Friday, December 30, 2011

A Series of Unexpected Events

Surreal would be my best adjective for 2011. Of course phenomenal paddling is to be expected when one's regular paddling playground is the Mendocino Coast. However, 2011 seemed to be the year of the unexpected.
Jeff catches air and Kathe gets a saltwater facial.
As I reflect on 2011, I recall regularly thinking, "Really? Someone pinch me so that I know this is really happening."
Cate and Amy coasteering on the Mendocino Coast.
From befriending a garter snake

Cate's friend Hairy.

to testing strip-built sea kayaks, 2011 was a bizarre year.
Cate takes the strip built sea kayak in the rocks.
Probably one of the most unexpected events of 2011 was helping Jeff salvage a sunken sit on top kayak from the bottom of Noyo Bay.
Salvaging a sunken sit on top kayak in Noyo Bay.
Equally unexpected was stepping my game up to run some Class IV whitewater.
Cate descends Double Drop on the Eel River.
My favorite adventure of 2011 was our 169 mile Paddle to the Sea on the Eel River. In 8 days, Jeff and I paddled whitewater kayaks from Lake Pillsbury to the Pacific Ocean on the Eel River.
Setting off on Day 2 from Hearst.
2011 was a year of fun and adventure but also of frustration (Tales from the Surf Zone) and disappointment (Skunked). And also sadness as 2 of my beloved pets - Button and Aften passed away. It is these moments that remind us that we are human and things aren't meant to be perfect.
Aften's first kayak trip on Fort Bragg's Noyo River
What will 2012 bring? More fun adventures I hope. Jeff and I will be traveling a little bit more in 2012 and sharing the fun. In January, I am meeting with Risa Shimoda to consult with her on The Ladies' Project. Later in January, we are road tripping with the toys to Bodega Bay for Crabfest 2012 sponsored by The Headwaters and Promar. In March, we will be sharing our Eel River Paddle to the Sea Adventure with several clubs including Explore North Coast.

Unexpected has been the positive response that I have gotten from readers of my blog. Initially, I was surprised that people were reading my blog. Thanks for reading and sharing the adventures. Here's a link to some of our favorite photos of 2011.

Best wishes for fun and adventure in 2012.
Looking for Pearls?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Interval Training - Mendo Style

I vowed to get stronger, faster, and more skilled this fall/winter and have been trying to stay on track with regular training. With limited hours of daylight and lots of other projects to do, this presents a problem. Fall/winter is also our favorite time to hunt and gather. Hmmm - the need for high intensity exercise and the need for hunting and gathering?

Ah-Ha!!! Interval training!!! For years athletes and fitness enthusiasts have used interval training to boost fitness levels. The general gist of interval training is interspersing bursts of high intensity effort with periods of low intensity effort. Here is my evolving Mendo Interval Training Plan for Forage, Frolic, Feast, and Fun.

Intervals in the Woods - Mountain biking and Mushroom hunting

How it works - Riding to specific mushroom patches and stopping to pick. Mountain biking on single track trails through the forest constantly engages the core muscles as well as challenges ones balance and timing. Short steep climbs and long sustained efforts provide cardiovascular training.
Cate mountain biking
Results - in 3 hours - cardio and core training, 2-3 pounds of choice edible mushrooms, fresh air, and FUN!!!

Variation - hiking and mushroom hunting. Not quite the core workout but a fun way to get a workout in while trekking to mushroom spots and sharing the adventure with friends who don't mountain bike.

Intervals at Sea
- kayak surfing and crabbing

How it works - setting crab rings in a sandy area near a surf zone and then going surfing. After 20-30 minutes, return to pull the rings which are hopefully heavy with dungeness crabs. Repeat 4 times. We usually end up sprinting between the crab rings and the surf zone and of course surfing always involves rolling.

Results - in 3 hours - an intense paddling workout(sprints, rolling, and salt water sinus cleaning), fresh dungeness crabs, and FUN. Lately I've been working on surfing a sea kayak and demoing a Dagger Alchemy. The day hatch is a handy place to transport and store crabs.

Variation - Dropping crab pots and going rock gardening - see CARS.

SUPing for Crabs
- (I got a SUP for birthday/Christmas this year). This week was our first time on the SUP's so we are still learning and developing this variation. The SUP is definitely a good core workout and a lot of fun.

Frolic, forage, feast, and fun is the theme of these evolving Mendo Intervals. Who knows where the adventures will lead next.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Woman on water has been a bit subdued lately as I enjoy the short days and quiet times of fall.

I've been stymied and skunked by the surf. After not much surfing over the summer, I jumped in over my head and over-stretched into some trickier breaks with bigger waves and bigger consequences. No bad carnage but badly shaken confidence has me with my tail tucked between my legs looking for some mellow surf sessions.

I just re-outfitted my surf kayak. My previous outfitting had me sitting too far back in the cockpit. I didn't have enough weight in the bow to punch through waves resulting in the wave or foam pile catching my bow and pitching me backwards - heels over head - not real fun. I took her out for a spin last week but still have more work to do to get the necessary body-boat connection.

Most of my on-water time has been work related and pretty mellow - swift water training for the local logging company fish survey crews, guiding wildlife watching tours on the Noyo River, paddling in Noyo Harbor's lighted boat parade, and testing out some new gear.

Off the water, lots of projects are underway. I am organizing our home office and slipping out to pick goodies for dinner. In addition to wild edible mushrooms, apples have been on the goody list. The dehydrator has been cranking as I envision days on the river whitewater kayaking and sharing my tasty dried apples with friends. Our first river run is going to be this Saturday. It will be a slow, low water run as we paddle and survey birds along the Russian River for the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, but it will feel good to be back on the river again.

After a busy summer, it is nice to have some quiet time to get projects done and rest and rejuvenate. However, stay tuned for more lively woman on water adventures as they are definitely on their way.