Monday, May 20, 2019

A Series of Unexpected Storms

Who would have thought that we would have 2 back to back rain storms in the middle of May?  And more rain forecasted in a couple more days?

We were in denial last week when we saw the weather forecast for the 3rd week of May 2019.  We had scheduled rolling lessons, beginner sea kayak lessons, the Big River Walk and Paddle, Whitewater of the Sea, Kayak Safety Clinic, and an Afternoon on the River Benefit.  Those plans all got washed out . . .

It poured and poured and blew and blew all day Wednesday and Thursday.  When it became apparent that we were going to get over 4 inches of rain in under 48 hours, high winds, and more significant rain and wind coming, we cancelled our weekend events and hunkered down for office work and rolling lessons in the pool.

Friday the sun poked out and we had had enough rain to make Rancheria Creek Run.  Rancheria Creek is the primary tributary of the Navarro River.  It takes a lot of rain for it to be runnable and running it in May is relatively unheard of (of course there are debated stories of paddlers running it in May in the 1990's).After a morning of office work, we joined a friend to run Rancheria Creek.   It was a treat to run it in the late spring.  The trees and plants were green, and we felt like we were kayaking in a rain forest. 

Especially spectacular were the wild azaleas blooming along the river.

It was particularly novel to be paddling on a warm, sunny, spring day and wearing shorts and a drytop.  It seems that most of the time when we are running Rancheria, it is raining and chilly.  Usually, we are wearing drysuits and keeping an eye on time to make sure that we finish the run before dark.

We had some large rain storms this winter that flooded and changed many of our local waterways.  Signs of flooding and extreme flows were evident as we paddled down Rancheria Creek.  Many trees were uprooted and lined the river banks. 

As we paddled, we were on our toes watching for trees down across the river creating hazards and strainers.  Sure enough - we encountered a river wide strainer that required portaging.

One never knows the exact flow of Rancheria Creek because there isn't a gauge.  We estimated it to be about 740 cfs but could be guessing too high or too low.  There was enough water for clean routes through most of channels.  Of course, Paul had to try his luck on "The Ledge."

There were also a couple of nice surf waves including this all day wave.

Who knows if it is climate change or just an odd storm pattern.  We do know that we can't control the weather and that it is best to go with the flow - especially if Rancheria Creek is running in the spring.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Dreamy Days on the River

Jeff and I are back home on the Mendocino Coast preparing for Liquid Fusion Kayaking's spring and summer season.  As I work through my projects, I occasionally allow my mind to day dream of our dreamy days on the river.
Evenings on the river - playing the ukulele by the campfire.
For our spring run-off trip this year, we did 2 self support kayak camping trips on the Eel River.  The first trip was a 5 day 70 mile trip on the main fork of the Eel with our friend Jerry. 
Jerry Albright whitewater kayaking on the Eel River.
The second trip was an extremely leisurely 4 day 24 mile trip.  Saving more on this trip for another blog post.  Hint - it was leisurely with a mission.
Lots of fun surf waves . . . even in a loaded boat.
My mind continues to wander back to cloudless 80 degree days, emerald green water, familiar yet fun whitewater, spectacular scenery, wildflowers, and wildlife.
Fun Class II and III Whitewater.
My favorite dreamy days were those when we didn't have to make miles and could leisurely float along the river - immersing ourselves in nature.
Watching a young cinnamon colored bear cruising along the Eel River.
Between Jeff and I, we shot over 1,000 photos.  I will share more photos and more stories from our adventure as I sift through them.  Here are a few of my favorites to give you a taste of our trip.
Kayak camping along the Eel River.
Remnants of the Eel River Rail Road at Island Mountain.
The Eel River's version of "Pick up Sticks."
Gotta love when a man cooks for you over a campfire.
There is a story to go with this photo.  For now, check out the red capped rock behind Jeff on the river.  It is one of my favorite rocks on the Eel River.
We saw lots of pairs of eagles along the Eel River.
Perhaps the happiest couple in the world :)

Monday, May 6, 2019

Inspiring Video

So the rumors are true . . . I have started playing the ukulele.  I am having a blast with it - so much fun that I have figured out how to pack it in my Dagger Katana for multi-day whitewater river kayak trips.

I don't have any aspirations of being a great ukulele player.  I am subscribing to the school of thought that the ukulele is all about fun.

This video uses the ukulele to speak the language of fun.  Check it out here or on YouTube.

Maybe someday, I will be good enough on the ukulele to play a song for one of my video edits.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Mendocino Kayak Videos

If a picture says a thousand words, what does a video say?

Shooting Mendocino Kayaking Videos

Evolution of Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Mendocino Kayak Videos

Last month, I created 2 new videos for Liquid Fusion Kayaking to showcase our Mendocino Kayaking Adventures.  When I uploaded them to YouTube, I spiffed up LFK's YouTube Channel and revised some of our playlists.  Doing so was a bit of a stroll down memory lane.  It is hard to believe that 10 years ago, I created our first video - Rock Gardening on the Mendocino Coast.  I learned a lot from the process and the feedback that I received from viewers.

In 2009, I created our Mendocino Coast Sea Kayaking video.  This is still one of my favorite videos.  I hope someday to recreate it with better quality video.

Fast forward 10 years to 2019

It was fun this week to share and reveal our new videos and to reminisce over our oldies.  I have published over 30 videos for Liquid Fusion Kayaking's YouTube Channel and created several playlists.  It is amazing how far video quality and technology have come - even for us amateurs using hand held point and shoot cameras and simple editing programs.  I think the biggest game changer was when we could shoot and edit HD video without sophisticated equipment and software.  The continual battle with shooting kayaking videos is water spots, lighting and moving water and subjects.  Jive'n is one of my favorite Mendocino Coast kayaking videos.  The good old Necky boats like the Jive are still fun boats for rock gardening and kayak surfing.

This year, I have created and posted 2 quickie - 1 minute videos.  I like the challenge of editing for quality not quantity and the challenge of a 1 minute video that entertains and tells a story.  My first challenge was a 1 minute video to use as a "trailer" or promo video to showcase LFK as an owner/instructor multi-discipline kayak company.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

My second project this year was to portray our Whitewater of the Sea - rock gardening lesson/tour.  We get lots of interest and questions about this trip.  My goal was to create a video that gave an authentic teaser of our Whitewater of the Sea Adventure.  The challenge was to portray it as fun, exciting, challenging, but not scary.  Take a look and let me know how I did.

I hope that you enjoyed the videos and the little stroll down memory land.  I have a couple of future video projects in mind.  If you know anyone who would like to collaborate with us on some fun, inspirational, or instructional videos, we are open to suggestions.  To be the first to see our new videos -

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