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!

Rec School 2013

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.

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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”

Ice Water School

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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”

Safety Season

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.

CPR Feet 2

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”

Rendezvous!

I’ve been sick, sick, sick. But the Arkansas Canoe Club’s big annual camp out and get-together was this past weekend, and Bryan and Mandy wanted to go.

Rendezvous is held every year at Camp Couchdale, the state FFA organization’s big event center on Lake Catherine. The facilities are pretty nice (though bathrooms seem a little slim) and there are bunkhouses for those who want them, and there’s plenty of room to camp between buildings. I arrived first and chose a campsite between the buildings and the very edge of the lake, sure that it would be dark and quiet. Continue reading “Rendezvous!”

Paddling School

This year, since we just bought boats, we decided to enroll in the ACC’sSchool of Recreational Paddling.’ In order to feel useful (I like to feel useful) I wrote this article about it for Arkansas Outside. Rather than writing a separate blog post about Rec School, I’m just going to plagiarize my own work and cut and paste it here.The Arkansas Canoe Club is about forty years old, and they’ve organized training weekends for thirty-seven of those years – Canoe School evolved into Whitewater School, and then about ten years ago they began offering a Recreational School as well. That experience shows in the really good programs the club puts together. Those good at organizing organize. Other paddlers work to be certified instructors, and they teach the classes. Experienced boaters who are trained and comfortable with safety hang toward the back of the groups, and are available to help students with fitting issues and one-on one instruction. These are people who love what they do, and further, they’re GOOD at it.

Continue reading “Paddling School”