Monday, February 09, 2015

Adventures in Winter Kayaking.

Forgive me for my absence.  Really have I a million things to share. I just am having a harder time getting myself to actually write anything. 

Newest adventure first -  
How do I create the suspense I want for this post?  Well, there you are- you are warned that it really should be suspenseful, but you already know the outcome..... 
If you have read any part of this blog, you would know that I like to Kayak.  I'm not just a summer and it's warm and there is nothing else to do person.  I am a - lets plan this for weeks on end and go every Saturday that the temperature will even sort of allow you to be out on the water.  I like the temp to be somewhere above 38 degrees F, without a ton of wind;  that about covers my expectations. 
Saturday, January 31st,  fulfilled my preferences and after testing the air at 7:00am, I was ready to hit the road and get some kayaking done.  My only other caveat is that I prefer to go with other people.  I know it's not a great idea to go alone, especially when the creeks are up and it is cold outside. This weekend, my normal crowd planned an outing and I was thrilled to tag along. 
Most of the day was fabulous.   The sun finally came out from behind the clouds;  the birds were flying or swimming as they are likely to do. Some turtles even came out to soak up a few rays from the weak sun.  We had done about 8 miles of the 12 mile trip when I had 2 choices of direction I should take. 
Instead of just taking the simple route of beaching my craft and walking around the huge log that crossed the entire creek.  I changed my mind in the middle and tried to get all the way across to the low spot of the log that ran just under the water.  I had waited just a smidge too long to change directions.  Of course I was sort of sideways across the creek, trying to make it to the far side. 
That log created a lovely blockage and caused the river the speed up there to go under and around it.  I hit the log with the flat side of my kayak.  I'm not even sure if I had hit it head on that it would have made much difference.  I would have wound up in the same situation. 
I was almost to the end of the log to go over the low side.  Sadly I pushed down with my paddle on the upstream side of the log and leaned.  OOPS- of course this is your first instinct to do anyway- so almost everyone does this at least once.  My lovely kayak that had kept me from dunking for over a year; gracefully tipped into the on coming water and schloooopI got pulled under with the current. 
This wasn't the first time I had experienced this phenomenon.  I did this once long ago on a whitewater trip in West Virginia.  There is video proof of that adventure.  None of this one. 
I found myself in the water.  Not quite upside down, but disoriented, never the less.  I opened my eyes and found the light and properly swam with the current to the far side of the log.  I could not go any farther I would find, because I was tangled in my many cords coming off the kayak.  (I'll be rethinking my paddle leash after this incident.)    
The log had two lovely fist sized stumps sticking out on my side of it.  I was able to grab those and pull my upper half mostly out of the water.  I noticed the cords and paddle basically holding me there at this time.  My buddy, who is usually the really crazy one, shows up to help drag me to shore.  It took us a few minutes to disengage me from my tangles. 
I realized about this time that the water did not feel nearly as cold as I expected it to be in January.  Also, the current was rather strong and it felt the need to steal my cheap rubber boots right off my feet.  My buddy got me to shore and I crawled upright and started peeling off the many layers of wet clothing.  I looked up to see the other two guys crawling out on the log to disengage my boat from the log. 
I was certainly cold, but surprisingly did not feel like hypothermia was happening to me.  I pulled off my neoprene neck wrap- as I hate the wind on my neck - and found my chest under it was still sort of dry.  Oh how I love neoprene now!  I'm sure by keeping my chest mostly dry, I was more capable of continuing to function. 
It took a bit to dislodge my boat.  The log and current were doing a great job at holding it hostage. I peeled off all the outer layers and was working on my socks when Boyscout came over with his canoe and picked me and my wet clothes up and took me to where the other guys had managed to wrangle my boat to the shore.   
My kayak is very open inside and it was completely filled with water.  They had to turn it over then set it up on end to get most of the water out.  My extra clothes, in the dry bag, were still attached, so they threw that to me and I started layering on new stuff.  My giant Irish wool sweater and other coat were lovely to find.  My head sock had gotten wet, but some clean socks and some outer wear pants  were great to help hold in what heat I had left.   
I was missing some gloves and shoes; as the current ate my boots.  Boyscout once again came to the rescue with both gloves and soft boots to survive the rest of the trip. 
Later when we took inventory, I had only lost my boots and my Garmin.  I still had glasses on my face. My water bottle and seat cushion had been rescued, along with everything else attached to the boat.   My phone, camera, lunch and 1/2 skirt were all still there and properly connected.  
Garmin is being great and helping me with a replacement at a discounted price.  My Fitbit survived the dunk and continued wetness in my shirt until I got home.  After syncing it and checking the time - it looks like I went in about 1:40 in the afternoon.  The Fitbit then shows I started walking again at 3:15, which means it took an hour and a half to dislodge my boat and paddle the last 4 miles. My buddy W.. really turned on the speed to help me keep warm and get out pretty quick. 
I am pleased to say that this experience, while a little hair-raising, has not deterred me from planning  other winter kayaking trips.  I am thinking long and hard about going out on Trammel creek coming up, but I may not go because of lack of boots and not from abject fear.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kayak - I think I almost live in mine......

Dear Friends,
It has been 3 months since my last confession, please forgive me.  How many posts will it take for you to forgive me?

I just realized that the last time I posted it was July.  It's now October. Shame on me.

I just counted and it looks like I've only gone Kayaking 7 times, Since my last post- but it seems like so many more trips.
We drove back to Michigan 2 times since then. The trip at the beginning of August was out to Proud lake to stay in the cabins and go kayaking on the Huron River was fabulous.
I'm glad that a few people were able to come hang out with us.  It was a great weekend.
You should be able to click on the pictures to make them "embiggen".

 The swans were mighty pretty, and the little dam makes a nice little swimming area and fun place to hang out for a bit.


 I got D to try out my kayak and we got other friends to come down with their gear to hang out.   And then we got one of the cutest wee ones out with his dad.
I have to say that was a fabulous weekend.
Tom is learning to cook with a dutch oven.  He enjoyed that a great deal.
The cabin is rather comfy and just one of the nicest places to hang out with friends.
I think we will try to do it again next year, so put it on your calendar folks.  The first weekend in August-  Sunday afternoon.


I have tons more photos and other things to write about.  I promise to try and keep up a little better.

Wow, it's October.  Halloween is almost upon us.  I need to find some stuff to decorate.  Where is that box hiding????

Monday, July 14, 2014

Two months Wrap up..... whew Sorry

Shame on Me!!!  It's been since MAY that I posted.  I apologize.

Let's wrap up what happened between then and now....
May- One trip on the Green River- lovely part of 300 springs section with cool waterfalls. Pictures - http://www.meetup.com/paddling-51/photos/22104752/
Cook out with Bowling Green Canoe and Kayak meetup group.   We were so busy eating I don't think anyone took pictures.. lol

Saw Addams Family at SkyPac.  Went to a Retirement party for someone we Kayak with.
Then tried to get ready for New Orleans.
The end of May got really messy and the first week of June was terrible.

I guess I'm not really ready to write about that yet.  You'd think I could and yet it doesn't want to come out.

June got better starting Saturday, June 7th.  We left mom here at the house and left for the south.  It was wonderful to spend some time with our friends in Alabama.  We talked about life and what to do in New Orleans. I was very saddened that they could not come spend a day or 2 with us in the City.  But, life happens to everyone.

We actually got to New Orleans on Sunday the 8th and managed to have the best dinner in a long time at a nice restaurant in the French Quarter, down past the out door market.  We tried everything.  Shrimp something, Gumbo, Fried Chicken and I can't even remember what I had.  Their bread pudding was to die for - that much I remember.  They gave us so much fried chicken that we had them box it and gave it to homeless people on our way back to the condo.

Monday was the WWII museum and it was worth every penny and more.  The cafe was fabulous!!  The 4D movie was even better.  Plan for ALLLLL day.  Really, it will take you all day.
Tuesday was the zoo.  YES!!
It was a nice zoo, not too big, but not that small.  They are rebuilding the Elephant Habitat so they are not on view all the time.  Two old girls who were happy to get some attention.
It rained on us some and we rode the St. Charles Street Car from one end to the other.  That was fun.  Later that evening we went for a pedal cab tour of the French Quarter, it was great.  The sun had set so it was getting cooler and we did not have to squint to enjoy the view.
Wednesday, we went to the Aquarium and enjoyed the day indoors. It was a bit hot. LOL.
On Thursday, we rode the Canal streetcar from one end to the other in order to see the Cemeteries.  It was fun and beyond hot, we forgot to bring water bottles and basically paid for that. Hats were the saving grace of that day.

On Friday we drove all the way Home.  It was long and mostly boring.  I can not believe how much of NOTHING there was on the drive through Mississippi.  I think we saw one town, the whole drive.
Saturday, I dragged myself out of bed and headed out to Kayak with our group.

There was NEW water scheduled and I was not going to miss out.  Turns out it was about 14 -17 miles.  The distance changes every time someone talks about that trip.  It was a lovely day and it DID take forever, but we did have a good time. First trip I have gone on where I had cell service the whole time.  I almost had a heart attack when the phone rang.  pictures - http://www.meetup.com/paddling-51/photos/22554222/

Class started in late June and I am happy to say most of my students are kicking butt and will probably finish.
We then did the Green River again through Mammoth Cave park and had a cookout at the cabin afterward.  The coolest part about that whole trip - is- WE are going to be on TV.  PBS came to do a show about the Green river and us crazy folk who go on it all the time.  I did get interviewed and Hubby managed to act a fool at one point, so I figured there will be video of us in the show. It sounds like the show will air in September.   pictures - http://www.meetup.com/paddling-51/photos/22859922/

I went looking for information and it's not out there yet.

July came on us really quickly!!!! We drove home to Michigan for my birthday and the 4th of July.  What a busy weekend that became.  It was wonderful to see everyone.
We drove a little less this trip - thanks everyone - and survived.  LOL

This past weekend we were in Tennessee to kayak the Caney Fork River and stay at Long Branch Campground.  It's right below the dam that starts the river and WOW, the temperature drops quick and nice at night so you don't die in a tent.  The river is filled with fish, clear to look through and down right COLD..
I will return to paddle this river again.  Can't wait to go back!!!
Here is the link to the Caney Fork trip -   http://www.meetup.com/paddling-51/photos/23146852/

Monday, May 05, 2014

Chicken Hair Dressers

Last week I got my hair colored for like the 4th or 5th time since moving to Kentucky.

This is usually not any kind of big deal, my hair grows fast and so the grey is starting to peek out a little sooner.  Actually most of the time I wish it was the grey, it's the weird brown that looks terrible under everything else.

This time, as most of you have seen on Facebook, I'm finally back to the COPPER and Blond stripes that I had before I moved down here.  It took an entire year to get this color back.   Why did it take that long??

It seems that I must chalk it up to "chicken hair dresser"  or "hair stylist", which ever you prefer.
Back last year we started with the exact same color I used in Michigan.   I was flabbergasted that it did not work.  It came out brown.  Why??   The only thing we can guess is the CITY water in Royal Oak (Detroit water) has different chemicals in it than the water here in Bowling Green.  Hence the problem.

I let her experiment with some other stuff a couple times and then the kicker.  The last time she did my hair, they had found a Copper color and she had the nerve to put - neutralizer in it.  Really, really???  Neutralizer, you saw the color of my hair the first time, it was crazy copper.  For some reason you thought I would freak out?  Am I really that old??  Do I look that cranky???

It's HAIR, I have been doing crazy (although not as much as others) stuff to my hair since I was a kid.  Heck, I even got perms in the 80's - don't judge.  It grows really fast (as long as it is short) and ta-da, if I don't like it today - give it three weeks and it will change.

Anyway - I now have Copper and of course it will fade to brown, but that's the whole point.  You are shiny and crazy for a couple weeks and then become a normal person again.  I guess this is how I stay out of the Tattoo shops.  Needles---- {quiver}


Sunday, May 04, 2014

Kayamping in Kentucky.....

The title really doesn't express the true BIGNESS of this experience.

The last weekend in April, we did an overnight Kayak trip in Mammoth Cave National Park.
It was our longest paddle to date - 20 miles Saturday and 11 on Sunday.

You may ask, "Who in the world are you doing all this crazy stuff with...?"
I have to tell you, it's a group of people we met through  Meetup.com - Bowling Green Canoe and Kayak group.
This particular group has been around for a while now.  The website says it was founded back in 2008.  There is a pretty good group of hard core paddlers, who try to go out almost every weekend, or at least the 2 x's a month as scheduled .  I've sort of wormed my way into the group.  Hey, if you show up, you belong.

Being the person voted most likely to - bring tooooo much stuff -  it was very interesting trying to pack for this trip.
I spent several days organizing all the stuff we really needed and then the stuff we were bringing to share in food.  I thought I did an impressive job of bringing the least amount of stuff possible, but more than what I needed.  I did need my jacket, that I almost left behind.  I also could have used a sheet or something - my sleeping bag was not quite right for the bum I was trying to squeeze into it.  I wiggled around enough to finally get the important bits warm and Hubby fit in his fine (except for his feet (of Course)) and we did get a bit of sleep.

Thanks to my brother for the tent and little air mattress. Hope you weren't planning on getting that back any time soon.  I found an air mattress thing for Tom (on sale) and we got back-packer sleeping bags.

We have accumulated a few dry bags now and thank goodness.  I spent an evening packing and repacking to fit everything the best I could.    Funny thing is- we almost forgot to cook the bacon before we left.  That would have taken FOREVER to do in the woods.  We got it done and packed for the trip in record time.

In actuality, Hubby and I had a LOT more room to take stuff than we needed.  The loaded down cooler was really the only thing that put his boat at a feeling of tipsy.  I had plenty more room behind me in my boat and I know we did not over stuff his boat; I'm thinking of getting a camp table or tiny camp chairs.  Our boat seats are the camp chairs, but getting up and down is a little rough.

15 people went and we did have an excellent time.  And Hubby was the only person who wound up IN the water.  And that was saving someone else's gear.  It was warm enough that he dried out and didn't suffer from the quick rinse.

So, you probably want to see pictures.....  Of course....  Here....



 Blue Hole- very cold water...


 need a new sign...

Yes, lovely canoe as table..

Strawberry ice cream. yum...


Packing to leave 

 Cooler weighed a lot less going home.



If you want to see more photos - including some from a big DSLR ( oh I'm too chicken to take mine..)  The link is at the bottom of this page.  The DLSR photos are at the end of the pictures - go to page 13 and 14....

http://www.meetup.com/paddling-51/photos/21540682/


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One WHOLE YEAR....

Oh my,  That means I probably have to change the title of the blog again......

We have officially lived in Kentucky for One whole year.
I'll admit that looking back, it has been rather exciting - doing all these new things and trying to make friends here and connect with the ones back in Michigan.

New experiences - Caves.  I love the BIG caves with the tours and all the campy stuff associated.  I haven't really gotten Tom too interested, but Mom and I did a good job of hitting most of them when her and I came down by ourselves.     I love going to Fundraisers at the Lost River Cave.  It feels a bit glamorous.

Kayaking - sure we paddled in Michigan and did White Water in West Virginia, but I have to tell you - it is very different looking at the blue holes, and the hill sides, and the caves, and the cow farms.  We upgraded our Kayaks and built a darn trailer to haul all our stuff around.  I'd say we went from occasional water folk, to full on outdoorsy even..
  I can not wait for the over night trip in Mammoth Cave Park on the Green River.

Community College - I LOVE IT.  I really enjoy working there.  The students are fascinating and the people I work with are really great. I look forward to continuing to work there.  (I have a fall schedule already. :~)

It's a College Town - Okay, we don't go downtown where the kids hang out. But once in a while we go somewhere and it is VERY obvious that we live in a town with a TON of 20 somethings.  It helps me feel young. HA

The weather - I should not brag.  We moved down here the right year....  I'm sorry all my Michigan friends and family-  You can keep all that snow....

Friends coming here to visit.  That means YOU!!!!!  
We have had a great time having visitors.  You are welcome to visit.  We might even take you Kayaking.  LOL

It has been an interesting year. I'm so glad we took this chance and tried living somewhere new.  Life is too short to sit in one place for too long.  For all the faults you could find here, there are plenty going on in Michigan too.  Just need to take where you are and work with it.  I am working this place as well as I can.!!!

I think the Dogs like it here too.  LOL
Hugs, I miss you all.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kayaking in The Nashville area

I stumbled across the Nashville website through the  Jackson Kayak blogs.
I was looking at stuff about taking your dog with you...

ANYWAY-  I found this.......

Water Access and Blueways in Nashville.


Tomorrow, Tom and I (and the Bowling Green Canoe and Kayak Meetup Group) are going out on the Harpeth River in Tennessee.
It's about an 1 hour  & 45 minutes away.  I'm not sure we are going to the put in and take out that are listed on the website above, but I would hazard a guess it will be close to there either way.


I wanted to put that Link on my blog so that I could find it later.......
I'll probably put up pictures from the trip soon, and well - Sunday is our 10th Anniversary.
Oh MY!!!!

Enjoy your weekend, I certainly will.