Couple Hours on the River

Turned out to be a beautiful day for kayaking. Loaded up early and headed up the Gorge for a couple hours of paddling. Was cool and rather bright for a gray day. Not another boat on the river as far as I could see.

Could tell I had not done much over the winter as my kayak caluses have all gone and I ended up with some hotspots but no actual blisters.

And, saw a new bird today, the Canvas Back Duck – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canvasback

A male hanging with three females. They did not seem to mind me at all as I passed by.

All in all it was a wonderful outing.

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Its a Long Winter

I am afraid it has been a long winter. I put on some (a lot!) weight and my motivation kind of went out the window… into the rain and gray.

I’ve done no kayaking and very little hiking over the last six months.

Well, that is changing. I am down 13 lbs and continuing to lose weight. I am feeling better and more spry. We purchased an Elliptical and as soon as this nasty cold is done I am getting back on the thing to get into shape for Spring and Summer adventures.

I did not like the 303 lbs that I was carrying around and now at 290, I am feeling better already. A couple personal goals for me over the next few months.

– Get down in weight to about 265 and build back up some lean muscle.
– Build up my endurance in my upper and lower body
– Finally get my Passport before April.
– Learn more about kayaking. Take some classes and go to the ocean.

I also want to continue to refit my kayak and hope that I can encourage Autumn to maybe come along on some simple day trips.

I am anxious to get out backpacking again and I know the more fit I become, the more fun I will have on the trail. I missed my window for Eagle Cap Wilderness last Fall, so that is high on my list of outings this season.

So, with that, I hope I am back here more often. I have a lot of support from my family and am really looking forward to getting out for some adventures.

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Elk Meadows

Late getting this up here, but I posted the pictures from my solo (with Anubis…) trip to the SE section of Mt Hood. Camped in Elk Meadow and explored Gnarl Ridge all the way up to the timberline trail. It was wonderful! Check out the pics on my photo page.

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Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…

One of my goals for my 50th year is to learn to roll my Kayak. I have been practicing, but I just can’t get it so now I think it is time to try finding an instructor who can help.

Here are some of the resources I have been using on the web:

http://www.creativepursuits.net/kayaking.htm

http://www.nigelkayaks.com/983/159901.html

http://vimeo.com/5208125

Lots more out there I am sure but I think with my height and weight, it might be a good idea to grab myself an instructor.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  🙂

 

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Hiking

“I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, “A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”
– John Muir, quoted by Albert Palmer

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Adventure…

Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world.

The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it.

Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both.

This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.
~Mark Jenkins

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Birthday Paddle

We finally had a break in the weather this last Saturday (4.21.12)and I took the boat up the Columbia River Gorge for a birthday solo paddle. Stopped for lunch on a lovely little sandy island named… wait for it… “Sand Island”. After watching the Ospreys fish while I ate my lunch, along with a celebratory Black Butte Porter, I hiked over the island to find this sign facing away from me toward the main channel.

As luck would have it, I had the place to myself and encountered no actual “wildlife”…

sign

Wildlife Sign

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Safety First!

So I ordered some “Self Rescue” straps from Seaward Kayaks up in Canada and they came last week. I got them fitted to the boat, right behind the cockpit. I took some time to remove the deck bungees, which were rather worn, from that area and paint it with Rustoleum Truck Bed Spray.

The kit was very easy to install and you can see from the photos how it all came out. I will be pulling the black bungee off and replacing it with new lines in red which should be very nice when it’s all complete.

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And a rainy day project…

I have this great love for VW Westfalias. The ones between about 1975 and 80 really appeal to me. Jess and I owned a 76 westie named “Hobbes” due to its German Marigold Yellow paintjob. I loved that van but when we moved in 1995 and he went to a very nice young couple in Corvallis.

So, with that bit of history out of the way and us back in the PNW 17 years later, I would love to have another VW, but evidently they are hugely popular and really expensive now.

Instead I am opting to outfit my 2002 Xterra for more camping adventures. While digging around the web for more info I ran across a great project site called “Compact Camping Concepts”.  The site has some really neat ideas about how to make car-camping more interesting. I am particularly enamored of the DIY Explorer Box and have ordered a set of plans from the company so I can take a more in-depth look at building one.

I think it may be a great project to start on during all this rain!!  I’ll start up a build thread here when I get ready to move forward on the construction.

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Rain rain rain

I have been managing to get out occasionally. But the Columbia and all her tributary rivers are running very high. The water is looking like the chocolate river from Willie Wonka.

So, I am still modding the kayak. My latest is adding a water ballast system behind the cockpit. It is constructed around a 10 Liter MSR Dromedary Bag held to the hull with NorthWater’s Bladder Anchor System.

I’ll post some pics of the setup (and a bit more detail)  a bit later but for now its amazing how much less “twitchy” the kayak is even in minor waves.  I am so pleased that I have offset that problem!!

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