2013: Truth in Numbers

We’re a little late to this 2013 paddle log thread but here are the digits for we three Sig’s. I think I counted everything correctly as the year went on.

2013 Family Activity Log

2013 saw each of us paddling for over 32 days this year on 15-18 different streams streams for 113-170 miles. We continued to try out lots of boats this year which means some of us paddled 10 different boats. Some were open boats and I’ve since made the switch to paddling canoes. This, of course, upped all of our swim counts compared to the year before though Mandy still has the fewest (duh!).

Last year also saw us camping out 23-38 nights last year and hiking 40-108 miles. Hiking has taken a backseat to paddling but Mandy got her numbers up by spending three weeks rambling around the western US.

Even our dog Hayduke managed to hike 31 miles and camp out 11 nights which is more than many folks. He really is a luck dog.

All in all, it was another great year and a lot of that credit goes to the community of paddlers that makeup the Arkansas Canoe Club … those folks have taken us in to safely show us the ropes. SYOTR!

I Do Love to Plan a Trip

Mandy has the doctors’ blessings to keep playing; she’s learning how to protect her back and mitigate her pain. And so we’re launching ourselves, without the usual time to plan, into our summer adventures. Our friend Britt had planned to go with her on a two-week train-and-bike trip to northern New York, but they decided they weren’t up to the back-to-back 70-mile days that it would require. They’ve put their heads together and decided to go on a two-week rambling road trip to the Badlands, Corn Palace, Mount Rushmore, Glacier, and Arches. She’s gone to Tulsa for her three-week visit, leaving the rest of us to plan their trip. Britt’s planning the route and the side trips and the car campgrounds and the dayhikes they’ll do. Earlier this week, Britt tucked three pages of notes under my windshield wiper in the office parking lot.

2013 07 12 Britts Trip Notes for Blog Continue reading “I Do Love to Plan a Trip”

Pink Granite

It’s nearly the end of the semester. It’s that part of the spring that finds me sitting in one class, worrying about what I’m not getting done in another. I’ve been looking forward to spending a whole weekend at home, doing labs for structural geology. So of course, on Thursday night, when Bryan suggests that we pack up and leave on Friday for the Wichita Mountains in western Oklahoma, I think that sounds fine.


I do love the Wichitas, and he knows it. It’s been several years since we’ve been there and he also knows that I’m a sucker for a good road trip. By the time I walk out of my Thursday-night class, our plans are made: we’ll stay up late packing, pick up Kathy after work on Friday, and meet Mitch and his kids along the way. Continue reading “Pink Granite”

2013 OOO Demo Day

The local paddling store, Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters in Hot Springs, has a ‘Demo Day’ every year. It was at this event last spring that we had a chance to meet the staff of the store and some local paddlers who had come out to help. It was at Demo Day last year when Bryan and Mandy picked out their LiquidLogic XP kayaks, and where Hayduke and I first tried, and settled on, ‘his’ Native Ultimate. Just a year later, we still have those first three boats in our garage, along with three more used boats we’ve bought since then, and four we’ve borrowed from other people. We’ve made some great friends of paddlers since then. We kind of felt like this year’s Demo Day was a sort of anniversary for us.


This year’s event was bigger and better than last year’s, I think. Hayduke kicked it off by cheerfully knocking me down and dragging me down a slick rock and into the cold lake. He does love water, but that was a little ridiculous, and I told him so, and he didn’t care about my opinion at all. Continue reading “2013 OOO Demo Day”

OHT: Section 4 (Part 1)

Britt’s backpack has been around since the mid-eighties. Someday I want to sit down and write out a memoir for that pack. It may have gone on more good trips than I’ll see in my lifetime. A replacement internal-frame pack in Britt’s size has been found and ordered, so this was the old pack’s last trip. It wasn’t dangerous or exciting, as some of its earlier trips were. But it had one last long weekend in the woods with good friends and clear skies and a bright moon, and I hope that was enough.

2013 01 22 Britts Pack

We began our walk at Lick Branch, where we’d left off hiking a couple of months ago. The trail was level for a bit before beginning a long, slow, all-afternoon climb. Our camping spot was perfect, on a flat spot just above a tumbling bluffline of big sandstone blocks, and a barred owl called through the woods as we set up. We never saw the owl, but he sounded close enough to touch. Worn out, I went to bed right after supper. Continue reading “OHT: Section 4 (Part 1)”

The OHT Project: Section 3

One of our favorite long-term projects is the goal of hiking the whole Ozark Highlands Trail with our friends Britt and Debbie. We figure that if we do one section each spring and one section each autumn, we’ll be finished by the time Mandy graduates from high school. We missed last spring, so we’re one chunk behind, but we’ll try to make it up soon. This fall, we hiked Section 3, from Cherry Bend (on the Pig Trail) over Hare Mountain through Indian Creek, to Lick Branch.

2012 11 08 OHT Section 3 Map

It had been a busy week, so we decided to stay home on Friday night and just leave bright and early Saturday morning for the trail. We picked up the apparently obligatory giant sandwiches at the Turner Bend store before dropping Mandy, Debbie, Hayduke and I off at the trailhead so that Bryan and Britt could run shuttle. We picked up trash and cut up old yucky orange vests to pin to our packs. (It’s the first week of gun season here in Arkansas, a fact that we somehow overlooked when choosing this particular weekend to hike.)

Continue reading “The OHT Project: Section 3”

Sylamore Trail

After a disappointingly short and rainy backpack trip on Buckeye Mountain, our young friend Monkey was eager to try another, more pleasant backpacking trip. We wiggled our schedule around a bit and worked in a weekend trip to the Sylamore Trail, one of my most favorite autumn hikes in Arkansas.

The stretch of the Sylamore between Barkshed and Gunner Pool is about five miles of really neat hiking. For the most part, the trail runs along the bluff well above the creek. In the spring and fall it’s a nice hike, but when the leaves are down there are some really great views through the bare trees down to the pools and ripples of Sylamore Creek. Some of the trail runs under overhanging limestone bluffs and through big weathered breakdown chunks. Continue reading “Sylamore Trail”

New Years Hike

Happy New Year! The last supper of 2011 was Jarion’s excellent steak and veggies, eaten by the light of a camp lantern on a picnic table. We spent the last night of 2011 in a tent near the top of Mount Magazine. It’s a windy, windy place.
We were up early, in the cold. Jarion had lost the lighter the night before, so I loaded up the early risers to obtain a replacement (and coffee) at the Lodge. Then we drove back to camp for pancakes and eggs and sausage before loading up the dogs and the gear and driving back down the mountain.

Continue reading “New Years Hike”