Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm Still Paddling...I've Just Been Too Busy To Tell You About It. Part 2

We pick our story back up with a third paddle down the Kiski River in two weeks. This trip I was joined by my wife Robbin, and our friends Rose, Kelly, and Diane. Rose and Kelly had been on the river once before in tandem kayaks with their husbands (see 1/2/2010 How We Got Hooked - Our First Trip Down The Kiski), Diane had never been on the river. We decided to paddle the section from Avonmore to Vandergrift. The river level was still high enough to make paddling the riffles a lot of fun, and I thought it would be exciting for them while still being an easy 10-11 mile trip....I got the fun and the exciting part right. Rose decided that she wanted to try a canoe this time around. Their plan was for Rose, Kelly, and Diane to all share the same canoe. As luck would have it, the outfitters from The River's Edge threw a extra single kayak on the trailer. This would turn out to be a blessing.

When we got to Avonmore, Kelly decided she would paddle the extra kayak. After a foot pad adjustment and a couple of quick paddling lessons, she picked it right up.

We had a blast paddling through the first few sets of riffles. The river was high enough to paddle straight through without having to navigate around the rocks.

We stopped every so often to grab a snack, a drink, and to just enjoy swimming around in the river.

The first 8-9 miles of this journey went very well with only one canoe tipping incident. The final 2-3 miles got a little more difficult for our canoeists, though. This is also where the photography stopped as the photographer now became the Kiski River "tow boat". The river got more shallow at this point and the riffle sections became a lot more difficult to navigate. The second canoe tipping incident resulted in bumps, bruises, and lost items. From that point on I held on to the canoe to stabilize it while steering my kayak with my free hand. I would really love to have a couple of photos of this spectacle as both boats were spinning down the river bouncing off of rocks. We made it through though, only slightly worse for wear, and we're all having a good laugh about it now. Rose has sworn off canoes though, and Diane has sworn off the river completely. Hopefully Diane will change her mind and give a kayak a try sometime.

If you look closely at the above photo you will see that Robbin (front kayak) has assumed her preferred kayaking posture... feet outside the cockpit while paddling as little as possible. If you look at the rear kayak, however, you will see that Kelly has taken it one step further. Notice the rope attaching Kelly's kayak to Rose's and Diane's canoe. Kelly has eliminated paddling completely. Don't get any ideas Robbin!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm Still Paddling...I've Just Been Too Busy To Tell You About It. Part 1

I've been REALLY busy lately. This is the time of year that my work schedule is crazy (I'm a painting contractor) and my wife has finally, after nearly 31 years of marriage, gotten me to participate in a social life, with real live friends and everything! I did manage to fit in a few really fun paddles though.

Loyalhanna Inflow Creek - Bush Run to New Alexandria - 6/16
This was a trip that I've been wanting to make for a while now. With little side trips into coves and feeder streams, the total round trip distance was a little over 14 miles. There was a lot to see along the way. Ospreys had a nest built on a pole in a cove that is reserved for their use. They were fishing as I made my way past their cove. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me. Robbin was visiting a friend in Cape May, NJ and had the camera with her. I took a couple of photos with my phone, but they're not as good.

This is the osprey nest. A metal cage is attached to the top of a pole that is standing in the middle of a cove. The osprey's return each year to build their nest in this spot. There are signs at the entrance to this cove explaining that the area is off limits to boaters so as not to disturb the ospreys while they tend to their young.

Robbin sent me a picture message showing me a beautiful restaurant on the water that she was having lunch at. I sent her back this photo showing that I was also dining on the water.

Kiski River
In the past three weeks I've made four trips down the Kiski River. At that time the water level was at the perfect depth. It was high enough to make the riffles a lot of fun, but low enough to see the rocks. We've had a heat wave this past week with very little rain. The river level is down now and we probably won't have those conditions again until fall.
Robbin and I took a trip together from Roaring Run to Vandergrift. Notice I didn't say "a paddle together".

This is Robbin's idea of a perfect trip down the river...feet outside the cockpit...holding her paddle with her toes...floating merrily down the river, paddling only when absolutely necessary!

My son, Jeremy, and I paddled down the Kiski from Avonmore to Vandergrift on Fathers Day. I knew the first time we went that he would be hooked. It was a beautiful day and water conditions were perfect. Each time I paddle this section I find something new to photograph.

We found this stream after stopping to empty water out of the kayaks. You have to walk upstream to find this section, but it's pretty.

Not long after this photo was taken, Jeremy learned a few things:
1. If you hit a big rock sideways in the riffles even a super-stable kayak will flip.
2. When a kayak has no bulkheads, it will fill with water if turned upside down.
3. When a kayak fills with water it becomes very heavy and is hard to get to shore.
4. The Kiski River flows extremely fast.
5. A water tight box is only water tight if it is completely latched (good-bye cellphone).

To be continued....I have to leave now to participate in my social life :-(