Friday, August 29, 2008

Another Busy Weekend

There are people who paddle, and then there are paddlers. I’m not talking about skill; both may be equally skilled, though the paddler is certainly more practiced. The paddler is someone who is passionate about it, it is a priority, and they paddle often. It can be for sport and fitness, or relaxation and fun. I’m a paddler.

I think about it, plan it, blog about it, I do it. It’s something that makes me feel good. Paddling puts a smile on my face every time, it seems to relieve me of the stress and troubles of everyday life, at least for a short period of time. I absolutely love it. Fitting it in is not always easy, I'm generally pretty busy, sometimes it's a real challenge, often a sacrifice and compromise.

Today I left the house early for a 12 miler, I'll not have time to get any paddling in over the weekend. There were few on the lake, as it was a weekday and schools are back in session. Today was about fitness and strength, I needed to feel myself working hard, getting into that rhythm, emptying my mind. It was a great morning workout. I'm glad I could fit it in. I’m glad I had the time to go long.

Now it’s off to Louisville Kentucky. I’m going to be there for my son Alan, cheering him on as he does the Louisville Ironman Triathlon. I’ll be a little sad and disappointed that I had to drop out, but it’ll be okay, I wouldn’t miss being there for him for the world. And I suspect when I’m watching the swim, I’ll be thinking not of swimming so much as paddling that River anyway.

Good luck Alan and Adam, another great adventure and challenge.

Note to my Mom:
Mom, if you want to follow Alan in real time on the Internet during the race on Sunday, go here, it's Adam's blog and it'll explain what you need to do.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend Float

Yes, it was a weekend paddling and camping trip down the Lumber River, but it was also much much more.

The Lumber River flows through the south-central portion of North Carolina starting as Downing Creek, and flowing into South Carolina eventually joining the Little Pee Dee River. The Lumber River is 115 miles of natural waterways, 81 miles of which are also designated national wild and scenic waters.
Some of our group of 13 started on Friday at the Princess Ann access, most (including me) joined Saturday morning at Fair Bluffs for the weekend and the remaining 16 mile float into South Carolina down this tea (tannin) colored black river.

We had all manner of craft, solo canoes, double canoes, rec kayaks, sea kayaks, and my Kruger canoe.

This was a social paddle. Our group of paddlers were as diverse as our craft, three Hungarians, a bunch of Garner natives, and some Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill folk. When we weren't paddling, we were camping on the beautiful sandbars along the River, and enjoying a canoe laden buffet feast.

A wonderful weekend, this video made by Eva and Thomas really gives you a feel for our weekend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Paddler

We had a great group paddling and camping at Jordan Lake last weekend. Saturday night after the cookout we paddled out and met up with another 20 paddlers to enjoy the rising of the full moon. Later that night, I camped on the 'Dawn Patrol' for the first time (our Core Sound 20 sailboat pictured above).

This weekend, I'm off again. It's another paddling/camping trip, this time on the Lumber River, a first for me. It looks to be the perfect venue for taking my Kruger Dreamcatcher.

I'm a happy paddler.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Full Moon Weekend

I'm off to spend the full moon weekend kayaking and camping with friends on Jordan Lake.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back on the Water

I'm still getting over my summer cold, after a couple of weeks it was diagnosed as RAD (reactive airway disease), an asthma like condition. A quick business/vacation trip to Denver last weekend with it's high altitude likely didn't help. I'll probably be coughing for another couple of weeks. Getting old really sucks.

This weekend I finally felt well enough to get back on the lake. Kristen (KiwiBird), Dee, and I planned an early Sunday morning paddle. I'd been so long without exercise that I decided to go out Saturday morning for a short paddle just to see if I could. Nothing to worry about. Saturday was absolutely beautiful and I met up with Valerie on the beach and we visited and had a great paddle for a couple of hours, and even spotted quite a few large Bald Head Eagles.

Sunday morning I arrived at the lake to thunder and rain. Dee was a no show (she likely checked the weather radar before leaving her house), and Kristen and I decided to ignore it, feeling pretty sure the storm was well to our South, and rain wouldn't stop us.

The afternoon before, Paul had helped me drill those first holes into my new kayak to set up my Pacific Action Sail for our paddle. I also took out the original back band and added this new seat back in my Explorer. I absolutely love it. No sailing today tough, the day continued to be drizzly and overcast with no real wind to speak of.

Halfway back we visited for a few minutes with a large group of paddling friends from the local paddling Meetup Club. They were paddling a 15 miler, training for their annual marathon paddle (26.2 miles) on Falls Lake, September 13. Another reason I needed to get back paddling, I'm planning on joining them for this marathon, and have a reputation to maintain.

In the end, Kristen and I actually finished 15 miles, starting at 8am and finishing up about 11:30am, and made plans to do the Suwanee River Challenge on October 11th (if there is enough water in the River). This annual challenge is a 52 mile race from Fargo, Georgia to White Springs, Florida, and includes Big Shoals, the only class 3 rapid in Florida. This will be a revisit for me, as I paddled this section during my WaterTribe Ultimate Challenge, the 1200 mile circumnavigation around Florida race in 2006.

Unfortunately neither of us remembered to bring a camera today, so no pics to go with this posting.