Recently in kayaking Category

2012 'Not Snowing Season' Schedule

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Another lazy boring summer lined up for this year.


14: Ragnarok 105
21: Ronde Von Skandia (T)
28-29: Yukon J. Malamute Memorial Backpacking Trip 

3-13: One Lap
19: Royal 162
25-27: Ride The Keweenaw

16: Keweenaw Chain Drive (S)
22-24:North Manitou Island Backpacking Trip
29-30: Marquette Bike Jam(F,B)

7: Miner's Revenge (F,B)
18-22: Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium

1-9: Downstate Bike Tour, Home to Ludington and back. (T)
11: Ore To Shore (S? F? B?)
18: Great Deer Chase (S)

2: Copper Harbor Fat Tire Festival (F,B)
8: Tour Da Woods (S? F?) 
29: Heck of the North (S)

T: Tentative, S: Single Speed, F: Fat Bike, B:Bikepacking

I took a year or two off from "serious" mountain bike racing once I had met my initial goals of completing them without dying in the process. Now that I've conquered bigger and tougher events, I like going back to them just for the fun and camaraderie. Probably race the fatbike a few times to increase the fun factor and  do a couple self supported bikepacking expeditions to a few races just for the extra challenge. 

Doing a few backpacking trips as well. The Yukon Memorial trip is a short weekend I'd always take my malamute out for as soon as the snow melted enough to do so.  Destination is cool little waterfall down a canyon that has a mine shaft drilled into the side.  After Yukon died, I spread his ashes out there. Now I bring a bottle of "Canadian Hunter" and proceed to get melancholy.  

Unless any of my cohorts come up with a better idea, I'll probably once again do the tour down through Wisconsin to catch the ferry over for my family's annual summer party.  Most likely won't do the full loop again, but just take the ferry both ways.

Also looking forward to getting the kayak out for some crazy trips this summer. Some friends and I have a number of them planned including numerous overnight Keweenaw expeditions and a return to the Huron Islands. 

And for sure, there will be lots of all day mountain bike or gravel road rides thrown in for good measure.

Somwhere in there, I might mow my lawn too.  

I got a brand new used thing!

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Half price kayak rentals all through september at the Keweenaw Adventure Company!

Well you know me. 

It's a deal!

I'm saving money!  

And what's this? A list of used rental kayaks your selling?

I can take a lesson and demo a couple of boats! 

The weekend plans really started to come together when a fellow riding buddy put notice out about an abbreviated version of his "Peaks Tour", hitting the summits of several Keweenaw mountains.  

So on a beautiful september weekend I met up with Bill and we got a solid 40 miles in of Keweenaw two tracks in and around the mandan loop. Found plenty of cool new trails and hit a couple of places I'd never been to like Lost Lake and Keystone Bay (Holy shit! There's a sandy beach out by the tip of the Keweenaw!)  

Bill had to bail early, but that gave me time to bike into my favorite camping spot on Fish Cove and go for a swim. Superior is warmer than I ever remember. Had a great night sleeping out under the stars. 

Next morning I got up and made my way in to Copper Harbor for a Basic Water Safety course with Keweenaw Adventure.  Maybe learn all those things I should have learned before say, paddling out to the Huron Islands.  

Anyway, I was the only one in the class and the instructor was pretty good, so we made a fair amount of progress in the harbor.  Maybe I was doing a pretty good job of not sucking, or maybe the instructor figured he had half a shot at keeping just one idiot from drowning- but we decided to go out on Superior and tackle the "big water".  There was a fair amount of wind generating some nice 3-4 foot rollers out in open water. This seemed kind of cool, but the rocky shore they were crashing against made me a but nervous...

Things turned toward adventuresome when I managed to break my paddle trying a T-rescue out there.  I'm pretty happy I managed to keep my swamped boat upright without a paddle while the instructor ran off chasing the remnants of my paddle.  

Honestly, it was bit overwhelming and had me moderately freaked out. I know enough to know what I don't know now, and I know how tiny mistakes can quickly become big ones. We were just offshore, had proper gear, and at least one pretty experienced person, so were in no real danger of anything bad happening, but you could just catch a fleeting glimpse of how something could...  

So obviously, I was completed hooked. Gave the instructor a good tip and then went and put a downpayment on the boat he was using- a 2010 Boreal Designs Fjell.  It was obviously way better than the Inukshuk I was paddling because it didn't seem to flip over as much.  ;)  

So yeah, couldn't pick it up until the rental season was fully over, which is OK because given the awesome weather we had in september and early october, I never would have gotten all my rally chores done with a new boat to play with.  

I paid the final deposit and took it home yesterday.  I should be positively unbearable by next spring staring at this all winter without any chance to use it:


Unless of course I maybe pick up a dry suit or really heavy wet suit.....

Bad Decision... Kayaker?!

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Hola, amigos. What's up? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but... Oh, oops. Wrong blog. 

But yeah, it's not that things have been exactly quiet since the Royal, just not very noteworthy. I did and awesome tour with some friends around rural Wisconsin back in June. I've been getting a lot of really great two track exploring in this summer and have actually found some growing interest amongst my riding buddies for more of that sort of stuff. 

But really, the stories are a lot of the same ol'-same ol'. No new tale to tell. 

Until last weekend. 

I was all set to go out and mileage some LSPR roads, spent all morning getting the paperwork together, even got supplies together for a night of camping. Hopped in my car to head out, and....


The odometer stayed stuck at 10.273 miles. 

Seems I lost the magnets on the odo pickup.  

Well, now what? 

It's a beautiful weekend. I can figure something out. 

Swung by the The Bike Shop to pick up some parts to get the Hoss ready for Fat Tire. And then, without good reason. I swung by Downwind Sports. See, I've been going on and on about sea kayaks all summer.  It's my new "thing".  Except I'm determined to go about this in a slightly more mature way than I've gotten into bicycles, skis, motorcycles, cars, ham radio, backpacking, computers, and well- the list goes on. Usually, I just waltz into the store impulse buy something really nice and go from there.  But now that I'm older and wiser, I'm determined to buy the right thing right at the start. And get it on sale.  So you know, I figured I'd just waltz in and "see if they had any end of season" specials.

My checkbook is happy to report that their selection was pretty much down to a couple of sit on tops and a few boats sized for anorexic teenage girls, so my checkbook was mostly safe.  Didn't stop my from walking out with a rental kayak strapped to the roof of my car for the weekend though.

So yeah, I got it home that night. Paddled around Otter Lake getting used to the boat. Nice calm paddle, everything went great. The Tsunami 140 proved to be rock stable and tracked pretty well even though it was maybe a little slow.

Next day had me up early planning a longer expedition.  In my head, I was telling myself I'd go paddle around Huron Bay. You know, nothing major. 

But Huron Bay is right out by my favorite Lake Superior beach. So I figured I'd maybe see how the water was out there. Maybe play in the waves if there were some. Maybe paddle up and down the shore. 

But you see, there are these islands 4 miles offshore from my favorite beach. They've been taunting me for years.  I'd sit there on the beach, downing some liquid courage (beer) before braving the chilly waters of Lake Superior wondering exactly what it was like out there. 

So, of course I found myself paddling straight out into Lake Superior. I figured, worse case scenario- I could swim 2 miles in either direction to dry ground. (Did I mention they wouldn't give me a spray skirt with the boat because they thought I might do something stupid and drown? :) )

But hey, 2 miles out and things were going pretty great. The weather was about as perfect as perfect can be and I completed the 4 mile crossing in just over an hour.

Holy shit. I made it. 

I did some quick exploration on Lighthouse Island. There's really not a whole lot to explore. Between the rocky, rough terrain and thick brush- you're pretty much limited to the path between the landing, the lighthouse, and the lifesaving station on the far end of the island. 

But frankly, I was ill-prepared to deal with even the slightest of bad weather so I didn't waste much time before jumping in the boat and heading back.  While preparing to shove off, a pontoon boat full of old guys drinking beer advised me to "be careful". Funny, coming from a bunch of guys who were one old outboard motor away from being completely screwed. 

I took the opportunity to paddle around the island closest to lighthouse island. It's enough to hook anybody on the sport. Paddling next to 20-30 foot cliffs that drop straight down into the lake, with water so clear you can see the rock formations another 20 feet below you. Spectacular would be a good word to use. Even if I had a camera, pictures would in no way do it justice. 

With a slight tailwind, I made it back to the beach in less than an hour. I was greeted by some little girl on the beach yelling "Hey mom, the crazy kayaker made it!" 

huronpaddle.jpgI spent the rest of the afternoon applying what I've learned watching youtube videos, practicing self rescues and attempting rolls. Maybe I should have done that before I tried that trip, but it probably would have all worked out. Maybe. :) 

Anyway, I'm hooked now. Anybody want to buy a motorcycle and fund my next stupid hobby?