Air temps upper 50s, cloudy but some sun.  I was with Chris T.  We had the river to ourselves.
Dec 22 Locust.  In the LL Stomper.  With over 30 other paddlers!  BCC, HCC, and TVCC represented.  Level 3.5ish, warm weather, I took out at Swann.

most but not all of us at the Locust putin, Sat Dec 22

Dec 23 Mulberry. 
Level 1.5.  Air temps 50s, water temps mild.  With Peggy R., Jon W., and others.
Dec 25 Locust.  In the LL Stomper.  Level 2.7ish.  Cloudy but mild temps.  With Vander, Rundell, and Chris T.

Dec 29 Upper Mulberry to BCC take-out; Calvert Prong.  In the LL Stomper.   Cloudy but mild temps.  Mulberry 5.25 on streambeam gauge; was 4.5 on the bridge as we passed by the lower put-in.  Calvert was a bit high.  With Joel and Janice; Andy and Lynn; Russell B., Scott C., and Mark whats-his-name.
Dec 30 Upper Mulberry and Calvert Prong, again.  Forget the levels but Calvert was sweet surfing.

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