Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sorry, no Tech Tip Tuesday this week...

But, I hope you'll be pleased with the posting just the same.

The wooden boats we build aren't meant for sitting around and looking at - they're built to be used. Yeah, that involves a few scratches and scrapes, but you built the boat, so it can't be that hard to put on a bit of epoxy and varnish when you need it, right?

This little trip was started with a phone call from a friend of mine about a week and a half ago. He'd just been paddling on a little piece of water nearby that is generously called a river and thought that I'd be interested in paddling it as well. I've lived in this area for nearly my entire life, driven over and past this piece of water, but had never thought to paddle it because I couldn't figure out where to put in. After much to-ing and fro-ing over the past week, we finally connected and planned to hit meet at about 5:00PM and hit the water. I also got in touch with DaGoof to invite him as well.

Because the put-in location was so difficult to get to we met at a local car dealership to follow my first friend. We arrived and parked in a decently sized parking lot that was very close to the river.

When we got closer to the river, we saw the following - a dam that controls the river flow downstream from this location.

Upstream, there is a very busy bridge of a state highway the crosses the river. There are a few houses that are along the river bank. The friend who called me was introduced to this stretch of the river by the fellow who owns the house on the left. Tough location if you love to paddle, eh?

What always amazes me is that there are these little hidden gems that are an oasis in the middle of very urban locations. This river runs literally right through the center of a large town.

We carried the boats down to the bank and prepared to put in when the home-owner arrived from work and disappeared into his house arriving with several bottles of restorative beverages for the group. After some Q&A about the canoes and some instruction about the river itself, he provided a boat for our mutual friend to paddle.

We paddled for about 5 minutes upstream at which point almost all trace of civilization seemed to disappear. The unfortunate trace of civilization that didn't disappear was trash along the river. - mostly in the form of floating debris. I wasn't thinking or I would have packed a trash bag to help to reduce the trash that I found. I fully intend to go back and help to remove some of the trash along the way. It is vitally important to be a good steward to your local waterways to encourage more people to enjoy the water and become good stewards themselves.

We were treated to a visit by a beaver swimming in the river until we got to close and it retreated with a slap of its tail on the water. The gentleman who owned the house told us of a variety of wildlife that he was along the river including a bobcat on an overhanging branch.

The trip was wonderful and there was an amazing quiet to the whole trip a remarkable remoteness between a busy state highway and a busy street. There were overhanging branches and trees with small sandbanks and lush foliage that was just showing the first tinges of fall.

Two large trees that completely blocked the waterway finally brought us to a halt. We could have gotten out of the canoes to carry over the trees, but opted to turn back owing to the fading light.

On our return, we were greeted by the gentleman who owned the house along with another friend of his who he'd called to come see the canoes. One of the few problems with a wooden boat is that you need to plan an extra 1/2 hour on either end of the trip to explain the boats to people who have an interest in your boats!

Sometimes the most surprising wilderness is actually the one in your backyard!

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