Sunday, June 29, 2008

Long paddle, long day

There was a paddling event that happened out in Fountainhead, a local park that is part of the reservoir system. Meaning no swimming, alas as it was a very hot day with no clouds, the sun seemed relentless. Good thing for sun block, although I did miss a few spots close to my shirt line. I'll have some interesting tan lines after this. We were a fairly large group with different levels but we all managed to paddle about 11 miles according to the final GPS reading. GPS being operated by the ever interesting cigar smoking paddler. While we had shown up expecting a shorter paddle, we did do the full 11 miles. Afterwards we collapsed in an exhausted heap and didn't move for 2 hours. Then off we went to a white water evening social paddle.

Call us crazy but we somehow found the energy for another 2 hours of paddling. We started just goofing off in the boats on the flat part of the river but decided we had had enough of flat water and quickly paddled over to some moving water at the Maryland chutes. After learning how to enter and leave the current without flipping, we then started rolling in the current. It is good practice to say the least. It was certainly less forbidding after doing it a few times. Looks like both our rolls are in good shape. Wish I had some pics of the event, but alas no one had a camera. Hopefully next time.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

I'm published again!!

I have been trying to write articles on backpacking and how to chose gear that is trip appropriate. I now have 4 articles up at Associated Content and hope to have more up as soon as I can find more time to write. I thought I would have some time on my business trip up to NY but this has been a much busier trip then the last ones were. My face page can be found here, and that page links to all the articles I have written. It is also possible to get an rss feed or subscribe for updates. This site is pretty cool and while I haven't made a ton of money it is nice to start working on something that I can grow.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

White water kayaking

I had a chance to try some white water kayaking. My boyfriend organized the class and someone dropped at the last minute so he squeezed me into the slot. He also went out but with a group of friends as we went on on the class last weekend. He is so sweet! This was a beginner level class meaning they assume you have no skills. But since this was a group lesson, they tailored the class to our skills which was nice. I normally do sea or touring kayaking, I have a very nice 18 foot kayak that is about 20 inches across. I don't have to fight to hard to get the kayak to go straight. Now the white water kayak on the other hand was about 6 feet long and about 25 inches across maybe more. And very flat on the bottom. I really had to focus on doing correct stokes or I would send the boat around in circles. It was lots of fun to play in the white water kayak as it is very responsive to little stroke changes.

They had everyone do a wet exit from the kayak, which is basically you flipping over the kayak then pushing yourself out. So at this point everyone is wet. It was a very hot day so I think everyone was grateful to be wet. Once everyone was mostly used to moving the boat around we started learning sweep strokes to change direct then bracing to help stay upright in turbulence. The group split up after that with one group learning rolling and the rest were going to go run an eddy line. Most of the group did not make it past the first current area so the group of 6 dropped to 2 plus one instructor. I made it up past the current line. Further upstream the 2 of us plus the instructor worked briefly on rolling and bracing a little more. My roll was good. and off we went.

Running the eddy line was really scary at first. When you see it and watch someone go over it I had to wonder how I was going to make it. I didn't make it the first time but I did roll back up. The other guy didn't make it but he didn't flip either. I didn't make it the second time but my roll was really getting good. The other guy flipped and decided to wait for us on land so he could rest. I did make it over the eddy line on the third run then flipped again on the forth try and rolled back up. I decided I was too tired to try again and I got a little water up in my sinuses so I was done. But I was very happy that I seem to have a very good roll in a white water boat under moving water conditions.

I was so happy that my boyfriend managed to get me in. He seemed to enjoy hearing about how the class went. The instructors were telling him how some of his group were really good and pointed me out. He had to fess up that I had been paddling flat water for a while now and had most of the skills down. I think he was flattered though. They were surprised to find that I had never done white water before.

It was a long day and I have found out that white water kayaking is very exhausting. I think I got a better night sleep after spending about 3 hours on the water with the class. I think the sun and heat also played a role in that. I used spf 45 and didn't get any colour on me. Might be worth dropping down to 30 just to get a little colour. I am white as a ghost. It is a little scary.

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