Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lumpy Waters Symposium 2014

Last week and weekend I got to spend a few days being coached and coaching at the Lumpy Water Symposium 2014, hosted by Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe in Pacific City, Oregon. Wave forecast wasn't great-a mountain of water was forecast to come ashore Saturday and stick around Sunday (it did). We had beautiful weather with 12-14 foot waves at 18 seconds from the WNW. Not neccessarily the best conditions for teaching folks who self assessed as introductory/intermediate conditions and want to work on boat control and flatwater skills development. Luckily, we had multiple locations that offered sheltered water for skill building without dodging mountains of water.
Gearing up on at the Nestucca River Boat Launch. Look at all those boats!
I spent Thursday in Portland doing my Level 2 UKCC coach assessment, which went well. Big shout out to John, Seth, Levi, and Andrew for also passing and doing a great job teaching and rescuing at assessment. Cheers guys!  Immediately after I headed out to Pacific City, about a 3 hour drive.
There were kayak rollers, kayak fisherpeople, and skills class all at the same location. Quite a variety of craft.
Friday afternoon I helped Kim Grandfield teach a rescue class for both folks who had never practiced a rescue in their lives, and also folks who just wanted more practice.

Steve Macdonald working on progressive edge development.
Saturday I had a double dose of edging AND Steves. In the morning I taught Paddling the Edge & Beyond with Steve Macdonald of Beyond Adventure in Scotland. He is a mighty fine coach and I highly recommend anyone going over to his neck of the woods to check him out.

One v. one time with a student.
Circuit training.
Mary, one of our most enthusiastic students.
Paddle warmups.
Steve Pilch (of Alder Creek) and I co-taught Paddling the Edge again that afternoon-after a good warmup of paddle rotation.

Steve Pilch showing how to play the game.

Seal launching with Gordon Brown.
Gordon Brown of Skyak Adventures was one of the coaches I didn't get to work with but did get more than a few interactions with. He is apparently a very helpful guy!

Not everyone on the same page!
Who is having fun here?
Great clouds.
Sunday I helped with an exploratory class, Dynamic Maneuvering, that paddled 2 nm to the mouth of the Nestucca River looking for conditions that were not quite as huge as the outer coast. We found conditions with surf, current, and many, many fishing boats.  Had there been no fishing boats, this venue would have been phenomenal. Very dynamic, but not unsafe, and the current brought us back into safe waters. The fishing boats were coming around blind corners at speed, had multiple fishing lines in the water, and were under power at all times due to the current speed. We split into two, smaller groups and worked around the fishermen so that we could achieve our course aims without putting ourselves in unsafe situations and not disturbing the fishermen.
Heading out on an exploratory mission to the mouth of the Nestucca River.
 Not for us! A successful course is a safe course.
Big shout out to Paul Kuthe, Suzi, and Dave at Alder Creek for bringing me down and putting me up, and running a symposium that smooth. I saw so many smiles and so much improvement across the board. Finally, big thanks to my assessors, Steve Mac and Nick Cunliffe. Cheers.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Late, Late Summer Hiking in the Pacific Northwest

It certainly did not feel like October on Sunday when Bri, my father and I hiked up to Annette Lake just west of Snoqualmie Pass. Sunny, clear, 75 degree weather was beautiful and hot. We felt lucky to be hiking in the trees because it would have been too warm baking in the sun otherwise. We took Bella the dog and she had a blast swimming in the lake and chasing sticks. Hopefully we'll get a few more weekends like this before winter comes and turns us all pasty up here on the left coast!

An old growth bridge.
View across the valley.
Looking up a 60ยบ+talus slope
A small mushroom.
Annette Lake.
Hot dog.
Frog or toad?
Dad & dog.
Pretty typical.
Underside of a 'shroom.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Boulder Stretch of the Skykomish River

A group of friends and I ran the Skykomish River at 950 cfs in beautiful sunny weather on Saturday. Lots of granite boulder gardens and boogie water.

Almost no room at the put in.
Really cool rocks made eddy breaks fascinating.
Really, really low low brace.
Howard punching through the hole at the bottom of the rapid "Aquagasm".

Thursday, October 2, 2014

4* Canoe Training

I had the opportunity to take a 4* canoe training with the talented Rob Yates. John, Wendy, Rob and I spent a day doing sailing and flatwater techniques, a day doing tandem paddling and traditional skills, and a day doing downriver solo leadership on Lake Sammamish, the Snoqualmie River, and the Skykomish River, respectively. With low flows, the Skykomish was a bit difficult and rocky and what is listed as a grade 2 river has rapids as hard as grade 4.  We had our fair share of carnage, with a few pinned canoes, a few swimmers, and a bit of broken kit. 
Official BCU Sailing Rig.
Slowly but surely upstream.
Eddy hopping downstream.
John in control of his boat.
Rob catching a wave.
Turning a grade 3 rapid into a grade 2.
Setting up the grade 2 line.
Rob coming down last.
No pin no problem!
Super stoked.
Wendy getting ready to lead me downstream.
Swimming in control back to our boats after hiking up to check on John and his boats.
The long way down.