Friday, February 16, 2018

OVER THE BOW: SAN FRANCISCO BAY


The Golden Gate Bridge's daily strip tease from enveloping stoles of mist to full frontal glory is still the most provocative show in town. -- Mary Moore Mason 

Once in a while, it's what you don't see, that creates something unforgettable. 

It's a common weather phenomenon in the San Francisco Bay. The fog pushes its way through the Golden Gate, as each tiny water droplet is suspended in the atmosphere, swirling, drifting and climbing up and over the Marin Headlands before being thrown out over the water like a thick fuzzy fleece blanket, gently tucking in the city right at its shoreline piers.

"I never get tired of the grays and whites that overtake the sky," writes author Kyle Boelte, "Where I search for a million ways to say the word fog to match the million ways I’ve seen it surround me, and fail, always fail, for there is no way to capture it." 

In the distance, the Golden Gate Bridge's towers seem to magically defy gravity and appear suspended and floating in a pillow of clouds. The fog is so dense that the rest of world-famous suspension bridge spanning the one-mile-wide strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean is hidden or a shadow in the mist.  

"Its efficiency cannot conceal the artistry. There is heart there, and soul. It is an object to be contemplated for hours," That is what longtime San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, said about said about his love for that "mystical structure" that he called "the greatest bridge ever built."

Of course, he's is not alone. It seems everyone who cast their eyes on the iconic bridge, even if it's lost in a haze, look on in adoration. It's like that Sacramento based sea kayaker and photographer Tom Gomes. He says his love affair with the Golden Gate Bridge has reached a whole new level after spending a weekend last month photographing the Paddle Golden Gate Symposium from the water.

"Merging my passions for photography, kayaking and the Golden Gate Bridge herself was an opportunity afforded to me by the organizers of the 2018 Paddle Golden Gate Symposium," wrote Gomes in an email, "The vision of paddlers at work with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Downtown San Francisco and Alcatraz as a background is a photographer’s dream come true."

The annual three-day paddling symposium gave area paddlers a challenging series of coastal exercises in the Bay's strong currents and powerful swells to help them advanced and develop their skills with some world's best paddling instructors and athletes.

Of course photographing the sessions like Kenny Howell and Sean Morely's SurfSki Adventure Class as they crossed under the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge and out to open water to practice surfing ocean swells prove to be just as daunting.

"Capturing images from a very bouncy, moving boat presents challenges for any seasoned photographer,' wrote Gomes, "No tripod possible of course and knee pads are the knee savers that kept me in the right position to get the best shots. Shooting super fast kept my images sharp and the experienced pilots from SeaTrek knew how to position me with the iconic backgrounds in mind."

Click on the link so you can see all Gomes' photos from Paddle Golden Gate at Photos from Paddle Golden Gate.

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, we would love to see it. Submit it to us at nickayak@gmail.com

Thursday, February 8, 2018

TROUBLED WATERS: STATES & ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS CHALLENGE EPA OVER CLEAN WATER DELAY


The Trump administration has formally discontinued a major Obama-era clean water regulation. Last week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the suspension of the Clean Water Rule for two years, while the administration works to repeal and replace the rule with their own, industry-friendly version.

The Waters of the United States (WOTUS), the rule was designed to limit pollution in about 60 percent of the nation’s bodies of water, as put forth by the E.P.A. and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2015. It expanded the protection of headwaters, streams, and 20 million acres of wetlands including large bodies of water, such as the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and the Mississippi River under the 1972 Clean Water Act. It held farmers and real estate developers accountable for runoff pollution in streams running through their property. because these tributaries can carry fertilizer discharges and other kinds of contamination from agriculture and fossil fuel extraction into the larger bodies of water.

Under fierce criticism, over 100 parties have since challenged water regulation including business groups and some Republican officials, arguing that it was an overstep of government power, prompting President Trump to take aim against the regulation, calling it “one of the worst examples of federal regulation.”
Shortly after taking office, Trump issued an executive order directing the EPA and the Department of the Army to rescind and replace it with less burdensome regulatory requirements on how farmers, ranchers, real estate developers and industry must safeguard the streams and tributaries.

Last week, Pruitt took a major step toward completing that task, by filing legal documents requiring to suspend the water regulation rule for two years. The rule was set to be implemented in the coming weeks, following a Supreme Court decision that said legal challenges to the regulation should be decided in federal district courts. That ruling will result in the lifting of a stay issued by an appeals court blocking the 2015 rule from going into effect.

“Today, E.P.A. is taking action to reduce confusion and provide certainty to America’s farmers and ranchers,” Pruitt said in a statement. “The 2015 WOTUS rule developed by the Obama administration will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of providing long-term regulatory certainty across all 50 states about what waters are subject to federal regulation.”

Republicans cheered the administration’s move saying the regulation was an infringement on  property rights for farmers, ranchers.
“The Obama administration’s outrageous Waters of the United States rule would have put backyard ponds, puddles, and farm fields under Washington’s control,” said Senator John Barrasso, the Wyoming Republican who is chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in an interview with the New York Times, “Today’s action will give Wyoming’s ranchers, farmers, small businesses, and communities clarity."

Dozens of states and environmentalists groups have rallied to fight the move. This week, attorneys general from states including New York, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for delaying enforcement of the EPA rule meant to protect waterways saying it wrongly applied to lands far from traditionally “navigable waters.”

"The Trump Administration’s suspension of the Clean Water Rule is clearly illegal, threatening New York’s decades-long efforts to ensure our residents have access to safe, healthy water," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the coalition, "We will fight back against this reckless rollback and the Trump administration’s continued assault on our nation’s core public health and environmental protections.”

In conjunction with the 11 states, Natural Resources Defense Council and National Wildlife Federation also filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York to prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from delaying implementation of the regulations.

“The Clean Water Rule protects the bodies of water that feed the drinking water supply for one in three Americans,” said Jon Devine, NRDC senior attorney told The New York Times, “E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt is racing the clock to deny protections for our public health and safety. It’s grossly irresponsible, and illegal."
Environmentalists predicted the rewrite will let polluters off the hook and say the delay is an obvious attempt to make it easier for corporate and agricultural interests to pollute waterways by allowing them to sidestep stiffer regulations.

“This reckless decision by the Trump Administration to suspend the implementation of the Clean Water Rule will put the drinking water for one in three Americans in danger, all so Trump and Scott Pruitt continue to pander to polluters intent on spewing their noxious waste into America’s waterways without accountability." Dalal Aboulhosn, Deputy Legislative Director for Land and Water for the Sierra Club said in a statement released by the environmental organization.

American Rivers, President Bob Irvin also critical of the White House's move says the move undercut water protections against dredging and filling will make innumerable small streams and wetlands that are essential for drinking water supplies, flood protection, and fish and wildlife habitat vulnerable to unregulated pollution.

"Healthy rivers and streams are vital to our communities and economy, and the heal
th of millions of Americans. President Trump and EPA Administrator Pruitt want to throw away carefully crafted safeguards that were based on strong economic arguments, sound science and broad public support," stated Irvin.

EPA's Pruitt has been targeting WOTUS for years, even before he was in Washington; as Oklahoma attorney general, in 2015 where he lead a multi-state lawsuit against the rule, is expected to roll out his own version diminished of the rules this spring and finalize new rules this year.

Friday, February 2, 2018

STANDOUT PADDLING


I've lost count of how many times I have passed under Folsom's prominent Rainbow Bridge. The bridge is a historic landmark of the area. Built in 1917, the bridge crosses over the upper end of Lake Natoma and the American River. A 208-foot long concrete arch spans the rocky ledges of the canyon to help give the bridge it's fabled name. Photographed and painted time and time again the bridge is truly a magnificent sight.

I can remember last year when it loomed before me as I paddled up the lake. Before I had moved to California, I had only seen it in pictures. As I paddled under it, I felt a thrill in pushing against the current and past the silent monument. It was my welcome to Californian kayaking.

It is routine now. Lake Natoma is my home lake. I have kayaked it so much and so often that I could probably name the geese. Like all home lakes, I still find it beautiful and fun to paddle around. I enjoy the quietness of its sloughs and the loftiness of its high banks. I love that the water is just minutes from my home. But that's where I have taken the lake for granted. I'm used to visiting it day after day.

Great days fade into the next when I'm out kayaking alone. Sure, I have soloing days that are special. But, the lasting and great memories come from paddling with my wife. I love to watch her glide across the water. As an artist, she delights in changing colors of sky and water while making paintings in her mind. She will frown and voice disgust when a loud radio vanquishes the peaceful solitude of the lake. This is her moment to enjoy what God has painted before her eyes.

I paddle behind trying to keep up, while she reveals to me the wonders of the water. This is the first place we kayaked together when I came to visit her before we were married. We had rented a bulky tandem sit on top and paddled together across the lake through the sloughs. It was a cool day and we had the lake to ourselves. We toured through the marsh enjoying the trees, birds and each others company. Now, every time I pass through those sloughs I remember that day. Every time. It will always be one of my best memories of the lake.

Debbie and I shared a sunset paddle the other day. Nothing exemplary, we are heading into fall and the sun is setting faster each night. We had to race back now before the sun slammed into the horizon. A fleeting golden reflection illuminated the water and silhouetted Debbie and her kayak. The rainbow bridge is close and beaming in the setting sun.

We will leave no lasting imprint. Water has no memory. However, sharing it with each other will always make each visit to the lake standout.

This article was originally published in Outside Adventure to the Max September 19, 2014

Friday, January 26, 2018

MISSION 22: AN INTERVIEW WITH JOE MULLIN


The most fundamental part of paddling is always coming to the aid of a fellow boater. No matter what, when someone is sinking into the water, we will automatically step up to throw a rope, toss a bag and lend a hand.
That's why it's no surprise, that paddling community has embraced some nonprofits organizations that have healed and transformed lives through kayaking. Both Team River Runner and Heroes on the Water have benefited from volunteer paddlers across the nation helping to get our wounded veterans and their families out on the water. One veteran felt his calling to do even more for his fellow veterans.
According to a Department of Veterans Affairs study, each day over 20 veterans take their own lives. For Joseph Mullin that was staggering statistic he just couldn't accept. A disabled veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Mullin felt he needed to generate national consciouses for this serious issue. To help create an awareness of Mission 22, a national organization aimed at suicide prevention among veterans and active military members, Mullin embarked on a 2,000-mile journey down the entire East Coast.
Called the, One Man, One Mission, To Save Thousands Expedition, Mullin started his trek last spring at Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Maine, heading south towards Key West Florida. Last week, Outside Adventure to the Max, caught up to Mullin while he was wintering after completing one-third of his trip. We asked him about his journey on the water and the veteran's cause he's paddling for.


OAM: As a disabled veteran yourself why did you get involved in Mission 22?
JM: I'm a disabled veteran with PTSD from 20 years of underwater recovery and a few life events. I was shot at when I was 17, so I know the sounds and feelings of having rounds whizzing by your head.
There is a bond between veterans cannot be explained nor can't be broken. My brother and sisters are hurting and need help. I think what I'm doing for Mission 22 is the best way for me to help them.

OAM: Your expedition is called: ONE MAN ONE MISSION TO SAVE THOUSANDS. How did you come up with the idea for this voyage and how long have you been planning it?
JM: I have been around the ocean all my life surfing, scuba diving, canoeing and kayaking. Lately, it has been mostly kayaking, so that's the perfect choice of vehicle for a trip.
What do they say go big or go home. If you do the math 22 (suicides) per day and the fact that I'm solo, The One Man One Mission to Save Thousands makes a great deal of sense. I thought 2,000 miles in a kayak would draw attention to the cause.
Living in Massachusetts with a direct access to Buzzards Bay made for the optimal training ground. The bay is like a bowl so when the water starts to move the chop comes at you from all sides. I trained in my 14-foot kayak in seas from flat to 7-feet. I trained for 2 years studying the movement of the water winds and currents. My route was 20 NM (nautical miles) down the coast across a harbor and many coves then stop for lunch and return in various conditions.
I had the Marion Harbormaster searching for me one day as someone called the coast guard saying I was in distress. They found me returning from Mattapoisett Harbor. I was fine the whole time. I had to promise to call him on CH 16 to let him know I was crossing the harbor.
On the day I was playing in 7-foot seas and when I had enough fun and was returning to calmer seas (3-4 ft) I could hear a diesel engine coming up behind me. It was the coast guard. We had an interesting radio conversation before I went back to my launch site.

OAM: How did you prep for this expedition? 
JM: I took a kayak camping trip with my buddy in Casco Bay in Maine 2015 and we ended up in 14-ft swells in 30-knot winds which I do not recommend anyone tries. We hit swells and wind at 22.5 degrees and maintained 3 mph with a constant rhythm.
I spent 2 years researching equipment and gathering data and charts plotting courses. Added some appropriate apps to my phone, USCG, Life360, Navionics, NOAA weather to name the main ones

OAM: You started your expedition to kayak the entire eastern seaboard last spring, Where are you at, how has been going and when do you expect to be underway again?
JM: I started at Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Maine on April 30, 2017, and ended at Watch Hill, Rhode Island. My original kayak (Necky Looksha Elite) developed problems when I reached Rhode Island and was losing buoyancy, stability and performance. I went from paddling 30-40 NM (nautical miles) a day to 10 NM.
I had to research, a new kayak and find a sponsor or a company willing to help me. After much research, I found Current Designs. I spoke directly with the owner of the company and explained to him my situation and my cause. I explained to him the conditions that I had paddled through so far and we talked about my course ahead. We came up with the best solution that I could live with a gently used Solstice GT.
You have to remember I am living out of the kayak, so transportation has been provided by family and friends. My new kayak was delivered, but it was too late in the year to continue. There were too many storms. So I am living with my girlfriend waiting for warmer weather and will start training once again in Buzzards Bay before departing hopefully in April. I will start where I left off in Watch Hill Rhode Island.

OAM: Tell us about your setbacks. I read your day #1 account and for many of us, we would have quit right there. What keeps you going?
JM: Day one kayak overloaded (ego bigger than common sense) I had paddled for over 2-hours. Was just coming to Baileys Mistake and was turning in when I capsized.
Because of the overloading I could no way self-rescue. I called the coast guard then spent one hour in 38-degree water. I was dressed for 45-minute immersion in 35-degree water. Ended up in the hospital with mild hypothermia.
I had unloaded all unnecessary gear, I basically went lean and mean and survival mode. Then I continued my trip.
If you are going to kayak the coast of Maine please join the Maine Island Trail Association. The information in their book is great. Also if you decide to kayak The Bold Coast (northern section) please hire a Maine guide for your safety. Trust me on that one I used every bit of knowledge technique and stamina to make it down that coast.
I did see a baby orca breach the surface three feet off my bow. That was fantastic.
I was stuck in Jonesport Maine for 5 days due to weather. Jonesport is a small lobstering town and I camped on a bluff the first two days in 50-knot winds and torrential downpours.
On the third day I packed my gear and headed into town (local hang out is Mooseabeck Video) I met a veteran there who gave me access to one of his houses for 3 days. The lobster men of Jonesport are excellent people who provided much information on currents and plotted my route. They also provided me with a radar reflector, don't let anyone tell you they don"t work, on a 44-inch light pole (Railblaza) it worked fine.

I capsized off of Rye, New Hampshire in shallow water. I was tired and was trying to take a short cut. I walked the kayak to shore and a surfer came out to help me. My son came to pick me up and while transporting me down the coast a bit the kayak folded in half so we went to his house where I could fix it. Those years of building surfboards come in handy. 
He took me Salisbury, Massachusetts to a state campground at the mouth of the Merrimack River. I waited 3 days for the mouth to calm down and it wasn't happening. There was 15 to 20-foot of surf. 
So talking with the local fishermen I went along the backside of Plum Island to enter further down the coast.
You need to be able to adjust plan on the fly as you may not always be able to camp or find lodging as you go.
Since I was in Massachusetts, I could call on friends to help. I won't have that luxury until I hit my hometown in Virginia. I can say there is nothing stranger looking than to see a kayak being transported in the back of your girlfriend's dump truck.
Watch Hill was my third capsize. I was a mile offshore going through a rip. I made it through the worst part and was going through the lesser part when I went to change course 4 degrees to head inland when it capsized so fast I could only wet exit and get it up right and install paddle float. 
Since the boat was traveling with the water above the transition strip I could not get any water out. I called a "mayday" and was contacted by coast guard but rescued by some local boaters. 
When I got to shore I noticed the top pin of my rudder system was missing which probably cause the abrupt flip. Luckily I do not panic nor quit.

OAM: OK, Gives us some highlights of the trip so. What has been the best part of the expedition so far?
JM: Seeing an orca breach the surface three feet off your bow is something you will never forget.
I will be forever grateful to the residents of Jonesport, Maine, and the 91-year-old veteran in Portland who gave me the grand tour of Portland and Cape Elizabeth. To all the other great people I have met along the way so far. The people who understand my cause and provide free camping and meals. 
To the media outlets that have covered my mission and journey. Catching the sunrise and sunsets out on the water. The tranquility of being out there man and nature in harmony.
Having PTSD, I'm at peace when I am on the water it's therapeutic to me.

OAM: Have you had any encounters with many veterans groups or veterans? 
JM: I have met with a number of veterans and we have shared our stories and experiences. We also have shared how many comrades we have lost to suicide. It saddens me that I didn't get the word out soon enough.
I have talked to veterans who belong to veterans groups who are willing to help spread the word about Mission 22. We have reduced the number from 22 to 20 (suicides per year) but our goal is zero. We still have a long way to go and much work to be done.

OAM: Have you been mostly going solo or have other paddlers come out to join you? What was that like?
JM: I get two reactions when I tell people. It's either great or they think I'm insane. They haven't convinced me yet on the insane part. 
It does take years of planning to get the right equipment. Having the right safety gear is paramount. You will be using all your skill sets as conditions are constantly changing. You will have to use every bit of your intelligence on kayaking and boating and every ounce of energy at times. 
When you think you are out of energy, you have to dig down and find more. Especially if you're going to kayak the Bold Coast north to south. There is no place to hide nor anyplace to duck in and rest.
I have sent out press releases to the (paddle) shops along the coast asking them to put up a notice if anyone wishes to come join me for any amount of time or length of the trip.
So far I have had only one Maine Island Trail member come out to the island I was on off of near Portland and we only got a short paddle as conditions changed and I went back to the island to camp.
I would enjoy some company and talk about the waters I'm in or heading into and also about the type of kayaking they do.

OAM: When do you expect to paddle into Key West? 
JM: I expect to leave Rhode Island sometime in April and I expect to make Key West, Florida by Christmas. However, I have extended my trip to include the gulf coast to Houston, TX.

OAM: How can people help? 
JM: First and foremost go to my website acske2017.org. At the top of the page click on the text with Mission 22 and donate.
Second I am paying for everything about this trip out of pocket. I'm on Social Security retirement so funds are very limited, you can help me at gofundme.com rkwvuqb8.
Kayakers can follow me on my site. When on the water, I post a blog every day. When I'm in your area and you want to join me send me a comment on the blog.
If you are willing to put me up for a night or to and feed me I would appreciate it or at least transport me to or from a near by campground.
Failure is not an option the cost is too great a price to be paid. The mission is far greater than the journey. Thank you in advance on behalf of my brother and sister veterans.

Friday, January 19, 2018

METAPHORS IN ADVENTURE: WHAT ARE WE REALLY DOING OUT HERE?


By Outside Adventure to the Max Guest Blogger Kate Hives

It is the 4th year I have had the pleasure of returning to the small coastal village of Chaiuin, Chile to coach at the Simposio de Kayak Pacifico Sur. The team at Pueblito Expediciones have captured the South American market of sea kayakers as they flock from all edges of this grand continent to play in the surf and amongst the swell that crashes against the monolithic coast lines. It is in this familiar yet still foreign environment that I find pause to reflect on what we are all doing here bobbing around like corks on the sea.

It is easy to dismiss what we are doing as ‘just sea kayaking’, which on the one hand reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously. On the other hand, I wonder what lies beneath the surface of our desire for adventure and become more and more curious about ‘why kayaking’?

There is something powerful about separating ourselves entirely from that which is familiar and for us as human terrestrial creatures, the watery world of the ocean is as unknown and foreign as can be. In teaching kayaking, I find myself working with the elements of movement and direction in unfamiliar terrain in tandem with the less measurable realm of human experience. What are we really doing out here? What motivates us to head “into the water”. (Kokatat – meaning: Native American word for ‘into the water’.)

Sure, we are spending time with friends, feeling more alive as we bob up and down in the waves and perhaps, we simply like the sense of accomplishment that comes with mastering a new skill. Likely this is enough thinking for most – there is not always a need to delve much further into our motivations. Woven into these outcomes and goals is, however, a deeper more profound element that can lurk just beyond our awareness.

Just like traveling to a new country or learning a new language, my feeling is that learning to be comfortable in the foreign environment of the sea offers us more than just the physical ability to survive in these places. Perhaps it offers the gift of building confidence in our own capacity to be more than we may have previously thought; perhaps it helps us to understand that we are all capable of more, beyond that which is visible to the naked eye. What if I were to make the outrageous statement that we are not ‘just sea kayaking’, but we are in fact learning more about what it means to live into our human potential in all its possibility? Now that’s a reason to go sea kayaking!

Maybe I am overstepping. Maybe you simply took up kayaking as a personal challenge or as a romantic idea, just for fun, or simply as an alternate method of travel. But what if within those seemingly benign motivations lies a more dynamic impulse. What if kayaking could be a metaphor for those things that at first seem nay impossible? What if learning to steer your 16-foot kayak on top of a powerful driving wave is a training ground to muster the internal strength to learn to surf the similarly unpredictable wave of human experience. The metaphor of surfing the wave then becomes an expression of knowing when and where to change direction and how to go with the flow.

mmm... soup!
For me, when I pause to reflect on what it is I am really doing out here and ask myself what I have learned, I hear the answer “I am learning to steer my vessel in a challenging environment, I am learning when to go and when to pause, I am beginning to understand how to work with the energy of this grand oceanic force.”

From this vantage point the wave and indeed the ocean become the metaphor for this greater ride we are all on and I begin to know that I can learn the skills needed to navigate these often challenging and labyrinthine waters of daily life.

Kate Hives is an adventurous sea kayaking guide and rough water coach with SKILS based out of Vancouver Island. She has explored Canada from coast to coast and has paddled in Patagonia, Chile, Malaysia, Tasmania, North Wales and Scotland. Keep up with Hives in her blog At home on the water. 
Outside Adventure to the Max is always looking for guest bloggers. Contact us at Nickayak@gmail.com if you are interested.

Friday, January 12, 2018

WEATHERMAN


Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. – Bob Bitchin

"No epic adventure started with "On a bright sunny day." It's one of my favorite tweets attributed to adventurer Sean Conway and my usual answer when someone asked: "Are you going to kayak in the rain?"

I kept thinking that as a hard pounding rain bounced off my bow and cascaded into Lake Natoma as if a dam had burst in the sky. A misty haze hung over the lake as each drop created millions of momentary craters exploding in the water creating a giant whooshing sound over its surface. In the middle of the lake, stranded and getting soaked  I paddled as quickly as I could under to the safety of nearby bridge to wait out the deluge.

Adverse weather make my trips more memorable. Paddling through a mist of rain adds a certain magic to my outing on the lake. It's a man vs nature type endeavor. Do I like bright sunny days? Of course, I do. Nothing is better than kayaking along while being kissed by the sun. In California, a state known for its sunshine, I have experienced lots of sun dazzling days on the water. But heartily coexisting in snow, rain, sleet and fog make for trips that are far from ordinary.

I'm grateful for the rain. The 2017-18 winter is off to a very slow start in Northern California. What a difference a year makes after last winter's record drought- busting snow totals in the Sierra Nevada. The recent snow survey results showed the basin at 30 percent of normal, compared to 67 percent on the same date last year.
“We are behind where we were last year at this time,” Jeff Anderson, a hydrologist from the Nevada Natural Resources Conservation Service, a federal agency that tracks snow in the west, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Last week's series of storms did bring much-needed rain to Northern California but did little to help the snow pack. The southern storms were swollen with tropical moisture, too warm to make it a snow maker as the snow levels hovered only around 9,000 feet, or higher than the ski summit of Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows. Ski resorts hoping for snow, only got rain. The snow-forecasting web-site Open Snow says another stormy period is expected next week, with the possibility of several colder storms by midweek, so cross your fingers, skiers and snowboarders.

The ancient weather rhymes say, "A ring around the sun or moon, rain or snow coming soon” or “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning." But don’t cancel your trip just because it’s raining or cloudy and cold. Be sensible. Pack your raincoat and go anyway. Because if you wait for that perfect day. You will never go. "Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating," said English writer John Ruskin, "There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."

I just hope I can remember that the next time when raindrops are hammering down on my bow.

Friday, January 5, 2018

18 WAYS TO PADDLE INTO 2018


So what’s on your adventure horizon for 2018? As we stride into the new year, here are 18 ways improve your paddling life in the next year and beyond. Onward.


Enjoy a winter activities
For some winter fun, hit the local slopes and trails. It's time to find a good hill for  your toboggan or trek off to a ski resort for some downhill or cross-country skiing. It won't cure your need to paddle, but it will help while waiting till next spring to paddle again. Those who like to hike will love snowshoeing, crunching down through the snow a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Just duck those snowballs from the person behind you. Snowshoeing

Take indoor rolling session
Don't let the ice and snow limit your ways of improving your skills on the water.  Certified instructors in heated indoor pools across the country are offering classes covering safety, paddle strokes and rescue techniques. After that build your confidence with a rolling session. wisconsinpaddlers.org.

Buy a state park pass
Explore the beauty and history of your own state. Many states offer some sort of pass that allows you unlimited entry at most state parks, while other offer park passes on a park-by-park basis. Find your state, order an entrance pass, and enjoy unlimited access to the natural beauty and paddling venues your state parks offer. US State Parks


Attend a Kayak Symposium
Whether you are an experienced kayaker or just beginning these instructional gathering aim at advancing your paddling skills. Offered on each coast and on the Great Lakes. These courses allow the paddlers to refine these skills and paddle in more challenging conditions with an accomplished sea kayaking coach with the goal of advancing your abilities. Lumpy Waters, Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium

See a paddling film
Sure you can watch your old wore out VHS copy of 1972 Deliverance over and over again, but this year get some popcorn and embrace the paddling lifestyle and wild places of the Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour. Since 2006, the World Tour has screened in more than 120 cities around the world showcasing the very best paddling films. Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour 

Take a wilderness canoe or kayak trip
Did you know, the average canoe trip 20 years ago was nine days. Today it’s only three. Clearly, we need to reset our priorities. A wilderness trip via canoe is an experience few will ever forget so grab your paddle and head to the wilderness.  The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico Provincial Park, The Buffalo National River

 Paddle with a group
An African proverb says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." So while many love the solitude of a solo paddle, most people like to make it a social activity by bringing friends and family along with them to share the experience. Paddlers say, that by kayaking together they build stronger relationships between loved ones and enhanced their friendships with other boaters. Kayaking Meetups

Kayak amid an urban sprawl
Our local water trails provide recreation in river towns across the country with hiking and bike paths, restaurants and interpretive centers, campgrounds and most important access to the water.  These urban waterways prioritize tourism, economies, and increase environmental education impacting your community. American River Parkway, Urban Kayaking 

Take a kid paddling
In this day and age of 'nature deficit disorder' due to overexposure to video games, computers and the Internet, paddling in the outdoors can be a great activity for kids. And while kids have short attention spans and aren't always focused on learning the technical aspects of paddling, the key to having a good time is to keep the paddling exercises fun, interesting and always bring plenty of snacks. Kayaking with the family


Take a white water class 
In a whitewater kayaking class, you’ll develop the foundations and skills along with overcoming any of those fears about being upside down underwater. By the end the session you’ll amaze even yourself as you paddle through the eddies and currents with increased confidence and boat control as you weave and glide down a new stretch of the river. Current Adventures Kayak School & Trips

Hang out in your local paddling shop
Kayaking is not just a sport. It’s a lifestyle. Hanging out in your local shop is a great way to get to know other paddlers in your area. Whether you’re looking for a new boat, paddle, or whatever else, talking to the other people in the store is a great way to get the scoop on what gear works for them. And just stopping in is also an easy way to keep informed on festivals, competitions, community gatherings and river cleanups in your area. The River Store, Rutabaga PaddleSports, Midwest Mountaineering

Paddle in the moonlight
With 13 full moons in 2018, you'll have plenty of chances to paddle in the moonlight. On January 31st, Earth will experience a blue moon (as in the saying, “once in a blue moon”). This means that it will be the second full moon in the span of a single month. Bring that special someone along for a romantic voyage or the whole family for a moonlit kayak adventure. Many outfitters and local state park across the country offer sunset and full moon paddling sessions providing all the gear for at a reasonable price. currentadventures.com

Take part in a river cleanup
Be a river hero by volunteering to participate in the thousands of cleanups across the country to remove litter and debris from out local waterways. In Sacramento last year, volunteers pulled two bicycles, a motorcycle frame and some 1,500 pounds of debris from the 6-mile stretch along the American River. National River Cleanup

Visit a whitewater park
In the movie Field Of Dreams, they said, "If you build it they will come." Over the past several years communities that have constructed whitewater parks as a way of providing a dynamic recreation facility for the community. These parks have used dam removals projects to build artificial whitewater courses opening the river to paddlers as well bringing bringing communities together great river festivals.  Truckee River Whitewater Park, Great Falls Park,  Buena Vista River Park

Get involved with activism by Supporting American Rivers
Join American Rivers to protects wild rivers, restore damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Guided by five core values: Passion, Integrity, Teamwork, Commitment, and Balance this organization works to achieve a vision of a nation of clean, healthy rivers for everyone. American Rivers

Paddle a SUP
It's a common scene across the beach of the US and Canada, long sleek colorful boards and even sleeker paddlers ever so graceful gliding across the water. All you need is a board to join the SUP revolution for a refreshing view and escape. SUP Magazine

Read a paddling book
Who doesn’t enjoy a tale of high adventure with raging rapids, stormy seas and paddling great rivers? These stories both fiction and nonfiction will inspire us all winter to go live your own adventure. Ron Watters Barnes & Noble 

 Update your PFD
Time, use and the sunlight has taken its toll on your PFD. Experts say you should replace it every five years or after 300 days considering how much you used it. Loss of buoyancy and UV damage are the red flags telling us their due to retire.  RapidMedia