Monday, April 21, 2014
Following weekend, went with her to Credit. Pretty serious high water. Put in at Streetsville. After she launched there may have been some yelling when she froze and I pictured her going over the weir 400 metres downstream. We practiced eddying in and out, but didn't run it. I blame a momentary lapse into wisdom.
This past weekend, J and I went to run the Credit, and Geoff and Thomas decided to join us, last minute. MEC doesn't rent ww boats anymore apparently, but they managed to get some from Europebound in Oakville. Oh, but they were sea kayaks! Much flipping ensued. Water level had dropped a couple of feet though, so it was good and tame fun.
Bought a new jacket (given up on second one reappearing) that afternoon, and J and I went to Cherry Beach to test out our new gear (she also got a wet suit - apparently it's a cold swim). To make it three times in two days! (got to grateful, regardless of context, at my age) went down the Humber the following day. Not totally boring. In fact, almost immediately J managed to get herself wedged sideways on a couple of tiny rocks, and slowly get flooded, until I grabbed her stern and pulled her free. May have been some crying. Sheesh. I mean, it's not like it was her first time in white water... Had a great time for the rest of the run, saw lots of trout, got lots of sun, and stayed dry.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Holmes boys were scheduled for rendezvous in Hong Kong today. Got an email from Tim saying he'd missed his flight. I caught mine though, and Brendan was already in Hong Kong, so I'd say two out of three ain't bad (or unusual for a Holmes gathering). Not casting aspersions though - in order to make my flight, I only had enough time to pack a spare t-shirt & jumper, rock climbing shoes and toiletries. Travelling light and fast!
Met Brendan and co, had a beer in what could have been Kensington Market if Chinatown expanded (i.e. nice, bustling, pedestrian-friendly), time to crash.
Setting the bar low for photos.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The week prior was spent arranging to borrow gear - little things like a canoe and stove (thanks, Geoff & Lin!), tent and compass (thanks, Noah!) and car (thanks, Wallis family!). Without time to leave Friday night, and nowhere to store a canoe overnight, we opted to pick up a canoe from Geoff's on Saturday morning, on the way out of town. Then we decided we should get a map of...err, where are we going?...and some fuel for the stove. So we drove back downtown, along with several thousand Blue Jays fans, through inevitable construction sites and lane closures. Once Terri bought maps of all the possible parks we might be going to, and fuel, and whatever other essential details I'd forgotten (while I drove around with a 16-foot water craft on my roof, looking impatient and out of place), we headed north.
Terri called for camping permit availability on the way there, after we decided Algonquin was the place to go. Somewhere near access point 3... I was momentarily distracted by an errant foam block coming off the car roof & canoe and bouncing into traffic, which required taking the slightly less than ideal Hwy 427-Finch-Hwy 400, route and the creative use of a towel, but other than that, smooth sailing all the way to Kearny.
The portages were generally easy to find. The first involved stairs up a brutally-steep hillside, but as Canadian ambassador to the Australian tourist, I wasn't about to indicate a diet of double-doubles and donuts makes even a half-Canadian soft, and I threw the canoe on my back and charged up. About 500 metres of balancing a few dozen kilos on my C-6 vertebrae, I requested a change in back-packs, but otherwise we knocked of the first 780 metres of portaging with a minimum of fuss. We stopped for a break on another rock outcrop, and enjoyed some terrific paddling.
unwatched/unreachable locations (of which there are many while carrying 4 bags or a canoe) with impressive skill. We also had a slight diversion in a portage easily seen from the water, but once we lodged ourselves in a marsh full of carnivorous plants (cool!) and shoe-theiving weeds, became hidden. But all part of the fun.
|Terri knocks off a canoe-toting portage|
All these travailes prepared us (or had us dreading) the final 1810 metre portage from McCraney Lake back to Rain Lake. We doused ourselves in DEET and alternated walking and shuffle-jogging, while swatting vigourously and swearing, and even more so when the trail walked BESIDE the destination lake for far-too-bloody long, but reached the end alive, and made us all the more grateful for the cool escape as we dove in for a swim.
That was pretty much it. We retrieved our tent we'd left at the campsite, paddled back to the car, and made it to a river-side patio in Huntsville in the daylight, for Terri's first poutine, while sitting with well-to-do and decidedly less-scruffy-looking locals.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a car to return. :)
Monday, May 06, 2013
It didn't start off perfectly, when I discovered I'd misplaced the tie-downs. I thought I had a whole bag of webbing somewhere? Nope. A visit to Honest Eds for a replacement, another stop for food, and we were off, albeit two hours later than planned, thus missing the scheduled meet-up with others. Fortunately the Quaker Oaks general store near the put-in was able to tell us where the take-out was, and when we got there, the guys I'd arranged to meet had just finished. Adam wasn't sated and joined us for his second run of the day. That was awesome - yay, no scouting required! It also turned out he's a former river guide, so was a constant source a invaluable tips.
The main rapid of the river is called Triple Drop. Once again we would Adam lead the way, followed by Amanda, and I was bringing up the rear. On the previous rapid I had trouble seeing what line he was taking, so I figured this time I'd follow Amanda a little closer. Bad idea. Amanda got stuck in the backwash of the first falls, and I was too close to take a different line. I turned sideways as I ran into her, immediately got flipped, and pushed underneath her boat! She flipped as well, so when I rolled back up, she was swimming while holding her kayak and paddle. Adam had eddied out, so he was now last, and I was furthest downriver, trying to offer Amanda assistance, while floating backwards. Adam yelled for me to turn around for the next rapid - oh, yeah, right! I barely managed to turn downstream in time to go over the biggest of the three falls (maybe 2 or 3 feet). Yikes. Amanda floated/swam over it, Adam shunted her boat to the side, and I fetched the paddle. Fortunately she was fine, and even better, wanted another run at it.
While carrying our boats back and scouting the run, we saw a fish trying to jump upstream. Then another. And then we saw that the eddies at the falls were filled with dozens upon dozens of fish. I think we decided they were catfish. Super cool! I was able to put my hand in and pluck one out - big guys, probably almost 2 feet long and 2-3kg? We ran Triple Drop again, and finished the run without any further drama.
A week later we continued to have absolutely gorgeous weather. Cloudless skies, just a breath of wind and a hint of summer humidity. Ian's workmate Eoin is in town for a couple of months for a job. He left his four! kayaks back in Van...so yes, he's very good! We decided to head to the Upper Black, off Hwy 7 north of Belleville, because, like Head River, it's only runnable during the high water of spring runoff. Great to be both doing something new - an adventure!
After scouting the takeout, we drove to the put-in, launched, and were immediately greeted with fun rapids. I'd previously been given a heads up that some of the rapids are tough to scout by foot, but fortunately Eoin's experience allowed him to get a good sense of each from his boat, and eddy-in part-way through rapids to look around corners and such. This alone saved us hours of repeatedly exiting our boats and scouting by foot, but was almost essential for the really fun, but committing, canyon sections.
On one such section, I paddled into the eddy where Eoin was waiting, and he said to me "Did you see the dog?" I looked back over to the other side of the canyon, and sure enough, on a small ledge just higher than water level, a mangy, red dog was pacing and looking at us forlornly. Medium-sized; a Setter perhaps? She looked quite emaciated, and would howl and yip occasionally. Eoin said she looked like she might have jumped onto my boat as I passed. She'd clearly been stuck there for some time, days at least, perhaps when the water was high enough to wash her up there. We called out to her, and although she skittered about near the edge, couldn't be coaxed into the foaming water rushing by. Eoin decided rescue her. He ferried over, and leaning precariously from his boat, was able to have her come to his hand for a pat, and then he half-persuaded, half-yanked her onto his deck. Now he had a had a petrified dog crouched on top of his paddle, and he was floating backwards through boulder-strewn rapids! He bounced off a rock and nearly went over, and then was able to wrest his paddle from under the dog just as they were swept over a little drop. The dog fell into the water but was able to swim to the embankment, which was now the base of a hill rather than a vertical canyon wall. Eoin signaled that he was fine, and we started off again. The dog ran beside the river for a little ways, but eventually disappeared to who knows where.
We'd also read that there was at least one, and possibly three, required portages and big grade IV rapids. We got out of our boats to check out the first big one, and I was pretty shocked that Eoin was tempted to run what looked to me like a 10 foot high meat tenderizer (to support my thinking, there were multiple "Portage, Please!" signs on the bank). So when we saw the next one, and it was slightly less ridiculous, I suspected he would want to run it. He felt confident, scoped it out from land, and ran it like a boss. He was signalling what looked much like he thought I could give it a go, but I definitely wanted to clarify...I walked to the base of the falls and from there, couldn't see over the top - it was a solid seven feet high, and maybe thirty degrees of foaming, boulder-strewn carnage. But he was so confident, I was able to summon the courage to give it a go. I tried to take the same line as he did, and was just a foot off, but that meant I bounced like a pinball off all the features we had said to avoid... Still, I made it to the bottom, upright and intact. Woooooooo!!
The rest of the run was great fun. We even saw a porcupine float through a rapid and saunter off, just a few feet from our curious gaze. After 4 hours we were happy to be done. We took the kayaks out in someone's grassy backyard beside the Queensborough weir, and started jogging up the road when someone started calling out to us. The person living there wanted to give us a ride back to our car (actually, she was volunteering her husband). Skip the 14km walk/run to the put-in? Yes, please! And so we were on the road headed back to Toronto before dark. Also, two out of two trips finished without needing a headlamp? Win.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
I'm holding off for another year to break into the triathlon circuit. So I'm selling for flagship steed, my P3C.
2010 Cervelo P3C 56cm with Dura Ace gruppo
Monday, April 15, 2013
Funny coincidence - the two gents giving the talk, Taz and Josh, were actually guys I met when I hot-desked at the Uniiverse offices. They gave a really entertaining talk about how they were discussing how to take over the world, came up with a few options, but settled on using flying machines that they could potentially attach lasers to. hehe Cue the Terminator2 powerpoint slide. :)
|The star of the show posing for the paparazzi|
|Creators and presenters, Taz and Josh|
|Drawing a crowd|
|I have the power!! Muahahah!|