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!

How boats are made

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)

Lower Big Piney

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”

Ice Water School

wpid4060-20130506-Whitewater-School-IMGP0283.jpg

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”

Seven Boats on the Buffalo

We thought that Monkey ought to be able to paddle her new boat the day after she bought it, and we thought that her dad might like to go with her. The Buffalo River wouldn’t challenge the girls much and it certainly wasn’t the ‘funnest’ place for a new playboat, but it was a place where Mitch and Jarion and Kathy could paddle comfortably. And who doesn’t love a trip to the Buffalo? No matter who you are or what you’re paddling, the Buffalo is beautiful.

IMG_2402

We met at eight and loaded up Jarion’s trailer with all seven of the boats. We headed off, disorganized and inefficient as usual, with stops to buy groceries and gas and to pee and to run shuttle. We managed to get on the water at the crack of 2pm. Continue reading “Seven Boats on the Buffalo”

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.

wpid3933-20130407-OOO-Demo-Day-2.jpg

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”

MWA Kayak Slalom 2013

Every spring, the Missouri Whitewater Association hosts a slalom event on the St. Francis River in Missouri. In kayak (or canoe) slalom, boaters race downriver through ‘gates’, which are really sets of two poles hung from wires strung above the water. Green striped gates should be paddled through heading downstream. Red striped gates have to be passed heading upstream. Racers are timed from start to finish. Missing a gate entirely incurs a 50-second penalty; each pole touched adds a 5-second penalty.

wpid3879-20130309-MWA-Slalom-002.jpg

I don’t remember how Mandy heard about the MWA Whitewater Championships, but she wanted to try it. We’d never been to the St. Francis before. Bryan and I, always suckers for a good road trip, were agreeable. Continue reading “MWA Kayak Slalom 2013”

Winter on the Water

It’s been cold, but thanks to drysuits and neoprene and excellent long johns, we’ve been paddling anyway. Late in January, we were invited to join a small group to paddle on the quiet water of Bayou DeView, from Hickson Lake to Apple Lake. It was a gray day and my mood matched the weather, but it was still good to be outside. We ate lunch on Whiskey Island, and Debo ‘adopted’ a too-thin, sad little snake, packing it carefully in a dry box for the trip back to the truck. (Note: A month later, the little snake’s eating goldfish like they’re going out of style. He’s fat and healthy now and he’ll go back home to Whiskey Island sometime in the spring.)

Blog Swamp Painting

The more we thought about creek paddling, the more Bryan and I thought we should get Crash a helmet with more face protection. She’s never had the least little problem with wearing helmets, and agreed that she’d appreciate headgear that might help her keep all her teeth and jawbones in the same place. We asked around and did a little research, and just when we’d decided on a ShredReady, and Bryan found one on sale. The new helmet arrived on our doorstep right beside a nice big rainstorm that brought the creeks up. But Mandy’s grades weren’t great, and we wouldn’t let her skip school. She was stuck at home, wearing her new helmet in the kitchen, watching videos, while her friends paddled Richland Creek. Continue reading “Winter on the Water”