Friday, December 23, 2016

CHRISTMAS FOR KAYAKERS


The usual calm waters of the American River just before in pours into Lake Natoma are a torrent this week as the outflows at Folsom Lake has more than doubled from 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 8,000 cfs according to officials at the Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region. This is a rare event in recent drought years to release water from Folsom Lake after last week's series of rain storms.
Another pre-Christmas storm with rain, wind and mountain snow will affect much of the western United States is forecast of the weekend. It will bring another dose of drought-denting rain and dump more snow onto the ski slopes.



The gift of the rain and snow will benefit us all by supplying our reservoirs with a steady supply of water for the year ahead, which is good news for area paddlers after a few lean years of drought. It's is what we at Outside Adventure to the Max are thankful for this holiday season. The gift of water in our area lakes, reservoirs and rivers. We like all of you hope it just keeps flowing in.

OAM would like to thank guest blogger Pete Delosa and Kate Hives for their insights and views this past year. They have certainly made OAM better by providing a different voice in the world of paddling. We certainly look forward to future post in the upcoming year.

We would also like to thank Dirt Bag Paddlers & DBP Magazine Online, The River Store. Bayside Adventure Sports and Rapid Magazine for sharing our post on their social media pages. They help us so much to spread the word about our weekly post.

Most of all, we'd like to thank our readers and follower who check us out every week. We hope you enjoy our thoughts and pictures about our outside experiences into 2017.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Outside Adventure to the Max.

Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 IN REVIEW: PICTURES OF THE YEAR

San Francisco Bay with Bayside Adventure Sports
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. -- Albert Schweitzer

I have to admit when it comes to kayaking, I could be classified more as a fanatic than just plain enthusiast. I think about paddling all the time day and night. I dream about my next trip on the river and visualize my last trip to the lake. I consider a day that I don't get out on to the water as almost a day lost.

Professional paddler and film maker Rush Sturges wrote on Facebook, "I go to sleep thinking about this river and I wake up excited to paddle it.  People ask me if I ever get bored?  And I never do at these levels. This is the first section of the Little White we call "Gettin Busy" at 4 feet today. It's fast, technical, and steep. But when you're in control of the flow, there's nothing better."

On Lake Tahoe with Cole Carlson
Lake Natoma with Taylor Carlson
I can picture myself in the same way. Anytime I cross any river bridge I look down wishing I was there.  Like Sturges pointed out, there is nothing better than being on the water. So as 2016 draws to a close,  I look back at some of my favorite places and people I had the good fortune of kayaking with this past year. My two sons who both came out to California for a visit this past summer. It was thrilling to take Cole on his first trip down the South Fork of the American River and both got to on an over-night trip to Lake Tahoe. Father and son camp-outs are always special no matter how old they are.

Any day on the water on with Dan Crandall, Kim Sprague, John Weed and the rest the gang at Current Adventures Kayaking School and Trips and The River Store, is always a great day. If it was just a job to them they would have quit it a longtime ago. But, it is their passion for kayaking that flows through them like an untamed river. They are deep in experience and share their thirst of paddling with first-timers and veterans with assurance, confidence and conviction. After paddling with them, you only have one question. When can we go again?

The Lower American River with Current Adventures.

And only to go again and again with Erik Allen, Brian Hughes and members of Bayside Adventure Sports. God created the Earth to RIDE IT. CLIMB IT. CATCH IT. EXPLORE IT. PROTECT IT. I'm hoping for some more trips like the one to Angel Island along with many day trips to some area lakes and rivers. 

But mostly I couldn't do any of kayaking without the support and encouragement from my wife Debbie. Always up for an adventure, she shares my same passion of being outside whether on the water, snow or trail.

Lake Jenkinson with Debbie Carlson
In Chasing Niagara,  a film directed by Sturges and produced by Red Bull that focused on Rafa Ortiz’s journey of being the first person ever to go over Niagara Falls in a kayak, Oritz offers this lesson. “I don’t really believe in regretting things, you know?” said Rafa Ortiz. “I believe in that anything that has happened in my life is for a reason and you know there is definitely things that have happened in my life that I would, you know, if I could I would think that I want to change but I think that anything that happens is for a reason and it just makes me who I am.”

Like Oritz, these experiences made me who I am. So as the year comes to a close, I look forward even more adventures on the water, in the years to come and wish you all the same.

The Lower American River with Bayside Adventure Sports

Eppies training on Lake Natoma
Eppies training
Kids Class with Current Adventures
Eppies Race Day
Barking Dog Rapid
The Rainbow Bridge
Lake Valley Reservoir
Loon Lake
Loon Lake with Current Adveentures
The Shoe Tree on the Lower American River
Sunset on Lake Natoma

Friday, December 9, 2016

SNOW & FLOW

Courtesy of Heavenly Mountain via Facebook
 What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness? --John Steinbeck

The snow industry and paddling industry are strapped together like kissing cousins. For the skiers, those glistening snowy covered mountains will supply a winter full on thrills and spills, while the paddlers looks for big flows once that snow begins to melt come spring and into summer.

"My board is waxed, paddle gear packed, and jeep loaded. Bring on the snow!" exclaimed Natalie Carpenter, " Precipitation is crucial, for both job security and free time. Nearly every activity I choose to participate in is driven by precipitation."

Natalie Carpenter

Carpenter is working at Colorado's Telluride Ski Resort this winter and has been raft guide on the American River in California during the past 4 summer seasons. She loves the benefits of a snowy winter.
"A good snow-pack not only means a winter full of steady work, but it also determines what my summer is going to look like." said Carpenter, "The whole reason I decided to move out to California this past summer was due to the fact that the snow-pack was good from the previous winter. Which led to high water and incredibly fun spring runs, something the American river hasn't been so lucky to see in a couple years. It was a full seven days of work a week for four whole months!"

As December got under way many area ski resorts opened with limited lifts, runs and terrain available after roughly 50 inches of snow fell in pre-Thanksgiving storm on the Sierra Crest near Lake Tahoe jump-starting ski and snowboard season in the mountains of Central and Northern California. Skiers are crossing their fingers for more this winter, while weather forecasters remain cautious taking a wait and see approach.

"This winter could go either way." said Sacramento Fox 40 meteorologist Darren Peck, "There is no way to come up with a good long-term prediction of this winter as is the case with most winters."
The Sierra's annual snow-pack functions as a reservoir of much of the state’s water supply and while last season’s El Nino did help push snowfall levels up to normal. it failed to deliver that knock out punch to end several years of drought across the state.

"Last year, seemed to be a snowy year," said Peck, "But it was average. Last year,  came pretty much spot on the mark for 100 percent of average. Northern Sierra was a little above, Southern Sierra a little below and right here in the Central Sierra we were at 98 percent. But, this where you get into the huge issue in the world of weather.  It seemed like a big year because of our perceptions and memories of things are very bias from what our personal and nostalgic memories are of winters past. But when you're looking at the statics last year was average."

Sage Donnelly and company didn't wait for spring. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

After these early fall storms, Carpenter remains hopeful more is on the way.
"I'm still checking the weather, snow reports, and river gauges daily. Gleefully watching inches accumulate and rivers rise." said Carpenter, "Even heading into this winter season an early snow fall allows me to take advantage of the rising rivers and continue my pursuit of more challenging whitewater. More snow equals more work, more terrain to explore, and ultimately a greater ability pursue my passions, all fueled by water."

It's still to early to tell where and how much snow will fall this winter but as a French proverb suggests,  A year of snow, a year of plenty. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Is Kayaking Really a Metaphor for Life?


BY OUTSIDE ADVENTURE TO THE MAX GUEST BLOGGER PETE DELOSA

2016 has been an interesting year in my life. If I’m being honest it has easily been the most difficult year of my life to date. I started the year off with big plans and high hopes and nearly none of it came to fruition. If there is one thing I am proud of this year it’s the progression in the two young shit runners I’ve been paddling with. These kids have a passion for the sport that is rarely seen. What’s even more impressive is the way they express what I call the right attitude toward the river. It’s really great to see the next generation of kayaker progressing. I could keep talking about them but by now you’re wondering what this has to do with the title and they might be reading this so I don’t want to say too many nice things about them.

Here is the connection to the metaphor mentioned in the title. The two above mentioned groms wanted to get on the Tiger Creek section of the Mokolumne earlier this year. I went and did a few runs a couple days before so I would have the lines fresh in my head to lead them down what was to be their first class IV run. Well as fate would have it on the day we went the water ended up being a little higher than even I had seen it before. (We had about 1600 cfs). We put on and had a really great run with great lines all around despite the apparent lack of eddies. When we got to the next to last rapid we got out to scout as planned. At this flow the last two bigger rapids really become one very long and sizable class IV rapid. As we’re standing on the rock looking at the biggest rapid they’ve run so far in their paddling careers one of them asks, “Do you think we can do this?” This is what I told them…

"Of course I think you can do it. If I didn’t think you could do it, we wouldn’t be standing here talking about it. However, I can’t get in your boat and do it for you. You have to make your own choice here. You have to decide to run it or to walk and whichever you decide you have to live with. If you decide to run it then it is up to you and you alone to get in your boat and execute the moves or suffer the consequences. I can give you advice but in the end it is entirely up to you to do it."

They both opted to run the rapid and they both styled the shit out of it. At the time there on the rock I just said what I thought was sound advice for kayaking. It wasn’t until we were driving home later that I started to think, maybe it’s also sound advice for life. Isn’t the same true? We all have troubles and trials of our own to deal with. We seek the advice of others close to us. We seek comfort and support, but at the end of the day we each have to make our own choices for ourselves. We then must also live with the outcome of those choices. Sometimes we sail off sweet boofs, and sometimes we take gnarly hole rides and nasty swims.

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.