Friday, June 27, 2008

Going green

The Goose Pond is getting a little choked up with large clumps of algae forming. I can only assume this is from the large amounts of run off of very fertile farm lands with all the rain we've had.

Completely chocked off not going around the Goose Island today.

Thick as guacamole! Pass the chips!

Back to some open water. I was told not to come in contact with the algae...hmm? This has me a bit nervous as there is even algae forming in the open areas of Rock Lake. I've never seen it like this before. Quite a lot of small sunfish, blue gill washed up on the shore as well.
This can't be good. - The Capt'n

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Backyard Adventures!!

Despite the flooded conditions of our area and the cancellation of our week long paddling trips. Our Backyard Adventure Series continues on during the week. Vince up for a bit of kayaking! First time in a sea kayak... He did awesome!

The focus of our afternoon excursions is to allow a youth to develop an appreciation for the outdoors. Weekly youth come up with an adventure they would like to participate in. We develop an adventure log book to manage the ideas and a keepsake to reflect back on. A great resource when your teacher asks what you did on your summer break!

We do all sorts of outdoor activities right in our own backyard! The key is to share with a youth your own personal passions. The experience is so much better if everyone involved is enjoying what they are doing. Trying out a bit of tandem canoeing.

Vince is a 10 year old that signed on for adventure. He has the drive and the spirit to push the limits of his own comfort ability. A success in the making. Just finished a very windy paddle on Rock Lake.

We are out at Potholes and Prairie doing a very hot humid hike into a very mosquito infested swamp. But we hope to see lots of wildlife on our adventures

Candid shot of the adventurers! Had to make it quick, the bugs were out in full force! More bug spray!! If only we would have brought more!!

Water is so high that we came across this turtle crossing the trail. We looked for baby turtles making the crossing, but didn't see any. Just this very confident turtle that didn't budge as we passed.

Pretty much startled the daylights out of me when a snake crossed my path! Vince got a good laugh out of it. Then we came across this snake skinning moments later.

More adventure can be found at Peak Camp. The adventure is on! What are you doing with your summer vacation- The Capt'n

Monday, June 23, 2008


I got an e-mail from SandyBottom today which stirred some emotion. "What's happening?" she said with our mutual concern for the environment changes in weather, flooding droughts and wildfires happening across our country.

Then you get a morning like this with the breeze calm and the lake still. Paddle touches water and you are connected to all that is. You've just gone to paddle heaven.

Your cell phone rings - Reality encroaches - you need to make way to shore and start the "day" Monday that is. 100's of displaced people and families in Jefferson County alone. You're needed.

You come to the realization that you are one lucky son of a.... - The Capt'n

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cracked Manifold

The Cracked Pot

An elderly peasant in China had two large pots, each hung at the ends of
a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in
it while the other was perfect. At the end of the long walk from the
stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived half full, while the intact
pot delivered its full volume of water. For two years this went on
daily; the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of achieving its full potential,
but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection, and miserable
that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of abject failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day
by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side
causes me to leak all the way back to your house."

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there are flowers on
your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I
have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds beside your
side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them."
"For two years I have been able to pick those beautiful flowers to
decorate the table. Without you, just the way you are, there would not
be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has his own peculiar flaws. But it's our cracks and flaws
that make our lives together so interesting and rewarding. We've just
got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in each
of them.

Trying to look at the positive of the cracked manifold on my Jeep on top of the 2K I have already put into it this week...

Well O.K. better then a truck payment! - The Capt'n

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Let there be light

There are some rule changes for the MR340 this go-around. One is the mandatory life jacket rule at all times, the other is a complete set of navigation lights on your canoe or yak.
I assume this is in response of last year's Huki outrigger debacle when Ann and Wayne where tagged by a barge in the early morning fog. Under a barge is not a good place to be. :-/
Clunky bulb light system
I ended up getting these nifty nav. lights that will have over a hundred hour burn before changing out batteries. (I need to stop playing with them before the race). So the configuration is green on the right side of the bow and red on the port side of the bow - then a white stern light. I also have rigged a spotting bow light for buoys and the reflective day markers (shows the deep water channel on the river)

Mini high tech LED light system
All high tech LED. No wires, battery packs or switches that will fail. Very bright, you can see them up to a mile away, so says the packaging and labelling.
A smile will brighten your day too- The Capt'n

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We got issues

DNR File Photo

A disaster in the making, waters continue to rise as the dam let go up in Beaver Dam Wisconsin. That pushes a heap of the liquid gu our way... blah.

Our county has been maintaining their E.O.C. (emergency operation center) since Wednesday. Water treatment facilities in the area are starting to fail. We are on restricted water use with the potential for more rain on Friday.

On a brighter note, I have been a paddling madman the last week, taking advantage of the no wake zones on our local lakes. Quite a few kayaker's and canoeist ended up on Rock Lake this past weekend as it was still open. Lac La Belle and Fowler Lakes were closed all together.

Pewaukee Lake and the village of Pewaukee saw breaking waves take out windows on Main street that pounded the store fronts. The village ended up dropping in snow plow blades to act as a breakwater. Dodging storm cells and hail late Saturday afternoon made for some excitement too.

The crazy weather has driven the white pelicans that normally are down on Kosh. Lake up to Rock Lake where I spend most of my early morning paddle time. Amazing site, seeing these beautiful birds take flight over head. I used a file photo as the one that I was able to get on Rock Lake didn't show much.

Trouble in paradise my friend, trouble indeed. -The Capt'n

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

HAC Adventure...postponded

Made the call today after reviewing the conditions on the Wisconsin River. The river is raging and there are homes and debris floating everywhere. Not the conditions you want when taking a handful of kids on the river for a week of paddling.
What really amazes me is the flexibility of all the adult leaders to switch gears and sign on for the trip mid- August. Wow... Thank you all for your support. Makes coordinating these events so much easier.
Well a 30 day training plan is in effect for the MR340. Drink eat and paddle... I'll get a couple hours in a night 2 -3 nights a week and go long one day on the weekend. That should do it...
The last minute last ditch last spot (150th) has put a twist on doing the event. Making it fun to pull it all together on short notice. Planning is allot of fun for me...
I have my car shuttle figured out back from Kansas City. Good friend Tommy will drive my jeep to St. Charles and have it waiting for me at the finish.
Hotels are pretty much booked up, but I got in at the Hilton!! Perfect as the mandatory skipper's meeting is there. Ah, it's all coming together...
It is going to be a traffic jam on Tuesday a.m. at the launch with so many trying to get in the water. My goal is to be rested, relaxed and enjoy the pre-race festivities.
The MR 340 crew put on a good pre-race. Lots of positive energy and hoopla happening. Has the feel of an Ironman. Everything's a buzz.
Giddy as a school girl on a first date - The Capt'n

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tornado alley

A break in the weather. A 2 hour window of opportunity.

Unsettling weather has brought tornado's flooding and dangerous conditions on many of our rivers. Evacuations road closures and standing water in 9 counties with 4 inches of rain yesterday and 29 counties in a state of emergency...Welcome to Wisconsin. We haven't seen this many tornado's since 1998.

After dropping Boo off at her mom's, I managed to dodge the severe weather and check river conditions for next weekend's paddle trip. I needed current information for the boy scout / girls soccer paddle planning meeting.

Presently the Rock Crawfish and Bark Rivers are out of the question for a group of 11 to 14 year olds. It looks like we will need to shuttle the group to a safer location. More rain is expected later in the week, blah.

In Columbus just north of us, the Crawfish river is raging. The city of Columbus has moved heavy equipment on to bridges to keep the water from washing them off their foundations. Thirteen dams are in jeopardy of collapse. Emergency management is earning their pay this week for sure.

I ventured to the Oconomowoc River and did the section between Fowler Lake and Oconomowoc Lake. It looks to be our only safe option at this point if conditions don't improve.

Yikes - The Capt'n

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Indecision 2008

Nothing to do with politics - thank goodness... but with nothing but the beer light to guide me decisions need to be made.

It would appear at first glance that Boo is out for 8 weeks due to her broken ankle/leg. Though kids heal very fast and she has this very determined look on her face to be back on the water by June 23 for the Hardcore Adventure Camp. A decision is needed. The dilemma is that a couple of her friends have signed on for the adventure and with out Boo (potentially not going) it has thrown a cracked bent shaft paddle into the mix.

We are back in the Doc's office in 7 days, so we'll hear what he has to say.


Well I ended up submitting an e-mail for the last (150th) spot in the MR340. I sent a request in as instructed. Solo male - Sea Wind - #0017. There is just so much energy around this event I was drawn to it. Handful of the Watertribe are going in Sea Winds.

The decision might have been made by my semi-induced coma of Tyranena Beer. As we know deep with in the beer lies the legend and half baked decisions. So waiting to hear back from Scott race director to see if I got in before bar time.

Paddle / Sailing Rendezvous

High winds choppy conditions brought some excitement to Lake Mendota for the Paddle / Sailing Rendezvous yesterday. Storms blew in late afternoon, tornado warnings and storming conditions prevailed over the afternoon festivities. But...

Boo and I went early morning and watched the participants set up all sorts of sailing / paddling configurations. Breeze and chop building... Two recreational paddlers a man and a woman who flipped their canoe about 200 yards out from shore.

Further investigation would indicate, no skill set on self rescue, no life jackets and two very cold paddlers in the water clinging to their craft. John and I paddled out, grabbed their Coleman (turd) canoe while a powerboat pulled the couple from the water. No words were exchanged as they had their stupid caps on pretty snug.

All's well in Stupidville - The Capt'n

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Black River

Great vistas and scenic bluffs on the Black River. The Black River is a river in west-central Wisconsin and tributary of the Mississippi River and is approximately 160 mile long.

The river can be divided into two sections, divided by the dam at Black River Falls. The upstream section averages 6.6 feet/mile gradient, while the lower section through the Driftless area only averages 1.7 feet/mile gradient.

An additional distinction is that the upper section has a substrate predominantly rocky and soil that contributes tannin, while the lower section has a predominantly sandy substrate. The tannin content of the water is the source of the river's name.

Did a great section between Black River Falls, WI and Melrose this past weekend. I was digging on the sign 3 days to the Mississippi. The weather was perfect. Lots of knats and the skeeters were in full force.
The put-in at Mason's Landing is pretty nice. There is limited parking, so you don't get a lot of people there. Though there are some outfitters that run trips in the area. I saw a group put in on Sunday for an afternoon paddle further down river. Otherwise pretty much had the river to ourselves.

A jewel in the making, Lost Canyon. A mile long gorge that can only be accessed from the river offers a series of water falls and high sandstone walls. A nice hike to mix it up a bit if you are taking kids on a trip. NOTE: All Private Property on either side of the stream. Enforced by land owners. North woods justice if found trespassing!

The water was much lower two years ago when I could paddle completely under this under cut. You really have to keep an eye on the water levels if you paddle the Black River. Your choice of sandbars could leave you soaking wet if rain falls. The river is a 2 feet lower then what it was on Friday.

Lunch stop on Sunday. Don't you just love the spruce green Railrider suplex nylon pants? Can't wait to get my gear back from Mark in a couple of weeks. I'm styling...

The Black opens up quite a bit has you head further towards the Mississippi River. Not as popular as the Wisconsin River, as it is quite a drive for an overnight paddle. But well worth the trip once you get there.

Bill and his son Issac came along for the weekend. Issac's second year of paddling his own kayak. He did really well and kept the boat moving.

Marissa had a sleep over and has started a dog walking business otherwise she would have been along too. Bad news is while walking (rollerblading with the dog) Marissa fell and ended up breaking her leg on Saturday. So she is in a splint right now and goes in to get a cast on today. (waiting for the swelling to go down). Looking at 6 weeks in a cast.


Hang in there Boo!! - Love Dad