Sunday, November 30, 2008

What a difference

What a difference a day makes. Boo M and I check out the Crawfish River on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The river is running crystal clear. If you know the Crawfish, this is a rarity. Normally field run off has this stretch of river a shallow murky hull scratching venture.

No boat on the Jeep, so we hiked around the Aztalan reading some of the historical markers of the lost civilization of the Mississippian era. Pretty interesting, worth a visit for a look see.

Boo and M went to their mom's for a visit. so Sunday found me on the water early. Here is a shot looking down river, calm when I put in, the wind picks up out of the Northeast and puts a chill in the air. What a difference lack of sun and less 10 degrees makes from yesterday's balmy 40+ sunny weather.

Looks like the snow is here to stay, with more on the way. The wind is supposed to build out of the North to around 25 mph by this afternoon. With temps. wavering around freezing, we are looking at a slushy inch or two of the white stuff coming later in the day.

Looking up river were getting some ice forming along the shore. Last couple of days have found us waking up to ice on the pond and as the day warms, back to open water in the afternoon. We're close to a complete freeze over for the season on Rock Lake, forcing us to the moving water of the local rivers. This section of the Crawfish is perfect for 4 season paddling.
Today's morning paddle was more of a float as I took a few holiday calls from family while drinking hot coffee from the Thermos.
Though it did give me a chance to try out a new pair of paddling bibs. The Bell Yellowstone is a kneeler. It was nice to have on a pair of bibs with double reinforced knees, adding to the comfort. The bibs are insulated which makes them extremely warm. Nice and toasty!
I go with bibs over pants for cold water paddling, so if your jacket rides up it doesn't leave your back exposed. These new bibs are much warmer then the West Marine storm bibs I have, which do not breathe and are cold to the touch. The insulation on the inside of the new bibs makes all the difference.
Let it snow - The Capt'n

Monday, November 24, 2008

Humorized - Krugerized

Iced out for a Sunday paddle with Boo. We looked at pictures from the Everglades Challenge 2008. We got a set of photos from RiverJohn that seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle.

To truly be "Krugerized" one must be "Humorized" as well, they go hand in hand. I found this picture of Mark and just started laughing. Had to post it. To hear the fully embellished story come paddle the Big Manistee in January.

When packing gear for an extended trip, don't forget to pack a sense of humor. -The Capt'n

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nature's chimes

Skim Ice on the Southern Shore

Goose pond possibly the last week before being iced out for the winter

Natures Chimes
Wednesday's paddle was exhilarating. Brisk wind out of the west found me hugging the South West shore of Rock Lake.
As I paddled the ice encrusted reed grass, I could hear nature's chimes. The ice against the shore sounded like the clinking of champagne glasses. In my nature intoxicated state, I paddled right to a duck blind and a lone hunter.
He was very pleasant and didn't see me till I was right on him. I was thinking champagne glasses, he was thinking deer or wayward dog crashing through the grasses. We were still in the cloak of the early morning darkness.
As I rounded the point there must have been at least a hundred wood ducks seeking the shelter of the windward shore. :-) The must have been very tired (or maybe ducks don't fly in the dark) none took to the air.
It reminded me of the old Warner Bros. cartoon where Elmer Fud is hunting and all the ducks are hiding on the other side of the knoll.
paddle paddle...chuckle - The Capt'n

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

He's got the look

Iced out!

We got frost on the pumpkin today my friends, 19 degrees on this brisk clear morning – and that’s’ in my drafty old house!! :-)

I’m starting to get those looks from the non-believers in cold water paddling, as I drive by with the Sea Wind on the Jeep. "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, frozen gloves and paddle in hand..." Come on...Sing it with me....

To each their own I guess....

Keep an eye on these websites....Around the world for very different reasons.

Check out the 3 who dare - AIT (around in ten)
Check out - Eye of the World (Alan Stewart and Company)

Thanks Dawn for the posting!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Don't ask, don't tell

This post is a little out of sync as I had already posted on our paddling adventure in the Cherokee Marsh, but Saturday proved very interesting at the Paddlin Shop.

What I most admire about John, is his ability to inspire and humiliate himself all at the same time. :-)

John like myself just loves boats.... small boats in particular that are either wind or human powered. Canoes, row boats, skiffs and prams there all good.

So what in the heck is he sitting in? Well it is two Klepper folding sailboats stern to stern, to make a 24' double ended camp cruiser.

I razzed John for a good hour on his idea... claiming his canvas wood design was the perfect makings for a bonfire. Then a funny sensation came over me; what he had going on was starting to make sense, or was it the coma induced sensation I was feeling from numerous cups of apple spice tea?

No one will really ever know for sure, but one thing we do know is John had a smile from ear to ear, just contemplating the possibilities. Isn't that what it is all about anyway?

So a tip of the paddle to you John, go for it!

For me, well... I'll get Lake Mendota Rescue on speed dial for ya- The Capt'n

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cherokee Marsh

Let's paddle.

Cherokee Marsh (extensive wetland complex of more then 2000 acres) lies on the northeast side of Madison, Wisconsin and marks the entry of the Yahara River into Lake
Mendota - one of the major lakes for which Madison is known for.
John arrived about 15 minutes before me and was already on the water. I gave him a lesson in how to portage a Kruger. I had the drag line out and pulled the Sea-Wind across the frozen wood chips. John just shook his head and smiled. No dragging his beautiful canvas wood canoe.

John against a back drop of snow clouds
A jewel of a location so close to the city of Madison. A very nice and convenient place to get the boat wet in November.
John and I put in a couple hours watching the storm clouds roll by. The sun won out as a brisk Northerly pushed the clouds to the South. We were hoping to see some real snow, but were denied.
Where Canvas meets Kevlar
We were given a gift this Sunday morning. The air was crisp and the sun shown bright. We drifted in the shallows sharing a Thermos of coffee talk adventure and taking it all in.
Does it get any better then this in November - The Capt'n

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not a word...hush it's a secret

Photo by, Kris Doan
I love the fact that after all the years I worked with Kris, she now has the time to get photos like these. I assume this shot is from her deck over-looking the lake she now calls home. Not a word, just a picture sent.
Kris leaves no forwarding address; she knows.... :-)
I'm thinking holiday bash at the lake, a little payback for some Tom Foolery of days past.
Calling on the elders of the Moose Lodge, Gino and Bill. If only the green Van were still in service.
ROAD TRIP!! - The Capt'n

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's that time of year

Where's the river?

Race adventure and event organizers are putting the final touches on 2009 schedule. Some have entry open, others are waiting till the first of the year. So many events to choose from.
The dificulty factors vary and the price to participate varies as well. The other diference is of-course is the indirect costs of these under-takings. Gear equipment travel food lodging and the time commitment.
Boo and I talked in length about 2009. We are un-decided on which direction to take. Our adventure budget is limited to just one big undertaking. It sure is fun to dream, plan and execute. What to do what to do what to do? I know one thing, my big event will be done with one or both of my daughters. An adventure with them is too precious to pass up.
Here is an event on the rise. A little over my experience level and capabilities. Not for the timid or inexperienced.
In true Kruger form, a tough tough event. The time of year is a challenge in itself, the route brutal. Can you imagine crossing Lake Michigan East to West in May?
It looks like there will be winter training sessions leading up to the event. There is talk of a January two day overnight paddle on the Big Manistee as a tune up.
Mark and I have kicked around meet ups and paddle weekends leading up to the event for "his" training. I could use the experience to increase my skill set 10 fold. The nice thing about it, all within driving distance of my home.
The boys from Canada have chimed in as well as Dan Smith a paddling partner of Verlen's back in the day. I think it ill be an elite group that take this one on, one to follow a learn from.
The Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge 2009 -
In the spring of 1790 British trader Hugh Heward, together with seven French-Canadian paddlers in two birch bark canoes, departed Detroit on a trip that would take them to the Chicago Portage and then via the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers to the Mississippi.
Instead of following the usual exploration and trade route north through Lake Huron and the Straits of Mackinac then south through Lake Michigan, the Heward party went downstream on the Detroit River into Lake Erie, then upstream on the Huron River.
They eventually worked their way to the divide between the Lake Erie and Lake Michigan watersheds, portaged their canoes and goods into a tributary of the Grand River, then paddled down the Grand to Lake Michigan. In effect, they took a short cut across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Once in Lake Michigan they coasted the east and south shores of the big lake until they reached the Chicago River.
In the Spring of 2009 the Verlen Kruger Memorial board is hosting the Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge 2009 duplicating the Heward party’s epic journey.
This looks to be an extremely difficult route. If your considering a challenge of this magnitude, now is the time to start planning. On April 17th, 2009 pure adventure begins.
Re-posted in part as written "River Thoughts"-Jim Woodruff

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hey Cool Breeze

The last day for the Crocks (a fave paddle shoe of mine). Water temps have dropped significantly on our inland lakes. Burr...
We've had some great late October / November weather for sure, making paddling a pleasure, but a dip in the pond will be a numbing experience. Dress for the water not the air, has been stated many times on paddling blogs in the Nort'woods, take heed weekend warriors.
Here is a shot of a Lake Michigan beach just south of the South Shore Yacht Club. Yep we have sandy wind swept beaches too. That is the Milwaukee skyline in the background. This were we paddled last Sunday with the Milwaukee Sea Kayakers group.
The hour and a 1/2 drive makes my Lake Michigan paddle experiences far and few between. Hard to pass up the 12 or so lakes and the handful of rivers and creeks within literally minutes from Lake Mills.
Speaking of creeks another hidden jewel near my house, best run in early spring when the water levels are more favorable, makes for good rock hopping in the fall.
This picture was taken on yesterday's scouting adventure ..... in which I dropped my Kodak V803 8.0 mega pixel camera in the creek. Again.... :-/
I tried baking it on the dashboard with a "cool breeze" (worked before, warm breeze creates condensation on the lens) from the defroster aiding the drying out process... but I think it's done in. Drats.
Now I'm down to the 2 mega pixel camera on my phone. Time to up grade to a water proof camera, or at least use the waterproof case I that I left conveniently in the car. "Son of a..."
Too add insult to loss, I fell in the creek as well (soaking wet) made for a soggy trek and uncomfortable drive home.
Ouch! How am I doing so far? - The Capt'n

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Secrets to tell

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep. (paddle paddle) - Rumi

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Milwaukee Sea Kayakers

This is what I'm talking about...

Good morning sunshine! We have had some incredible weather these past few days. I had to make a tough choice on Sunday, the rake or the paddle? Hmm, can you guess... the paddle won out.

I checked e-mail just before pushing off, when I saw a post from the Milwaukee Sea Kayakers Yahoo group stating they would be going out on Lake Michigan, and meeting at the South Shore Yacht Club around 10:00am.

Perfect, I scurried about, grabbed gear and threw the Sea Wind on the rack.

Many questions raced through my head. Would kayak purist except a canoeist? Would I be late to the put-in? Do I have everything I need for a paddle on the big pond in November? Where the heck is South Shore Yacht Club anyway? Will Silbs buy my coffee? :-)

Line'em up for coffee

I had the basics for a day paddle on Lake Michigan. I did forget my paddle float and the skirt for the Sea-Wind, but not really necessary as my plan was to hug the shore with water temps. in the 50's anyway.

Playing it safe, I stayed on the inside of the breakwater and had to dig a bit to catch the group that had left about 10 minutes before me.

I had taken numerous photos with my I-phone and had planned on posting them. Unfortunately the phone took a dump at coffee and wouldn't take calls or send data anymore and I didn't have my digital camera.

I just want to say that the folks at Best Buy Delafield, Jason in particular replaced my phone, transferred the data that would transfer and had me out the door in minutes. Way to go Jason!!

Anyway, we had a nice but brief paddle as the wind and chop were building out of the South East. It felt like I could have used another 100lbs in the boat for ballast as I was bobbing around like a cork in the rollers.

Upon returning we went for coffee. Finally had a chance to meet up with Silbs who is a blogger and has supported Boo in her paddling adventures. I was welcomed with open arms, canoe and all! Yes Silbs was buying me coffee too! Life is good in Brew City!!

I met some very nice people from the group. Hard to get to know everyone in such a short period of time, though Karen and I have a mutual friend (Sheila) who is from Jefferson. There is a great story about Sheila, though I am sworn to secrecy.

We can't have everyone knowing how forgetful Sheila is and that she lost two paddles in two seasons and I found them both after bumping into her at the beach almost a year and a half later... Ooops!

Sorry Sheila, must have been all that coffee... :-) The Capt'n

The Bark River

The Bark River is a tributary of the Rock River, about 55 miles of twists and turns. joining the Rock River in Fort Atkinson, it is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River.

The Bark River rises in southern Washington County and flows generally southwestward through the communities of Hartland, Delafield and Rome and through several medium and small lakes.

Some of the Bark is choked off with dead fall and a few spillways dams and low bridges. Most can be navigated with out getting out of the canoe, some you just have to portage around.

The Bark river is one of my favorite "quick paddle" spots being twenty minutes away in Fort Atkinson and 30 minutes from the Sugar Island put-in near Delafield. It offers a remote feel has a mild current and offers a up north feel with limited structures homes and buildings.

Saturday's found me alone on the Bark. Mild temperatures (low 70's) and the solitude made this an incredible experience. The water is crystal clear. I saw a crayfish the size of my hand in the shallows. Which is about 3 times larger then I have ever seen before.

I put-in at Dousman and did an up hill paddle to the Nemahbin Lakes and turned around and leisurely made my way back. Outstanding.

Late night experience

The Manitou made a brief visit arriving late on Friday night. On a mission to scout locations for the Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge 2009 our visit was short. Arriving just before midnight we managed to talk paddling and adventure, knocked back a few barley pops while playing with his new puppy "Gabby".

Gabby is a big dog trapped in a small dog body. At 18 weeks old, in a word.... a terror. Lots of energy and full of the dickens.

Michelle made the trip too. It was wonderful to see them both. Thirty minutes with these two and your packing dry bags and sorting gear. The adventure is on!

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own. -Benjamin Disraeli