The Arkansas Canoe Club ran this years First Timers trip on the Cossatot River and here is a link to a gallery of photos I took… http://ourpasttents.com/galleries/2014-cossatot-first-timers-trip
This is a placeholder post… hopefully I’ll write more soon.
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 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!
Ever wonder how modern canoes and kayaks are made? We did, so we went in search of a few videos and figured we’d share them here.
It seems like most kayaks are made by rotomolding though one or two companies blowmold them… most canoes are made of Royalex and are made by vacuum forming but this material won’t be manufactured after spring 2014… SOME canoes (mainly the more modern/short whitewater canoes like those made by Blackfly and Esquif), are made by rotomolding… and Mohawk Canoes is working on a blowmolding process for their new whitewater canoe.
How to make a kayak – rotomolding (Liquidlogic)
How to make a kayak – rotomolding (Jackson)
How to make a kayak – blowmolding (Prijon)
Royalex vacuum molding – (Novacraft)
The canoe club starts out each year with a float on the Little Maumelle River. Mandy took some photos and wrote an article for Arkansas Outside about this year’s trip. You can read it here: Happy Canoe Year!
You can also read other articles written by Mandy.
If my graduation trip to the Grand Canyon is going to work well, Bryan and I ought to have some idea about how oar rafts work. One pretty afternoon, our friend Debo offered to show us how to row one of their rafts. I sort of understood the way the raft worked but had a hard time getting my arms to work well with my brain in order to make it go where I wanted it to go. I could get it down the river ok, and I could turn it in circles in the middle of the river, but actually catching eddies along the sides of the stream were really more than I could figure out.
Bryan did better than me in the ‘how to make this thing go where I want it to’ department, but his big advantage is that he has about twelve times more upper body strength than I do, so he was able to row longer and harder and actually get the boat to behave better than I was. My primary job for the last two thirds of the trip was taking pictures and jumping up and down on the air-filled raft in order to make people laugh at me.
As is the case on most summer weekend afternoons, when we got to Rockport we found lots of friends in lots of boats. As fun as it is to play at Rockport, it’s just as much fun to watch others work on surfing and tricks at the ledge. People in rental canoes and flotillas of tubers wander down and through the group, too, and on a good day there are extra boats around – rafts and duckies and standup paddleboards to play with.
I’d wanted to take Cowper’s Star raft for another trip down the river, but I should have known better – there were games to play. Tanya Sacomani and I helped paddle the raft into a hole where we were able to park it for awhile, the upstream motion of the wave holding us steady against the downstream motion of the river current. We pulled cans of beer out of our pfds and drank them as the boat pitched and Bryan took pictures.
Usually, a trip to Rockport means an afternoon in the water followed by a long supper with friends at some area Mexican place, and this day wasn’t any different. Sure, we could save time by making the half-hour drive to the ledge, staying for an hour or two, and then driving straight back home. But we never, ever do. It’s funny how these trips have become just as much about the friends as about the boats and the water.
Bryan planned a perfect birthday trip for me. It was completely ridiculous and vaguely useful, and it sounded like a ton of fun.
Someone had found a jonboat pinned in a spot halfway through a ten-mile stretch of Cadron Creek, and we were going to go unpin it and get it out. It was far from simple: We’d need to put together a group of people to float down to the boat, then get the boat loose from the current that was pushing it up against a large rock in the middle of the creek. We’d need to take a kit of rope and webbing and pulleys to unpin the boat. We’d need to take a motor with us so that if the thing would float, we could ‘drive’ it a few more miles downstream to a takeout. Continue reading “Birthday Boat Recovery”
Once upon a time, a bunch of friends wanted to go paddling. They scoured the land for a river that was not too dull for the skilled paddlers in the group and not too difficult for the rank newcomers. They found themselves beset by many obstacles. Many of the potential paddlers did not have the gear for the journey, and those who had gear to loan lacked space for it in or on their trusty Subaru steed. One of their number fell by the wayside, while others joined the expedition at the last-minute. Despite the challenges the group faced, through careful planning and preparation, they managed to get to their destination – the Lower Piney – unscathed.
Our group convened at a handy McDonald’s in Conway. All together we had our family, Mitch and Rachel, Chris, and Cole in two vehicles when we left lunch. Yes, lunch. A late float is often a better float. Continue reading “Lower Big Piney”
Last year, our trip to the ACC’s School of Recreational Kayaking was our first real instruction in boating. Mandy was out of town, so she missed it, but Bryan and I spent the weekend in our first kayaks, the LiquidLogic XPs, and we learned a lot. This year, we approached the school in a much different way. We’ve all become much better paddlers in the last year, but there’s still a tremendous amount to learn. Bryan pitched in as a ‘safety boater’ for one of the basic kayak classes; I borrowed a whitewater canoe and enrolled in the canoe class.
Mandy’s back kept us from making a decision about what she’d do for the weekend. At the last minute, she got the blessing of her new orthopedic doctor. He had some concerns about the body position required by a kayak – her hamstrings are very tight, which puts her lower back in a strained position – so he suggested a little time in a canoe. On very short notice, she borrowed a Spanish Fly from our friend Cole. She had a great weekend getting to know a new boat. Continue reading “Rec School 2013”
We’ve been looking forward to Whitewater School since we started paddling with the Arkansas Canoe Club. As the class got closer and closer, we got more and more excited. Camping! In May! On the Mulberry River! With friends! It sounded like a great weekend. We like to paddle, and we like to learn stuff, and that was just going to make it better.
But then it was the week before class, and we couldn’t help but notice that the forecast predicted lows in the thirties for the weekend. And rain. Camping and paddling started sounding somewhat less appealing. Continue reading “Ice Water School”
Our first year in the Arkansas Canoe Club has been a good one. We’ve been impressed with their emphasis on teaching and on safety. They organize two big ‘schools’ every year – the whitewater school and the recreational paddling school (which we attended last year). Less highly publicized are tons of training opportunities for the people who teach at those events, and for others in the club. There are workshops and certification for kayak teachers, and canoe instructors. There are rescue classes at different levels.
This culture of knowledge and safety is something we’ve really benefited from. Our family wouldn’t have had the good start we did without those educational opportunities. We’ve felt pretty safe pushing ourselves a little bit, knowing that the people around us are well trained will be able to fish us out of the water if we need help. We think it’s very, very cool to be part of something that feels so committed to keeping people safe.
This spring, we had a chance to take a CPR/AED course from UAMS, without charge to us – the classes were sponsored by the canoe club. Now all three of us are certified CPR people. We have cards and everything. And we feel a lot more confident about actually providing help to someone in distress, instead of just standing nearby and looking concerned.
Continue reading “Safety Season”