Friday, February 17, 2017

SHAPE UP! THREE WAYS TO STAY PADDLING SHAPE IN THE OFF SEASON


BY OUTSIDE ADVENTURE TO THE MAX GUEST BLOGGER PETE DELOSA

I’ve met kayakers who could not paddle for a year or even longer and then one day roll off the couch and do some of the hardest class V runs around. For most of us however, that is not the case. It’s been tough in California the past couple winters. We haven’t had much water and even our staple run, the SF American, has gone down to only one day a week releases. Then when we do get a little rain and everything runs people aren’t ready. A lot of folks choose not to go on their old favorites like Chamberlain Falls or E to P because they feel like they haven’t been paddling enough. Some other folks go anyway and some of them end up having a rough time instead of the enjoyable day on the river they were hoping for. Despite the scarcity of water, there are ways to keep yourself in paddling shape so you can be ready when the goods do run. Here are a few things that I do to help me stay in good paddling shape while there’s no water.

  • Low water gorge laps on the South Fork. It can be a little boat abusive in a couple spots but most of the rapids provide fun lines that offer great practice at tight technical moves. The moves can be challenging but there is hardly any current so if you do run into trouble you don’t have to worry about being swept away on a long and unpleasant swim. As and added bonus, you’re likely to have the river to yourselves for the day. There is never a crowd on low water days.
  • Touring and Sea Kayaking. Lake Tahoe is amazing in the winter on a calm day. It’s like paddling on a mirror and there is a good chance you’ll be the only one on the lake. This beautiful setting is a great place to work on your forward stroke and your paddling endurance. Paddling is paddling, and the strokes you take on the lake will benefit you when you get back on the river. If Tahoe is a little too far, Lake Natoma and the San Francisco Bay are also great spots to get a quick after work paddle in. You don’t have to do hours on end to get the benefits. A 30 to 60 minute trip around the shore once or twice a week will have you in great shape when the rivers do run again.
  • Paddle Boarding. Any of the afore mentioned locations are great to paddle board as well. Paddle boarding provides excellent cross training and really forces you to develop core stability. That improved core strength will pay off huge when you get back on white water.

Don’t let yourself be caught unprepared the next time your favorite run comes in. Make a little time in your week to get out there and dip a paddle in the water. When that rain comes you will be glad you did.

California based kayaker Pete Delosa is a member of Team Pyranha and sponsored by Immersion Research. You can catch up with Pete on his blog River-Bum.com and watch his videos on You-Tube
Outside Adventure to the Max is always looking for guest bloggers. Contact us at Nickayak@gmail.com if you are interested.

Friday, February 10, 2017

OVER THE BOW: LAKE CLEMENTINE

Photo by Gareth Tate
The might and power of water are on display once again this winter as another series of storms blow through California dumping rain and snow across the state's northern tier.
A large portion of the Oroville Dam Spillway unexpectedly eroded away during this week's rain Department of Water Resources employees noticed pieces of concrete during a water release from Lake Oroville, the release was halted and water officials discovered about 200 to 300 feet of the spillway disappeared. Officials say Lake Oroville has enough storage to handle storms over the next three days. There is no imminent danger to the public

Meanwhile, the flow out of the Nimbus Dam was increased to 15,000 cubic feet of water per second earlier this week and is scheduled to more than double  to 35,000 cubic feet per second from Lake Natoma by the end this week. 
"The increased releases are based on changing conditions and are necessary to maintain space in Folsom Reservoir for projected Sierra runoff," the Bureau of Reclamation said in a news release. "Current storage in the reservoir is around 158 percent of its 15 year average for December."
Low-lying portions of the American River Parkway will likely be closed for second time this winter, due to flooding, along with the Campus Commons golf course and Discovery Park.

At the rain-swollen Lake Clementine near Auburn the cascade over the North Fork Dam roars like a mini-Niagara Falls of aquatic force echoing through the canyon and drawing river watchers like Gareth Tate.  

"After seeing the amount of overflow going over the dam," wrote Truckee based photographer and kayaker, Tate in an email to Outside Adventure to the Max, "I decided to take out my drone and go for a flight. Quite a beautiful perspective of this rare scene."

The lake, is a four-mile long and narrow waterway in the popular Auburn State Recreation Area, fed by the North Fork American River. It was formed in 1939 when the Army Corps of Engineers built the dam to prevent gold mining debris from flowing downstream. A short hike upstream from the 730-foot-tall Foresthill Bridge, the highest bridge in California, the lake is popular for boaters and water-skiers during the summer months. However, like many of state's flooded water ways this winter visiting the lake is not advised till the water resides.

"Although the flooding can be damaging," wrote Tate, "It is hard not to feel a sense of relief for California with this record breaking snow and rain season. My fingers stay crossed that temps will stay cold for the rest of the storms this year so that the water can stay stored as snow and released gradually but after the last few years it is awesome to see the rivers so full."


video


You can check out more about Gareth Tate and images and videos on Facebook

Over the Bow is a feature from Outside Adventure to the Max, telling the story behind the image. If you have a great picture with a great story, submit it to us at nickayak@gmail.com

Friday, February 3, 2017

TRUMP RAPIDS

Trump Rapids by Debbie Klenzman
We are all paddling down an uncharted course. It all started with a little rough water and around the bend we hear the giant roar of raging rapids. We think to paddle to the the safe side, but there is no safe side. We back paddle hoping and fighting to go upstream, but the current is just to strong and pulls us to the abyss. There is no turning back, we are swept over the falls, hoping for the best and   hoping to survive.

That is what these last couple of weeks have seemed like to me across the United States. Almost immediately upon taking office, President Donald Trump has begun fulfilling his campaign promises of gutting, targeting its spending and planning to halt much of its work, along with trying to silence his critics on global warming and muzzling staff at the national parks. He has put the long-debated Keystone XL pipeline back on track and signed executive actions to begin cracking down on border security, including a travel ban and building a border wall with Mexico.

"I will build a great wall -- and nobody builds walls better than me," Trump said during his candidacy announcement speech in June 2015,  "Believe me --and I'll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."

"We have also come because of the looming atrocity that might well occur down here under the Trump reign " wrote Alan Kesselheim in op-ed piece for Canoe & Kayak' Online, "Who knows what stupid shenanigans will take place along this fraught and contentious border country full of history, skirmish, war, culture clash, and complication that Trump thinks a wall will take care of. A big, beautiful wall, he says, that Mexico will pay for." 

Courtesy of NPS

Last December, Kesselheim and company took their red tandem canoe along a muddy stretch of the Rio Grande River downstream of Big Bend National Park,  known as the Lower Canyons in place he calls loneliest river miles on the continent. Deep inside canyon walls climbing 1,5,000 feet, Kesselheim found what describes as haunting beauty, but at times focused on the purposed border wall.
  
"The specter of it forms the backdrop for our lovely holiday journey. It shadows all the spectacular side canyons we walk up, all the rapids we run, all the springs we drink from, sours the company of all the wildlife we see going back and forth. Hour after hour, day on day, our red canoe rides the currents of water eddying back and forth between arbitrary borders on a map. Mile after mile we marvel at the true beauty of canyon walls rising sheer out of the river – intimidating, harsh, craggy, lovely walls, courtesy of Mother Nature"

Courtesy of NPS

The length of the border with Mexico is 1,954 miles, as defined by the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission. The land border stretches 675 miles, while the length of the border along the Colorado River and Rio Grande is 1,279 miles. Trump said construction on his highest-profile campaign promise would begin in months. On his journey down river Kesslheim, says he asked every single person from shuttle driver to ranch worker, from park employee to waitress to hotel owner what they think of the wall. And while many admitted to voting for Trump, most thought the wall was "a really stupid idea," and that it should never happen.

 "Don’t get me started on the complications involved in building this stupid barrier, or the short-sighted, myopic cluelessness of it. Minor matters like the logistics of actually constructing a 2,000-mile, impenetrable wall along a border as environmentally intimidating as ours with Mexico. Or the mind-boggling cost of such a project and the very good possibility that it won’t work anyway. Then there are the thorns of history that still fester centuries later along that border. And don’t forget the native peoples’ claims to land and culture that predates our occupation. If we really want to talk about entitlement, let’s talk to some Apache."

It seems from Alaska to Florida our public lands and waterways are in under threat. Last week, in one of a number of high-profile orders, Trump also instituted a ninety-day hiring freeze across the executive branch, a heavy blow to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and other chronically short-staffed agencies.

Courtesy of NPS
While this week U.S. House of Representatives introduced a resolution to dismantle the Stream Protection Rule. Members of Congress are using the Congressional Review Act to take aim at the rule, finalized by the Department of the Interior in December 2016, which safeguards streams from pollution created by mountaintop removal and surface coal mining. The House passed a resolution, 228-194 and the Senate to approved the resolution  sending it to the President’s desk.
The Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said the stream rule, introduced in the dying days of Barack Obama’s administration, “unfairly targets coal jobs.”
Environmentalists say surface coal mining has devastated thriving natural ecosystems and entire communities like those in Central Appalachia. The Stream Protection Rule modernized existing regulations. National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) Senior Director of Water Policy Chad Lord says, Congress is taking a troubling step backwards by dismantling this rule that protect the small businesses and families that depend on clean water. This what he said in statement released by the NPCA.

"The Stream Protection Rule would prevent toxic pollution produced by mining operations from harming waterways. These are the same waterways that people hike by or paddle on in national parks including Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Bluestone National Scenic River and New River Gorge National River. Will Americans continue to want to visit these national park sites and spend millions of dollars in surrounding communities each year, if polluted waterways greet them upon arrival? Rather than blocking these important policies, Congress should work to ensure our national parks and surrounding communities have the clean waters they deserve."

So as fears and setbacks swirl in the rapids of President Donald Trump and Congress'  environmentally unfriendly rhetoric, environmentalists and naturalists are sounding the alarms from the mountains and rivers they have sworn to protect. Columnist Wes Siler wrote this in Outside Online.

"Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House. Along with the Republican Party’s reign in Congress, will be an unmitigated disaster for the environment. A witch hunt is already underway for federal employees who support the science of climate change. Protections for the 640 million acres of public land you and I own in this country are already being stripped away. Oil and gas extraction on public land is expected to be deregulated, and even coal—a heavily polluting, inefficient energy source the market has rendered obsolete—may see reinvestment."

The Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune also released the following statement:

“This a pathetic marketing scheme by Donald Trump, not a way to run a country. The Presidency is not like QVC - letting this polluter-packed administration pick off vitally important clean air and clean water safeguards in a fire sale will do nothing less than put lives at risk. What this means is that for every restriction on immigration or tax break for big oil companies that is put into place, Donald Trump will also be able to throw out two clean air and clean water safeguards. The safeguards that Trump wants to throw out are those that ensure we can fulfill and implement laws deeply valued by Americans, like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, meaning this shameless pandering is willfully ignorant of Congressional mandates. This is a dangerous, deadly plan to undermine the laws that protect our environment, our workplaces, and our families and Trump should expect fierce resistance.”

Courtesy of NPS

And back on the Rio Grande, Kesslheim looked out over the bends of the quiet river pondering its future and ours.   

"And that’s where we stand today, in the process of confronting just that sort of exclusionary nationalism, symbolized oh so clearly by the ludicrous, impossible, and all too real 2,000-mile wall no one thinks will actually get built but which also empowered Donald Trump’s election..The longer we are in the grasp of that relentless downhill momentum, under the blue dome of winter sky, in the cool shade of looming cliff, in the company of life that never entertains nationalist seduction, the less I feel a part of the recent American enterprise, this vote that just took place, these sentiments shouted in angry arenas. In some fundamental way, I truly can’t fathom that it happened."

Friday, January 27, 2017

SNOW DAY


We are snowbound. The latest leaves are shaken from the oaks and alders; the snow-laden pines, with drooping boughs, look like barbed arrows aimed at the sky, and the fern-tangles and meadows are spread with a smooth cloth of snow. --John Muir

The plan was simple. Drive to a regional park and snowshoe around the lake to view the waterfall above the lake. We had done the same hike many times before, but this time the snow levels in the foothills had dropped as low as Camino, California along Highway 50, making Sly Park and Lake Jenkinson a winter wonderland.

Scottish poet, William Sharp wrote, 'There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature...every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance." Those words described our trip down the highway through the snow covered fores. Each turn of the road our eyes were greeted with dazzling displays of nature reserved only for snow globes and holiday movies.


"A what a difference it makes by covering it with a layer of white." my wife Debbie said as we approached the gates to the park.

But sometimes even the best of plans are melted away. At the park's gate we were met with a reception of park closed and no parking signs. The narrowly plowed road around the edge of the lake didn't even leave an inch of parking space to pull in our pickup. I likened it to finding a river access for my kayak. Great view of the water, but no place to stop to put in. Our trip around the lake would have to wait for springtime and our snowshoe adventure would take place higher up.
    
But Nature is not in a hurry. With God 'a thousand years is as a day.' Suppose you could have been a spirit in one of the past periods of the creation of the world, and that the Archangel Gabriel had taken you to a place' where you could see the earth as it was then covered miles deep with snow and ice, the air still full of swirling snowflakes that seemed to be burying the world forever. --John Muir

Further up Highway 50, we turned left off the highway and over the South Fork of the American River and up Ice House Road, leading to the Crystal Basin Recreation Area. It's the home to many of mountain reservoirs in the western Sierra including one of my favorite's Loon Lake. But, we wouldn't get that far. Our afternoon was getting away from us and we stopped at the first place we could find. It was a cleared away spot to an un-plowed work trail leading to the river. It offered a spectacular view of the snow cover glistening mountains and the canyon below.

“When you go to the mountains, you see them and you admire them," said mountain climber Edmund Hillary. "In a sense, they give you a challenge, and you try to express that challenge by climbing them.”

It was a quick lesson on how to walk again, once we strapped on our snowshoes. Step a little wider and pick up those knees. No dragging my feet, Debbie reminds me,  like I customarily do while out for a stroll.

"Snowshoeing you kind of have to be more centered," said British journalist Laura Clark,  You have to be able to rock from side to side more. Instead of just going forward, it's a little bit of a sideways step to it. You've got these big things on your feet."


Along the ridge, there is the soft silence of nature without the clamor of our urban world filling the winter air. The wind dances across the canopy of trees as we catch sight of a bounding deer leaping through the snow. Looking almost effortless, it flies across the snow kicking up a frosty froth. The only sounds we hear come from the squeaky crunch of our snowshoes and the warm heave of our breaths as we trudge through the deep snow.
 
"That's the trouble of snowshoeing. You have to keep looking down at snowshoes or you'll fall over." Debbie said to me as we stop and looked over the canyon. All around us the mountains and the pines were textured in white. They never looked so magnificent. Looking out she paused like the view had taken her breath away and then said, "And then you miss all the beauty around you."


The glorious crystal sediment was everywhere. From wall to wall of our beautiful temple, from meadow to sky was one finished unit of beauty, one star of equal ray, one glowing sun, weighed in the celestial balances and found perfect.--John Muir

Friday, January 20, 2017

RK1 BASICS

I gave my heart to the mountains the minute I stood beside this river with its spray in my face and watched it thunder into foam, smooth to green glass over sunken rocks, shatter to foam again. I was fascinated by how it sped by and yet was always there; its roar shook both the earth and me.
- Wallace Stegner


"Swimming is part of the sport." said whitewater paddling instructor Dennis Eagan, "Every paddler, even the good ones are in between swims."

That was a shot of reassurance for the class, that everyone starts out the same, paddling skills are learned and developed over time and being able to swim in fast water is always an essential part of whitewater kayaking no matter what your levels of abilities. It's the basis for Whitewater River Kayaking 1 (RK1) with Current Adventures Kayak School and Trips. A class to develop a foundation and skills necessary to paddle fast water. In talking with the class participants, I learned most had some experience with fast water and one had even rafted down the Grand Canyon. However, the reason they were there was to learn the fundamentals by getting back to the basics of paddling.

"I want to do the Grand Canyon next year, " said student Scott Billups, "I've done quite a bit of sea kayaking in Alaska and have a SOT on my sailboat which I use quite a bit for diving and coastal touring. I've always thought that it (whitewater kayaking) would be fun but never lived close enough to whitewater to make it worthwhile. Sea kayaks want to run straight and cover a lot of ground as effortlessly as possible. Whitewater kayaks just want to turn and play."

It was a typical summer weekend on the South Fork of the American River at Henningsen-Lotus Park in Northern California.
Flows and the river traffic were high. It seemed like endless parade of river rafts, kayaks and tubers floating down the stream while we unloaded and fitted the class up with their kayaks. "The fit it really important," Eagan told the students, "You want to be snug and your boat. That is really important. It gives you more control. You want to be snug like the boat is a part of you. Snug but comfortable.

After sliding into their kayaks and into the river, one by one, the students are literally submerged into the world of kayaking with wet exits and bow rescues.

In the bow rescue, Eagan capsizes each student as they hold the bow of another student's boat forming a T and progressively tips the kayak further and further over until they can complete a roll from upside down. Two different skills are practiced by the students, Staying in your kayak while using the support of another kayak to bring you upright and learning stability for the rescuer. Also the students, get a boost of confidence in overcoming the any fears of being upside down underwater. "No issues really." said Billups, "I do a lot of diving and am very comfortable in the water."

The South Fork is known for it's dependable flows of whitewater. Popular rapids like Barking Dog, Troublemaker and Meatgrinder are just some of the rough waters that make the river attractive to the area kayakers. However, on the first day of the class, Eagan started with an easy moving section of the river to introduce some basic paddling strokes and techniques. "Most people do not spend enough time on flat water when they are learning to kayak." Eagan told the class, "I see lots of kayakers paddling down the gorge in Class III whitewater, but they still haven't developed a really good stroke technique. And even though they are paddling Class III they still haven't got that good foundation, because everyone is in the rush to get into the excitement of the white water instead of working on the drills."

For the rest of the session the paddling students practiced integrating and completing their strokes and edging ability while working on an assortment of river maneuvers. "Once you get edging down you won't tip over very much." Eagan told the boaters. Edge control is a skill used for balance and control of the kayak. It involves holding the kayak tilted on one side (edge) or moving it from side to side (edge to edge) in the oncoming current, while at the same time as performing bracing strokes. "In any paddling there are only three problems that you have." said Eagan, "One is momentum. You don't have enough speed. Two, You don't enough edging, and other is boat angle. The last your going to working for rest of your (paddling) career."

 

With increased confidence later on that afternoon, the paddling students were weaving and gliding through rocks and ripples along the South Fork while practicing ferrying, a maneuver to get across the river, along with eddy turns and peel outs. It was a day getting back to basics and learning some new skills over again. "It's not thinking about any text-book stroke, " said Eagan, "But, blending them all together."

Whitewater kayaking is an on going journey. As the poet Herman Hesse, said "The river has taught me to listen; you will learn from it, too. The river knows everything; one can learn everything from it." It's consequential that kayakers keep listening, learning and holding true to their paddling basics.

If you want to go
Current Adventures Kayak School and Trips 
PHONE: 530-333-9115 or Toll-Free: 888-452-9254
FAX: 530-333-1291
USPS:Current Adventures, P.O. Box 828, Lotus, CA 95651
info@currentadventures.com
owner Dan Crandall dan@kayaking.com

This article was originally published in Outside Adventure to the Max October 10, 2015.

Friday, January 13, 2017

ATMOSPHERIC RIVER

This week the usually calm waters of Lake Natoma under the Rainbow Bridge are a boil.
In Northern California we have been riding the "atmospheric river" since last weekend. For boaters,  it's a Class 5 like waterfall that has swelled the state's rivers, flooded neighborhoods and vineyards, all while dumping snow and rain on the Sierra Nevada Mountains and causing mudslides on hills scorched by summer's wildfires.

An atmospheric river is long and narrow bands of water vapor that form over an ocean and flow through the sky. Massive quantities of Pacific Ocean water
from as far away as Hawaii have pummeled California with series of storms like a long blast from a fire hose. 
Courtesy of Heavenly Mountain via Facebook

Blizzard conditions forced road closures to many of Lake Tahoe's ski resorts that had to shut down and dig-out after being buried in snow. Nine feet fell in over three days at Kirkwood Mountain Resort in California making it the snowiest January in 45 years. Most of the ski resorts it looks like will try to open at least some terrain this weekend.

The Yuba River rose again to a little over 85 feet in Marysville California, while the South Fork of the American River are creating “once-in-a-decade”conditions on the American River for expert kayakers like Dylan Nichols. “We don’t have the option to run it this high maybe but once in a decade," Nichols told ABC10, "So it’s special for us local paddlers to be able to come out and take advantage of it,” Nichols and other expert kayakers paddled on the river from Chili Bar Park in Placerville California to where the water pours into Folsom Reservoir. He estimated the flow at 20,000 cubic feet per second, compared to a normal pace of anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 cubic feet per second.

South Yuba River at Highway 49. Photo by Rich Shipley via Facebook
“It’s extremely unusual conditions,” professional kayaker Isidro Soberanes told ABC10, “It gives me the opportunity to experience a river I know really well at extremely high, high levels. Basically, I’m expecting to paddle some of the biggest rapids I’ve paddled in California.”

To see their trip down the South Fork, check out this link.  http://www.abc10.com/news/local/american-rivers-once-in-a-decade-conditions-draw-thrill-seeking-kayakers/385347076

Folsom Lake continues to rise with the week's rains, as water managers releasing even more water downstream.  Early this week the lake's water level stood at 422 feet elevation rising 13.5 feet higher than what it was 5 hours earlier. As the lake becoming fuller, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation opened five floodgates at Folsom Dam and 18 gates at Nimbus Dam releasing the water downstream.

Due to releases and rain, the usual peaceful waters of Lake Natoma under Folsom's Rainbow Bridge became a violent torrent at the entrance to the lake. While downstream large sections of the American River Parkway and several popular Sacramento County parks were closed earlier this week after days of rainfall and heavy releases from reservoirs flooded recreation areas around the region.

The Jim Jones footbridge, one parkway’s biggest popular attractions for boaters, fishermen and summer time rafters at the Sunrise Recreation Area, remains underwater this week as the American River gushes over it. Meanwhile, much of the western half of the parkway, Discovery Park to about Watt Avenue, also will remain inaccessible for the time being due to flood waters.

While most atmospheric river events are weak. But the powerful ones like the one that just targeted California this week, can transport an amount of water vapor equal to 15 times the average flow of water that flows out of the Mississippi River's mouth, according to NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory. This drenching is good news that might help bring a dramatic turnaround for the state's water supply after more than five years of drought.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A SHINY NEW YEAR


          The best way to predict your future is to create it -- Abraham Lincoln

It has been raining in the lower elevations of Northern California and snowing higher up in the mountains this week. Good news for the state's water supply.  The Sierra Nevada snow pack is a frozen reservoir that provides roughly one-third of the state’s water has been given a much-needed boost after several major storms have dumped between up to four feet and ten feet of new snow over the mountains.

“Things are looking very positive,” Frank Gehrke, chief of snow surveys for the state, told the San Jose Mercury News, after officials Department of Water Resources earlier this week took their first manual snow survey of the year near South Lake Tahoe.
“We’re showing a wet, cold pattern for the rest of this week into next. That’s a real good sign. In years past we have come up to do the survey and the forecast is for dry. But now we have a nice wet pattern setting in right now.”
So as California enters what could be its sixth year of drought, the statewide total was at 70 percent of normal and according to Gehrke, certain to increase in the coming days.

So forget the ball drop in Times Square, watching the snow fall and listening to the sound of rain is the only way to ring in the new year.  It's time make that New Year's resolution to kayak more because the rivers and lakes will be hopefully brimming with water. Plan an expedition or at least an over-night canoe trip. It's a new year and time to think big!

On New Year's Day Freya Hoffmeister announced her next challenge, the never-before-attempted kayak circumnavigation of North America. The German adventurer will attempt the 30,000-mile journey over the next eight to ten years, paddling alone in stages of three to five months. The route travels of the famous Northwest Passage, a crossing of Hudson Bay and a trip through the Panama Canal. It will outline the coastline of 10 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico.


“Freya will paddle in two half loops, starting twice in Seattle and finishing twice in New York City,” explained in a press release posted on her Facebook page. “She’ll paddle northwards half of the year’s trip time and southwards the other half." Hoffmeister is one of the world's most prolific expedition paddlers. She circumnavigation Australia in 2009 and her circuited of South America, in six stages from 2011 to 2015. She also circled Iceland and New Zealand’s South Island, both in record time. Last year she paddled around Ireland, a 43-days, in yet another groundbreaking expedition.

 Okay maybe not that big. But for some even small trips can be big.

Last year Florida paddler Mary Meyers, 83 and a half-dozen girlfriends, the average ages of 80, got together and kayaked four of her state's central rivers in four days. Based in a cabin they paddled some of Florida's prettiest waters.
"We inspire each other," Meyers told the Tampa Bay Times, "There's so much talent among this group. We find solace in the river."
She has some advice for the new year to anyone who hesitant about not getting outdoors for an adventure, "Get rid of your pills, get rid of your pillows, and get yourself a paddle!"

While you won't see one drop of water in the movie La La Land, it's hard after watching the film not to come away without some motivation and inspiration about following your dreams.  It's about aspiring actress Mia, and a jazz pianist Sebastian trying to make it big in show business. In one discouraged by a lack of not getting jobs, Mia unloads on Sebastian about her failing career. Sebastian pulls her back to reality by saying, "This is the dream. It's conflict and it's compromise and it's very, very exciting."

So it's 2017, dream big, plan big. Take along trip, or be in kayak or canoe race and just get out there.  Former member of the Canadian Freestyle Whitewater Kayak Team and Bronze medalist, Anna Levesque said, "You don't have to be a daredevil to enjoy the river."

And we agree. You just have to dare yourself to get out there and enjoy it.