Friday, May 30, 2008

More Sturgeon Photos

Bryan has photos up on his blog from our Sturgeon Falls trip. I blatantly snagged a couple of myself off his blog. Check out the rest at

And also one video that Bryan kindly posted of me!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sturgeon Falls!

Bryan, Graeme and I headed to Sturgeon Falls over Memorial Day. If there was ever a trip that was Blessed this was it. Everything went perfect and when it didn't we had solutions drop into our laps. We arrived late Friday night and set camp and went to sleep. We were up early and hooked up with Craige and Tom for a little Sturgeon action. The day went great! Sturgeon was huge and very intimidating...for me. The swim would be long if you missed a roll even with the motor boat we brought along. Happy to say no swims that day with our group. Bryan told me right off the bat not to even consider "warming up" on the little stuff. Just throw yourself right into the big stuff and get it over with. This spring Mike L. told me when he learned to kayak in Colorado that his instructor told him to try three rolls...and if you don't come up after three try five more. Bryan suggested I try the second wave and I declined and said I was going right for Chamelion. As I was getting into my boat Bryan said...Nora...try three rolls...and we both laughed! I was off. I paddled out above the island in the biggest, glassiest water I've ever paddled and looked down at Chamelion waiting for turning back now. The guys were all on the Island watching as I slowly dropped closer to Chamelion. We were all smiling (for different reasons) and I think we were all holding our breath. I hit it dead center and started surfing...WhooHoo!!! Whoops...I caught a vertical cartwheely thing and flipped. No problem setup for my roll...oopsie...rolled on the second wave...back over...setup, roll again...son of a gun...I rolled up on Learner's wave...back over...setup, roll again... %?&*%$$# where the %^$*&? did THAT wave come from?? Back over...setup, roll..whoo hoo finally up! OK that was BIG FUN and the start of a great day! Natalie and Mike came out and joined us and it was just us from the states enjoying the beautiful, warm sunny perfect day! That evening we headed to Whitemud. We arrived late and Bryan, Craige, Graeme, and Tom went out to play. Whitemud is incredible! Huge!! I opted not to paddle and just ran Bryan's SLR camera. The sunset was fantastic and the clouds mirrored the waves we had paddled that day. Of course that meant storms moving in. I had left my tent windows open and was worried as we raced the lightning home. Bryan reminded me of how perfect this trip was going and not to worry. Sure enough..the rain held until about 15 minutes after we arrived back at camp. We slept thru rain all night and more thunder in the morning. Over an inch fell that night. The rain stopped and our group was added to with Bill, Brian, and Marie joining us. Evan also joined us for his first time at Sturgeon so it was a great group going out. We all went to Sturgeon Falls with the exception of Craige and Tom who went to Whitemud for some huge air blunts on Scarey Wave...they got em! Bryan Z and Graeme were going big and got their blunts in also this weekend. The rain held off until late afternoon when the temp dropped and the storms hit. Back at camp it was a no brainer to "upgrade" our camping situation to yurts. We packed and moved into our yurt and enjoyed warm accomodations and watched video and talked stoke from this weekend. This morning I was up early and packed my tent up while ice pellets came down...brrr! I think this trip everyone of us successfully accomplished what we wanted to do...truly a Blessed trip! Manitoba just ROCKED! Now as for the photos I only ran my camera as an after thought so I didn't get many. I did use Bryan's alot as we all did and he had close to 700 photos on his card on one camera and plenty of video on the other, so be sure to check his blog out.

Look what I found in my begonias when I got home!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Climbing High!

Monday I was finally able to climb with Lisa and the Wednesday Rocks crew. I almost over slept as I had to work a twelve hour midnight shift Sunday night when I got back from Papstapalooza. I'm glad I didn't. We were able to get some climbs in before the rain started. Climbing outdoors is so different from the gym. I really think I need to do it on a more regular basis. The strength that climbing builds and the mental challenge is something that I like. My new draws were waiting for me in the mail when I got home. Next is a rope and I should be set for the summer at least.

This weekend there are three of us headed to Sturgeon Falls. We're taking two pickups and I will have room for one more person in mine. Leaving Friday morning...home monday night. If interested let me know.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Papstapalooza 08!

What a great awesome weekend! Bryan, Graeme and I went out to Papstapalooza this weekend. The weather was supposed to be marginal but it turned out great! The river was at about 2500cfs. Big and powerful. There were three events. Two boatercrosses. One starting below Misicot Falls and one above. I entered the below with four other guys. Yeah I know I have said no more boatercrosses for me but you know how that goes. Keep in mind this was my first time ever running this river. I had my plan...go right at Chicken Ender and all would be well. Starting off in the squirrely water below Misicot I think everyone of us flipped in the same spot. I tried a roll and didn't make it. I reset and hit it. Took a few strokes and flipped again. Rolled and check my location...I was way left of Chicken Ender. My thought at the time was "I am sooo screwed" I paddled hard to the right to catch the line thru First Sister and caught the green just to the right of the pour over above First Sister but not right enough. The green I caught fed me kiddiewhampus right into the center of First Sister and trashed me. Even tucked I whacked the back of my helmet and pulled. Tom was the only one out of the five of us to finish the race. The Advanced went much better with an incredible miss on Misicot. If you enlarge the photos you'll see the man, I think his name is Bruce, who went into river right of the line. He fought it out and finished the race. Plenty of flips but no swims in the Advanced. Craig Esposito winning! The night time events were great! The two bands rocked and the swag given out was great! Awesome people and a great time. Be sure to check Bryan's Blog and the Team Papst site for more photos. BTW Jim...I would have loved to have taken you up on the offer to paddle the river before we drove home and even though you said wake me up early at 7 I didn't have the heart to. Let me know if you guys are headed up there again! Team Papst did a great job organising this. During the events team members were helping new paddlers with impromtu skill sessions and the safety was top notch! All that and they can really grill a Johnsonville! Thanks Team Papst for an AWESOME weekend!

The inflatable race...rules were can not be a "boat". 2...all team members must be with the inflatable at the finish. This has never been attempted before at Piers Gorge and expectations were high. Before the race all throw bags that were available were collected and distributed to the shore support...carnage was expected. The first swimmer was ejected at Chicken Ender. From then on it just got more interesting. The highlight for sure was Terminal Surfer. Team Papst on a twin size air mattress was headed right towards the hole...Jim looked at his team mates and said in a calm, steady voice. "Hey guys...we are soooo screwed!" Watching from behind it looked awesome! Rich was reported to have done a somersault over Jim when they hit the hole. All three washed out and were OK! The next into the hole was Tom and Paul in a tandem..kind of tied together double with an inflatable "girlfriend". Tom in front came thru but Paul and his "girlfriend" Judy got munched in the hole. Tom bravely paddled hard in the front but was pulled back into the hole and trashed. They had plenty of company as Team Renegade hit the hole and kind of exploded. At this point Bryan, Graeme and I were the only team to miss Terminal and looking back we could see swimmers with a backdrop of pool toys flying up and all over in Terminal. Most swimmers made it out OK...Tom got recirced three times before getting free. The toys took about 20 minutes before all were released from Terminal. Would I do it again? Oh Yeah!! That just rocked! Plans for next year are to set up the video at Terminal and require all to pass thru. Kudos to Chevie who followed us down in an inflatable kayak for her first run of Piers. She hit every line perfect...even backwards past the Sisters!

Monday, May 12, 2008

First Outdoor Lead

I have been wanting to outdoor lead climb now for awhile and it hasn't fit into my work schedule to join people I know. On an impulse I answered a post for someone looking to climb in Red Wing today. Chase turned out to be an excellent partner for my first lead climbing. He had a great attitude and my first lead went very well. I did my first ever outdoor lead on Jenna's Chimney. I then top roped Cinq Jour D"Affille, and I gave Jump Start a try...I didn't get too far on that one and then lead on Sunburst. By then I was pretty tired and didn't make that all the way to the top. Chase's goal for the day was to do Jump Start and he styled it! Outdoor climbing is very different from the gym. I really liked it! Thanks Chase!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Voices in my Head

When I very first started kayaking with my sea kayak I went to a pool session. There I met Ellen, one of the instructors. She paddled over and introduced herself and then asked if I even knew how to get in my boat. Yes, I was that new. She was great! She took me thru different ways of getting in the boat and taught me a wet exit to get out. Showed me self rescues. Ellen is a natural teacher. That summer I paddled my sea kayak but I never did learn how to roll. The next year I took a whitewater course as my interest was being directed towards kayak surfing and to do that I needed to learn whitewater. I remember on the lower Kettle I had to ferry across a strong current for the first time. I knew it was going to be flip city as soon as I hit it. I wasn't disappointed. While upside down in freezing cold water I heard a calm voice in my head. "grab the combing and slide your hands up to the grab loop and pull." The voice was Ellen's. When learning a sport such as kayaking your instructors will be "there" with you in your critical moments. The words, encouragement, the instructors expectations of you as a paddler will propel you thru the situations you encounter. Ellen's voice hasn't been the only voice I've heard. Sometimes it's words of encouragement from your paddling partners. Sometimes you need to replay those words in your head to try to banish the negatives. Motherhood is just another form of instructor. Your words, encouragement, expectations, and example will be with your children in their critical times in life. When in difficult situations the snap judgements will be based on the foundation you have laid in your children. Today being Mothers day I had dinner with my son and we hiked Glenn Park in River Falls and talked. My son and I can talk about anything. Today he explained that almost everyone he knew had issues with their parents of some sort or the other. He told me the only issue he has with me is he wishes I would wear my hearing aid. I guess that isn't too bad as far as issues go.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Kettle 1800cfs

Kingpins were definately "The" boat on the river today. Aaron, Bill, Bryan, Caleb, Kim, Nate, and I hit up the Kettle today at 1800cfs. Very fun level. We spent over 4 hours running the river and just having a blast. Who cares if it rained? Check out Bryan's Blog for some really sweet photos of the day!