December 31, 2019

Fun Stuff 2019

Jan 1 Mulberry Upper and Lower.  LL Stomper 80.  BCC Feast On The Beach.  Air and water temps mild. Much nicer conditions than last year.   Level on Streambeam was 4.5 but bridge gauge was 3.5 feet.  I have a new resolution for 2019: no more dry hair days!  Rolling practice mandatory!
Folks at BCC Feast On The Beach 2019

Jan 2 Upper and Lower Mulberry.  LL Stomper 80. Trip report I posted that evening:   "Mulberry was a nice float today, raining, streambeam gauge was 3.2, gauge on the old bridge was just under 3, and new painted gauge on the newer bridge was 2.5. 

It was a bit higher than I prefer, as most of the features I goof around in were either not in at all, or munchier than I wanted to mess with.
There was nothing at Glen Clark Memorial, no wave at Training Wheels, Lunchstop was pretty big and dynamic, and 5-0 was a green wave and hard to catch.
There is a tree with branches hanging down on the river right side of the surf wave on the other side of the island from Glen Clark. Andy Lee and Lynn had cut out some of the branches last year, and the ones there now may not be in play at lower levels. At the level today, they made it impossible to get in the only surfing spot.
A blue Perception Blast sit-in rec kayak is river left on the shore below Lunchstop. We had seen it pinned in some trees there a couple days ago at the level of 4.5 on the streambeam gauge. It was mostly submerged in the eddy when we arrived, and Joel pulled it out of the water and drained it. We stashed it where it *might* not get taken downstream again unless there's another flood stage. It has a big hole in the side and a small hole in the hull; it could be repaired."

Jan 3 Ridgewalk above Skyline.  With Dave H., his daughter Shay, and her boyfriend Kristopher.   Mild temps, very productive ridgewalk, several great leads!  Then a visit to Unclaimed Baggage where I miraculously didn't buy anything (too tired to shop).

Jan 5 Upper and Lower Mulberry. LL Stomper 80.Level was just under 4ft. on the old bridge gauge, which I believe was accurate for the conditions observed.  Warm day, mild water temps, 22 people in our group and there was another group meeting a hour later! Unfortunately a car was broken into at the Upper Mulberry putin (CR 10).  My car was at the BCC beach parking and was spared.

<>Jan 6 Cahaba Lovick. LL Stomper 80.   Warm day in low 60's, bright blue skies.  Water temps brisk.  With Vander H., Joseph and Emma W., and Kent M.  Level approx. 875.  Class II, no wood, all drops went without bony spots.  Trip took us approx. 3 hours, perhaps less.  And that was with a lot of lazy flatwater paddling.
Jan 12 Mulberry.  LL Stomper 80.  1.5 on gauges.  Warm, wonderful day soul surfing.  Joel and Janice, Kent, OC1-Kanubi and his friend visiting, Riley in the triple X.
Jan 19 Mulberry.  LL Stomper 80.   Warm day, around 60.  1.5 on gauges.  Tomorrow supposed to be very cold.  With Andy and Lynn, Joel and Janice, Riley, and Bill.
Jan 24 High Museum Atlanta, Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors Exhibit.   With Josh, Li, and Donna.  Photos here.
Jan 27 Archery.  At Hoover tactical, with my new bow,  with James and Shahn. 
James made a string and silencers for me

Feb 2 Stephen's Gap. Several friends celebrating February birthdays together.  I got to visit with Joy C. as well.  Pics here.

Feb 3 Tellico 1.8.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Weather temps mild; water temps cold!  With Steve I. and Wendy A.  Turkey Creek to Pylon.  There is a tree blocking the bridge rapid putin.
Feb 4 Walls of Jericho ridgewalk.  With Dave H.  We found some interesting leads, including a sink with two leads that I checked online later to find they were already reported on the survey.
Feb 15-17 Grotto Getaway.    At Camp Maranatha.  Ridgewalk on Saturday was the least productive I've ever been on.   Not a lead, sink, doline, or IKF.   Well, now we know.
Feb 23 Ridgewalk.  With David H. and Matthew K.   We dug open a blowing lead I found the previous year, but no luck.  Had some fun in briars and brambles afterwards.
Feb 23 Kelly Creek.  In the LL Stomper 80.  One lap with Ming, Lynn, and Barry.  Level 2.5.
March 2-3 Mulberry Fork Canoe and Kayak Races.  I was the Gate Judge coordinator for the second year.   We had a mud waller... level Saturday was in the 3.5 foot range and Sunday 3 foot.
March 9  Greenbriar 1.4.  With The Lost Tribe.  In the LL Stomper 80.   We drove there from a cabin in Tellico Plains, with the belief that 1.5 was the minimum, but it was 1.4 when we got there.  We went anyway.  Great time in one of my favorite runs.  No flips on my part but a few of the canoeists had some swims.  I agree that 1.5 is a minimum.  Pics HERE.
This weekend is Ain't Louie Fest but unlike past years I only got to paddle one day. Tellico is blown out 4 + feet, Whites was 5.5 ft. this morning.
March 23 Tellico 1.8 ft.  In the Jackson Nirvana.  I demoed this 9 ft. creeker and found it much different than any other boat I have ever paddled.  So... I bought it.

March 30 Locust Fork.  2.2 ft.  In the ProjectX 56.  With James H., Peggy R., Vander H. and Ming S.   Low but very pleasant, water temps mild and weather around 70F.  We took out at Swann.
March 31 Tumbling Rock Cave Preserve. 
With Dave H., Matthew K., Jeff H., Tawnya and Lee.  To the Christmas Tree.
April 6 - 7 Locust Fork Canoe and Kayak Races.  I was a spectator.

My beautiful new RivrStyx paddle, and Necky Chronic playboat, photo cred Peggy Robertson

April 13 Mulberry Fork.   Level 1.3.  In the Necky Chronic.  Excellent surfing day.  With Joel and Janice, Peggy, Joseph, Emma, Wendy and Russell.

Peggy Robertson's great shot showing the joy of paddling, as a bunch of us try to surf a wave together

April 14 Locust Fork.  Level 2.7 climbing to 3.06.  In the Necky Chronic.  Warm weather and water, windy.  With Hayward, Rebecca, Carin, others.

April 20 Calvert Prong.  In the Jackson Nirvana M. 
Warm weather, kinda high level (I forgot to make note of USGS Locust level).  With Joel and Janice, Andy and Lynn, Mark E.

April 27 Mulberry and Locust-to-Swann.  In the yellow Necky Chronic.   Mulberry was 1.18, Locust was 2.9.   Great day, lots of surfing.  Too low for 5-0 but Training Wheels and Lunchstop were sweet. With Joel and Janice; when we got to the Locust we met up with Russell B., Hayward and Rebecca.  

April 28 Mulberry.   In the yellow Necky Chronic.  Level was .88 on the Streambeam gauge.  With Andy and Lynn, Russell B.  Training Wheels and Lunchstop still good, nothing at 5-0 to surf but the little ledge below was surprisingly good.   I keep forgetting to bring a camera.

May 3-5 SERA 2019.  With the Birmingham Grotto.  At the Lazy G Wedding Chapel in Union Grove.  Pics here.

May 11 Paddling 101 class.  At Oak Mtn. Swimming Lake.  9 students.  cloudy but didn't rain on us.  Nice day.

May 12 Locust to Swann... then Calvert Prong.  In the Jackson Nirvana M.  Locust was approx. 4 ft, Calvert was up a bit more than preferable for surfing.  On Locust there is a sweet wave that forms river right downstream of Whoop-te-do/Riley's Rapid.  With Joel and Janice, Vander, Peggy.  Awesome day.

May 18 Paint Rock River Float With the Birmingham Grotto.  Level was low, but floatable; in a couple of spots we had to drag boats, and Moe's sit-on-top kayak was cracked so we had to stop periodically and dump the water from inside the hull.  Lovely, long day.   From Estill Fork church putin to County Road 507 crossing.  We went under two bridges, after the second bridge the run was slackwater and a bit of a chore.  Pics here.

May 25 Hiwassee.   With the TVCC.  In the yellow Necky Chronic.  Said Hello to the Hiwassee on it's first official release date of the season.  Sunday I went on a hike from Thunder Rock to the Whitewater center with Kathy K.

May 27 Memorial Day West Blocton Coke Ovens and Cahaba Lilies.   With Susan and Donna.  Pics here.

June 1 Ocoee.  In the Jackson Nirvana M.  With members of the Lost Tribe.  Great day.

TVCC paddle school auction and party that night at AU.  I camped near Pat C.'s family.  

June 2 Ocoee.  In the Jackson Nirvana M.  With Mary Mills.  Had two moments of carnage, took out at Go Forth.  A very different experience from the day before, I must admit.

June 9 Mulberry.  In the blue Wave Sport EZG - 50, my latest addition to the $100-$250 slicy boat fleet.   Summer rainstorms brought up the Mulberry and it was 1 foot on the bridge, but at the playspots the level seemed more like 6 inches.  Displacement from all the plants in the river?  With Tim R., Carin B, Hayward W. and Chuck N.  The EZG-50 is a really fun design.

June 17 - 22 NSS Convention.  In Cookeville, Tn.  Photos Here:

June 29 - July 4 Week of Rivers 2019.  At Smoky Mtn. Meadows campground in Bryson City, N.C.  With the Carolina Canoe Club.  Amazingly no rain on the campground!  Photos Here:

Sunday June 30Lower Nolichucky, class II with one -III.  In the Wave Sport EZG-50. My first descent.  Scenic, peaceful paddle.  With Lisa H. as trip leader, Linda D. in her open boat, many others.
Monday July 1Nantahala.  In the Jackson Nirvana.  I thought I would be bored in the big boat, but my hip tendonitis was bugging me from being in the playboat, so I chose the Nirvana.  Good choice - it boofs like crazy!  With Joan S., Tim R. and Chuck N., others.

My big BOOF on the Nanty in the Jackson Nirvana.  Photo credit Chuck Neese

Tuesday July 2:  Tuckaseegee.  In the Wave Sport EZG-50.  Nice day but my hip bugged me again.  Getting old ain't for sissies.  
Team "J" members Judy Joan and Jade
This photo captures how much fun kayaking is!  Spin spot on the Nanty, left of Pyramid Rock.  Photo by Chuck Neese.
Wednesday July 3:  Nantahala.  In the Jackson Antix.  Demoed it, bought it.  lol

I didn't go to the river again until August 3rd and 4th.   My sister Kathy is very ill and I am her primary caregiver.
I did go on a couple of mushroom forays with the Alabama Mushroom Society.  We went a few miles north of B'ham, in Remlap and then another time in Cleveland Al.  Its pretty dry so we didn't find much,  but we had a nice day hike each time.

August 3rd  Hiwassee.  In the Bell Ocoee Canoe.  At Adult Canoe School with The Lost Tribe.  Wonderful day.  

Me on the Hiwassee in the Bell Ocoee.  Photo by Neil Garland Stanton.
August 4th  Ocoee.   In the Jackson Antix M.   With Andy and Lynn, and new friend James.  I took out at GoForth.   What a great day!  I am smitten with The Antix.  If there is  better boat design for the Ocoee, I haven't paddled it.

August 11 Mushroom Foray.  At Buck Island, TVA property on Lake Guntersville. With members of the Alabama Mushroom Society.  We found some oysters and a few other things.  My feet are covered in chigger bites.  Yay me.  

August 17-18 Hiwassee.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With the B'ham Canoe Club, annual Old Timers trip.  We stayed at Reliance Fly n Tackle and had their excellent bbq ribs for dinner.  Great weekend.  Pics here.

August 31-Sept 1 Hiwassee.  Saturday in the Jackson Antix M, Sunday in Emma W.'s Zen S., great weekend, photos here.

Sept- 13-14 Ocoee River Championships.  I did not paddle; I was a gate judge volunteer.

Sept 27-29 GAF.  Friday the lower Nanty with Janice, Joel, many others, in the Jackson Nirvana M.  Great day. Dinner at the Italian place in Bryson City, then back to camp with the B'ham Canoe Club at Turkey Creek Campground.

Saturday Upper Nanty in the Jackson Nirvana M.  With Hayward W. Not so great day, I swam Troll Hole then was in a pin in Mank.  Switched to the Antix for the lower and promptly flipped in the curler at Patton's and swam again.  I had a newbie flanking me on my right side, in a perfect position to feed me into the curler, and I watched a canoe flip in front of me prior to my own adventure.  I add those details so I remember it years later; I own the swim, I should have rolled.  Decided my mind wasn't in the game so I took out at Surfer's.
Sunday went to roll practice with Mary Mills at the Ocoee take-out, she said I had no flex in my back whatsoever.  Decided not to paddle.  My back had been out for a couple of weeks but I had taken Aleve and said F-it.  Stupid move.  I did stretches on hardwood floors when I got home and my back was immediately improved.  I started a 20 push up and 1 minute plank challenge on Oct 1 and made it a thread on a whitewater ladies fb forum so I have accountability partners.

October 5 Hiwassee.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With new boaters Fergus T. and Stacy W., along with Peggy R., Deborah W, others.  Back still tweaky but seemed better.

October 6 Ocoee roll practice.   In the WS EZG-50 at the takeout.  Not feeling it.

October 12 Coosa.  In the Jackson Antix M.  With Heyward W., Tim R., others.  My back hurt the entire time.  Wtf.  It usually doesn't hurt when I'm seated in the boat.  A few hip snaps confirmed for me that this was just going to be one of those days.  Was nice to visit with Lonnie and Karen at COC.
October 23  Ridgewalk at Rickwood Caverns state park.  With the Birmingham Grotto.  A few good leads, unfortunately my back didn't fare well with a day pack.
Nov 3 Ridgewalk at Rickwood Caverns state park.  With the Birmingham Grotto.  No qualifiers but wow so many leads... my back is better too, finally!
Nov 3 Mulberry.  In the Jackson Antix M.  Level 8 inches.  Local water is back!  With Joel and Janice, Peggy, Michael C., Russell B., 13 of us total.  We surfed until we were all worn out.  Let no one tell you that the Mulberry is no fun below a foot.  We had a blast!

Peggy Robertson took this great photo of me with Emma and Riley on Lunchstop wave.  

Nov 10 Mushroom Foray.  With the Alabama Mushroom Society.  At Swann Bridge.  No blueits or oysters this year, but we did find lion's mane, purple corts, and tons of honey mushrooms.

Nov 16 Ridgewalk near Rickwood.  With Dave H.  Found a qualifier; Dave found a nice vertical lead.

Nov 17 Graves Cave.  With James H., Kevin aka Shiny, Matthew K.   Nice trip back to the dig, then thru the water passage.  

Nov 29 Locust Fork.  In the Jackson Antix M.  Level 2.35, low.  To Swann.  Then I met Dave Howell and mapped my qualifier from Nov 16.  I've dubbed it Loki's Lair, my newest addition to the ACS.
Dave checking his notes during the survey of Loki's Lair

Nov 30 Mulberry Fork.   In the Jackson Antix M.  Level 1.35 IIRC. With Joel and Janice, Peggy, Fergus, others.  Great surfing day.  The Mulberry Fork is a gem.

December 8 Tumbling Rock Cave.  With members of the B'ham Grotto, some paddlers who had visited before, and a couple of newbies:  Peggy R. and D. Habanero.  Photos HERE.

December 15 Ridgewalk.  With Dave H., Matthew K., Shiny and others.  Hytop area. Nothing found on this walk except a known cave.  

December 21 Ridgewalk.  With Dave H.  In the vicinity of Loki's lair, we checked on Dave's vertical climb-down lead (it didn't go) and I have a new lead with a nuisance drop entrance that we were unable to enter without rope.

December 26 Locust Fork.  Level 4 ft, air temps in mid-60's, water temps mild.  In the Jackson Antix M. With Fergus T., Joel and Janice, Peggy, Scott C, Mark E., Michael C., David and his son, and Vander H.  Took out at Swann. 
Bad tree in Bullard Shoals. Went to visit my sister Kathy and she hugged me so hard and told me she loved me over and over.

December 27 Hike of Line Creek.  Hiking and scouting class III/IV Line Creek in Attalla.  Photos here.  Description of Line Creek here:

December 28 Locust Fork. Level 3.5 ft, air temps mid-60's, grey skies, water temps mild. In the Antix M.  With Joel and Janice, Peggy, Hayward, Rebecca, others.  Took out at Swann.

December 29 Mulberry Fork.  Level 2 ft, air temps upper 60's grey skies, water temps mild. In the Antix M. With Joel and Janice, Riley, Chad D. and his son, Ryan S.

December 31 Locust Fork.  Level 3.5 ft, air temps lower 60's with wind, blue skies, water temps cold.  In the Stomper 80.  With Joel and Janice, Riley, Bo, others.  Took out at Swann. Bad tree still in Bullard Shoals.

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