Bernie is trying to get people to paddle at least once in each month of the year.
Accepting the Challenge
I was quietly sitting in front of my fireplace around January 28th, reading the paper, sipping on a coffee when the Birder told me there was an email from Imax putting out a 'challenge'----- paddle every month of 2007 for at least a 1/2 hour.
My first reaction was 'this is a neat idea', then a little blood went across the brain--there is only 3 days left in the month, it is winter, cold, the lakes are frozen.
Nice lead time, eh!
The Birder said it was a rediculous idea, just another inane philosophy of the Gonzos--higher, faster, longer,and stupider, than the last thing we did. She compared it to a bunch of 6 year olds going out behind the barn to measure their 'personal' packages.
Wednesday the 31st, last day of January came very quickly, I was procastigating whether to take the Sunburst (kayak) or the 16" Penobscot (sharpest entry of all Old Town canoes) to the North West Arm when the phone rang. Viking was also in panic mode, noting the river between Lake Fletcher and Grand Lake was open.
And it was a gorgeous day, cold but sunny, and also getting late. At 3:30pm, I threw the Penobscot on the roof of the old green Honda, picked up Gordon, and off we went--promising not to fall into the water, getting the canoe over the couple feet of shore ice, like a few years ago.
Bottom line, we had a wonderful paddle, running the riffs and ripples, just taking in the day.
|Gonzo February Paddle 2007
Again sitting quietly in front of the fireplace, now February 28th, reading a book this time, sipping on a coffee, when the Birder noted the end of another month was coming and she always looked forward to March and our annual Anniversary ski trip to Crabbe.
I said I better start thinking about getting my paddle in as there was only 2 days left--she laughed and reminded me that this was not a leap year and today was the last day.
I called my good buddy Gordon, but he was out in Wellington somewhere getting his paddle in.
Mid afternoon, panic, throw the canoe on the car, get Nancy to come along as 'proof' photographer, and down to the the river in Waverly (stream? brook? whatever?) that joined Lake Williams to Lake Thomas. Again I was blessed with a cold, but clear, sunny day. Nancy took a few pictures and left me to paddle up and down the 400 meters of open water. I played in the Class I white water that came under the bridge at the Irving station for 10 or 15 minutes until darkness started to set in.
When I got home, as I was unloading the canoe, I sort of felt like the days when I was a kid, coming home from the ponds after skating all afternoon, mom having supper ready--yelling out the door to get in the house.
Did Gordon get his paddle in---he says so---where are the pics? Did the Levy's get their paddle in--they say so---where are the pics. What about the Rands? the McCurdy's, etc.
I suppose we can believe whatever they say, eh!
Ah, the challenge of paddling every month has become easier with the opening up of the lakes and the warming of the air.
Obviously it would be too easy to just include any old paddle from now until November since we are on the water 'many' times a month--if not a week--during the next 8 months, so I have decided that, since I didn't get on the water until January 31st and February 28th, I would continue this tradition of my 'official' paddle being on the last day of the month.
This could entail some unknown future logistics since a person could be on a plane, in the White Mountains, sick, or just lousy weather. Time will identify any hardships, eh!
That being said, March 31st was not the perfect day since I had to be in the gym to referee 3 basketball games, joined the Saturday morning running group for breakfast, had to make a quick trip to Windsor, and also attend a party that night--------and the wind was high and the air was cold.
That being said, I found an hour window late Saturday morning, took my 16' Penobscot (sharpest entry of all Old Town canoes) to the Marina, and off into the wind. It was a lark 'flying' down wind to the #102 overpass but after turning around it was--Good Night Nurse!---this was going to be a tough return. Everytime (3) I lost my angle into the wind it was impossible to get it back and easier to do a 360. I was thanking my stars that I wasn't in a racing C1, or it would have been swimming time.
As I was coming up the lake I saw off in the distance my good buddies Allan Billard and Gordon Warnica plowing down the lake in their XXX white water racing Wenonah in serious training for the upcoming Kenduskeag---looking fast.
Already looking forward to April 29th when it looks pretty good I will be arriving late that day and it may be a late night paddle required to meet challenge.
A warning, a report and an invitation from Bryan Darrell
Saturday March 31st was the second group paddle of the season. In the
tradition we paddle in every calendar month with the exception of
March paddle this year was on the Musquodoboit River. We chose the upper
section, it took us about 45 minutes to paddle and it was just right for the
day. There were five paddlers, Peggy, Jeff, Marshall, Alan and myself.
Now here is the warning. Normally this time of year the rivers are
quite high. The ice is still floating on the river in big chunks on the
31st on March, but
this year this was not the case. The ice was melted and the river was
open. There was ice on the banks but not any on the water. In addition
level was low for this time of year. I would estimate that it was at least 4
feet lower than normal. In fact I went aground in a couple of places on the
river. So the warning is that if you plan to paddle on lakes and rivers this
summer you better do it early. I would not be surprised if they dry up by
July. If we get a lot of rain in April that may change, but at the present
moment the water level is low.
Five of us set out for the trip. It was quite nice. The current on the river
was moving at a good pace. For the most part all we had to do was to steer as
we rode the current down the river. There was a significant wind on Saturday,
but it was mainly behind us and helped to push the group along. For part of
the trip it was on our side but by this time it was blowing overhead as the
river is lower than the surrounding countryside. For one short strip
we had to
paddle into the wind and it was invigorating to do a little work. The
teaming with wild life. With the small numbers we were able to paddle
large muskrat for a while before it noticed us and dived under water.
wonderful to watch. No wonder their coats were so prized as they shed
so efficiently. A flock of wood ducks announced our arrival to everybody else
on the river. These noisy nervous birds can be set to flight with little
effort. Then out of a tree a rather large bird took to wing. Marshall
that it was a heron but as it was just on the bend of the river the sight time
was very short. Herons nest and roost in trees. This would be considered
abnormal for a large bird with such long legs. We saw a mink scramble up the
side of the bank and a small beaver swam beside us for a period of
were a series of I think cedar waxwings flitting along the shore as we paddled
in the sun. The trip was capped off with a marshmallow roast when we pulled
out. I was responsible for hot chocolate. I had a propane cooker, water cups
and the hot chocolate however I left the pot sitting on the front steps. It
was there when I got home. Toasted marshmallows were wonderful. It has been
ages since I had the luxury of slightly burnt marshmallows. The next paddle
will be mid to later April. If you would like to join us please send
to Info@thekayakguy.ca and please use April Paddle as the subject.
I am planning a 4-night 5-day expedition on the Bas d?Or Lakes for early June.
This could be a great deal of fun. There will be no camping, but much eating
and a great deal of paddling. If you are interested and would like more
information please drop me an email with Bras d'Or Lakes as the subject
In a continuing story about 'accepting' the Challenge.
-I was sitting around the house on the afternoon of Monday, April 30th,
when the phone rang--it was my good buddie Gordon asking me if I had met
the monthly paddle yet. Pressure, eh!
-As noted before, I have 'self' inflicted the requirement this paddle
take place on the last day, since April to November we paddle many times
a month any way---might as well be a challenge, eh!
-As it was, I have already been out a couple times this month, but it
'was' the last day, and I had to get out. Better get going, looks like
rain, why be miserable. To my surprise, and joy, the Birder wanted to go
-Off to the Marina and onto Lake Thomas, chased some Cheema Kayakers
(Karen Furneaux for one) around the lake, chased a muskrat, and scooted
back just before it started to rain--time for a pizza, eh!
-I attach a couple pics to 'again' prove that challenge is being met.
Have the others been out? Rumours are they may have been, but where is
the proof? I await the pics or signed afidavits.
Bit like Parliament Question Period right now--no proof, sort of
alledged, or is that non-alledged, torturing, or not torturing, or maybe
they do torture, but we have no proof, the Afghan Gov. says they don't
torture, good enough for me, eh!--What a bunch of scum bags and liars,
playing for political points while people die. I have lost all respect,
what little I had, for elected officials. But I digress.
Summer will be here, soon, maybe, I hope. Don't put the woolies away though.
I know the many? others that have taken up the challenge continue to
get in their monthly paddles.
-At least, I assume they 'may' be getting in their monthly paddle...we
just have no proof in pictures.
Anyway, for the 3rd month in a row I have almost missed my 'modified'
goal, modified in that I must paddle on the last day of the month,
remembering at the last moment that I have to go now!
-Drive over to the Marina, in the rain.
-Jump into Warnica's 11' 9" Old Town solo.
-Set up my camera on the tripod for 10 seconds, hoping it doesn't fall
off the wharf.
-Click the shutter, paddle quickly away from the dock.
-Out of focus.
-Do again, and again.
-Finally I'm framed.
Off to do my paddle.
-Rain starts to pour.
-Get really wet.
-Home to Nancy.