A slide show of my work on redbubble.com

Apr 21, 2011

Building the 16' 6" Kayak, Resolute

Last fall I began working on the hull of a 16' 6" kayak with plans from Bear Mountain Boats.  The Resolute is a single person kayak that will be constructed with cedar strip and fiberglass.  I hope to have it finished by this Fall 2011 but I am not pushing myself as hard to complete it as I did with the canoe last year.  I am planning to incorporate a little more design in the planking of the deck which should begin as soon as I finish sanding the bottom this week or next.

Oct 21, 2010

Lakes of 2010 - Lake Alvin, Harrisburg South Dakota

After spending most of the winter 2009/2010 building my first cedar strip boat - a 15' 6" canoe - the 2010 paddling season has been a very rich and rewarding year! Having spent almost every possible free moment on lakes or starting work on my new build (a 16' 6" kayak), it has been difficult to find the time to sit down and share the details of the experiences. I greatly appreciate the efforts others make to chronicle their trips as it helps me in my own planning to a great extent. I hope this short excerpt of some of my adventures will offer similar insight for those planning their own paddling trips.

Lake Alvin

October 19th, 2010
This tuesday evening marks my first time visiting Lake Alvin (largely inspired by Jay Heath's posts on his blog "Kayaking the lakes of South Dakota".)  My mother has never been in a canoe so my 14 year old daughter Michaela and I loaded up the kayak - inside the jeep - and the canoe on the roof, and we headed up to Lake Alvin for an evening paddle.  It was a beautiful day and the lake was smooth as glass.  There were a couple fishing boats and we witnessed one great catch while we were paddling the lake. 

 There are a few homes along the shore line and some horses grazing right up to the edge of the banks on the South side of the lake.  We put in at the dock on the North shore and headed toward the Southeast end where the creek comes in.  Before we got anywhere near the creek the water had become to shallow to navigate further.  I had made great pumpkin soup earlier in the day so as we sat on the sandy swimming beach watching the last pink light of the day disappear we enjoyed a simple warm meal and one of the last perfect days of the season.

Apr 22, 2008

Cheyenne River near Bridger, SD

A very beautiful river but not the greatest experience during the summer. We did a trip between Bridger and Cherry Creek but got out somewhere in between those two points when temperatures hit a record high of 114 degrees and we were dragging our canoes over sandbars more than we were paddling them.
The second day of our trip, we got up very early to try to beat the heat. It was already quite hot at 6 a.m. but we set out anyway. By about noon we were really suffering and my son and I climbed a rather high bluff to try to get a birds eye view of the landscape HOPING that we would spot the town of Cherry Creek or at least a ranch or road that would lead us out of the river!
I brought my 12 year old daughter and 14 year old son along with me and it was so hot at 9a.m. that they ate breakfast in the water. The water itself was as warm as bathwater. They couldn't wear shorts or take a shirt off either, because the sandflies were so thick and biting so badly that we all wore clothing for protection. At the end of the day there were welts and blood from the bites - the flies were so awful! The scenery was probably quite nice but we mostly will remember the heat and flies and a bull that wouldn't move out of the way in the river. As much hardship as we seemed to have to endure, the kids remarkably commented that they were glad they did this trip with me, and the two who stayed home were even jealous of our "adventure". (It was truly nothing to be envied although we did come away with some good stories.)
One of the funniest things that happened was after we got out of the river. Our "rescuer", a native american cowboy, pulled our canoes out of the river with a lariat rope and put them in the back of his horse trailer. While we were chatting on the way back to Bridger, he told us that he had had to perform a "dirty deed" that morning - and was trying to eradicate prairie dogs from his pasture. Growing up in the Midwest I understand the nuisance these little critters can create to farmers and ranchers, but my friend from Ottawa, Ontario who has spent very little time outside a city, responded with the question, "Why? Were they attacking your cattle?"
Boy, did we look like idiots. I tried to cover for my urban friend but it was apparent we were out of our element.