About Me

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Columbus, Ohio, United States
A project manager by day, but an outdoor enthusiast 24/7. Desired profession....KAYAKER! My boats include a red 14' Wilderness Systems Capehorn, an orange 11.5' Dagger Blackwater, and a lime green Dagger Approach 9'. One more boat and I think I qualify as a livery. My other toys include a Specialized Allez Sport road bike and a Jeep Wrangler to hold 'em all!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dryden Lake Golf Course - Dryden, New York (near Ithaca)

When I'm not on the water paddling, you might find me on a golf course with my buddies.  By far the most beautiful course I've ever played is Dryden Lake Golf Course  I'm sure I'll play one day in Myrtle Beach or Phoenix on other beautiful courses.  But for now I'm going to reminisce by sharing these pictures.

The golf course mascot hiding under a golf cart.  Snapper!

I'm not sure what the proper golf form is but I suspect it should not look like my softball swing as captured in this pic

I just started becoming a serious golfer this summer....new clubs have helped immensely!  Lynx Lady XMD clubs if you were wondering.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Paddling Big Walnut Creek - Hoover Dam downstream ~1.5+ miles.

Big Walnut Creek (upper section below Hoover Dam)
Columbus, Ohio
Temp:  50 degrees and cloudy (chilly)
Flow:  ~140 cfs
Depth:  2-3 feet
Put-in:  Below Hoover Dam off Central College Road
Take-out:  Same as Put-in
Mileage:  ~3 miles round trip
Time:  1800 - 1930
Boat:  Dagger Approach 9

I took my new boat out yesterday evening for the first time aside from the demo on the pond.  I scouted river levels using http://waterdata.usgs.gov/oh/nwis/rt.  Big Walnut Creek looked to be the only paddlable local river as everywhere else was just too low with the lack of significant rain.  It was around 2+ feet deep in most areas and had some good ripples and a nice 18 inch rock shelf with a runnable chute on river left.  I probably paddled 1.5+ miles down stream easily, but struggled paddling back up to the same place I put-in.  Twice I had to get out and pull my boat up stream.  I've never paddled back up stream and didn't realize how hard it really would be.

I did not take my nice camera with me, but did snap a few shots with my cell phone.  It was a great experience particularly as I practiced ferrying (or paddling laterally across a current).  It was a good workout too as my shoulder muscles are bulging out today.  The one exciting rapid (probably a class 1+/2) was about half mile from the put-in.  I pulled over and scouted it out.  Since I didn't have my life jacket on (shame on me again), I put it on and jumped back in my boat.  I shot right through the chute.  Just as the online reviews said, the Approach took in some water over the hull and into the cockpit.  Quite different than my other Dagger boat, but nonetheless I loved it.  I will surely invest in a spray skirt and was told there is a specially made skirt for the Approach by Harmony. Other skirts did not receive good reviews online.  I have a Harmony skirt for my Capehorn that has served me well (when I remember to put it on).  I did just purchase the Seals Cockpit cover for this boat and it worked wonderfully on the 500 mile trip back to Ohio over the weekend. Cut down the road noise and allowed me to store paddling gear in the boat instead of the car trunk.  This is particularly helpful when your paddling gear gets stinky from the river water. 

I passed a couple of old amazing homes....old farm homes on the western bank.  The eastern bank was very steep and moderately thick with trees.  Saw two Does on a dip in the eastern bank, running away from my vicious paddling splashes as I fought the current.  I saw an old cellar-like hide-a-way.  Unless you were on the river, you'd probably not notice it.

Close to the take out (also my put-in) I saw a Buck, 2-point I think, crossing the stream.  He didn't seem to care that I was intently watching him cross the moderately flowing current in this area.  He was very cautious and at times appeared like he was going to give up and turn back.  He was determined, though, and successfully jumped onto the other bank and was gone. 

Just shortly after the Buck crossed, 4 guys came down river in their 10-12 foot rec boats appearing to be embarking on an overnight trip perhaps paddling all the way to the Scioto River.  I would have loved to join them.  We exchanged greetings about getting some of our last paddles in for the year.  I think we all secretly knew we'd be out again in winter should the temps rise to above 40 and sunny.

Meet the newest member of my 'yak family - Dagger Approach 9.0

Weighing in at 38 pounds, 9 feet tall, and a shiny lime green.  She's a crossover boat - cross between whitewater boat and a rec boat.  She joins her sisters, another Dagger - 11.5 foot Blackwater and a 14 foot WS Capehorn. 

After demoing her in a small pond in the hills of central New York, I just had to have her!  She turns on a dime and does track decently with the skeg down.  Although I've had my heart set on a Liquid Logic Remix, this boat is about $300 cheaper ($400 b/c I bought the demo).  I've been told the only real difference is the Remix has a better seat....not worth $300 extra. The lime green is growing on me...it probably glows in the dark too!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Paddling Cayuga Lake - Ithaca, New York

Just a few pix from a morning paddle on Cayuga Lake.  It started out with morning mist on the water that was soon burned off by the sun.  In the shallow waters, the Mallard ducks were dipping their heads in the water looking for food in the mud, their bottoms sticking straight up bobbing around on the water.  Sorry, no pix of this funny duck behavior this time.  A Blue Jay was foraging around as well and I did capture a photo of him.  There is a picture of the Boatyard Grill restaurant on the water, which was the site for dinner later that evening (sea scallops & shrimp - Yum!). 

The water was like glass....so clear down to the rocky bottom.  From the lake house, I paddled south to about a mile past the public access boat launch site at the Allan H. Treman State Marine Park (photo of boat slip area below).  I continued further down almost another mile under the route 89 bridge before turning around and heading back (with the wind helping me along).  I saw many rowers out that beautiful morning.  I suspect some Cornell University and Ithaca College crew teams.  Did you know that rowing is the oldest intercollegiate sport in the U.S. (source:  Wikipedia)? 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Short Hike to Wells Falls - Ithaca, New York

I felt like a kid climbing down the rocks to view Wells Falls (a.k.a. Businessman's Lunch) from below.  The Six Mile Creek outside downtown Ithaca has four waterfalls that drop 65 feet in total.  Although it was a short hike to the bottom, it wasn't exactly an easy climb down.  I think I took the hard way down as the brochure says 0.2 miles, easy hike and I think for me it was only 0.1 miles, scary steep and straight down shale rock hike.  I saw a path that led away from the falls, but decided the most logical path was the most direct route - straight down!  That was until I got to the bottom and looked back up. It wasn't so bad, but I was nervous as it was getting dark and I left my phone, water, and apple half way down the rock formation.  Made it back up though, and pictures below to prove it!

I find the irony in the picture of the old man-made brick mill against the natural shale rock formation.  I wonder how many more seasons the brick will remain semi-intact.  I would have loved to explore inside the mill too.

Directions to this beautiful area:  Follow Route 79 east from Ithaca Commons 1 mile and turn right on Giles Street.  Turn left into Mulholland Wildflower Preserve, just before the bridge.  Although there is an intriguing trail along Six Mile Creek leading away from the parking lot, don't be fooled as I was.  To get to the falls, walk out the Preserve driveway entrance and hang a left to overlook the gorge below from the bridge.  On the other end of the bridge sidewalk is a path leading to the falls.  Take the path and take in the beauty! 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Birdwatching on Walnut Valley

A few pictures from my parent's backyard that I took this summer on my most recent visit to northern Ohio.  One morning last summer my Mom and I sat in the kitchen counting over a dozen different species of birds!

Can you name them?

As a kid I saw the Tufted Titmouse, Black Capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch, Purple Finch, House Sparrow, Red Winged Blackbird (hanging out on the cattails in the 2 swamps that used to be on the property), Hummingbird,  Kingfisher, Mallard duck, Wood duck, Hooded Merganser (only once!), Great Blue Heron, Little Green Heron, Red-Tailed Hawk, Pileated Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Flicker, Cardinal, Robin, Blue Bird, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay (pretty birds, but mean), Killdeer (laying their eggs on the side of gravel road we lived on).  I'm sure there were more, but these are the ones I can remember off the top of my head without perusing the bird book.  This past year I saw birds I've not seen in person before including the Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Towhee, Baltimore Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, and the Bald Eagle which was so cool seeing it for the first time ever on the Fourth of July no less!

Hiking Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park - August 2010

Battelle Darby Creek is one of my favorite places to paddle, but the Metro Park which allows the Big Darby to flow through it is also a great place to enjoy on foot...or leash...or bike...or skis.  I've hiked, biked, and walked my dogs on every trail of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park with the exception of the Dyer Mill/Ski Trail.  That's over 16 miles of trails!  My most recent hike at Battelle Darby included the Terrace Trail (2 miles) and Ancient Trail (1.9 miles) one hot and humid afternoon.  With a good portion of these two trails under the canopy of the forest, the heat was not so bad for August.

Besides the Wagtail trail that my JRTs love, I'm partial to the Ancient Trail at this park as the prairie grasses are just beautiful.  This area was restored with native prairie grasses as were parts of Prairie Oaks Metro Park which I also love to hike.  I was just a little tyke enjoying my own backyard grasslands in northern Ohio when the central Ohio Metro Parks began the restoration project in 1976.  They started it from a few seeds and small plot of land.  You could too in your own backyard!   I have the perfect spot in my yard if only the terriers would leave it alone. 

I need to visit the Ancient Trail again in the spring so I can see the bluebirds hanging out around the blue bird boxes they have strategically posted in the prairie grasses.  I did see many American Goldfinches but they were so quick I couldn't get a good picture of them.  Next time!

Now that my friend pointed out the ski trail the other day, I hope to experience cross country skiing this winter too!

Enjoy more pictures!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Paddling Hoover Reservoir - Twin Bridges Boat Ramp

September 2010
Hoover Reservoir
12 miles northeast of downtown Columbus, Ohio.

On a sunny but very windy September day, paddling Hoover Reservoir was fun but also challenging with the waves created by the wind.  I admit I don't always wear my life jacket (gasp!) but after about 5 minutes of paddling at an angle to the choppy current, I wiggled into my jacket. 

My 14-foot kayak, a Wilderness Systems Capehorn, handled the waves very well.  I wish I had the spray skirt on though, but I had it tucked behind my seat.  I wasn't brave enough to challenge my boat's good secondary stability to wrangle the skirt over me and over the cockpit.  This boat has low initial stability ("tippiness"), but has good secondary stability.  To learn more about initial and secondary stability and other interesting features of these mostly hand-powered boats, check out http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/kayak.html.  Be careful though, as you might be tempted to make a purchase.

Now that you've bought your 'yak (and are now way cool), read on....

Leaving the boat ramp, I paddled out around a small island before it opened up into the main body of water.  Heading north (or right) looked to be the best bet for viewing wildlife.  After some serious paddling and exchanging a few words of encouragement from passing kayakers, reaching the Twin Bridges seemed like a good initial milestone.

After successfully past the bridge, a collection of sailboats tied up caught my attention.  A cove up ahead to the east side (right side) proved promising for not only bird watching but also some other unexpected thrills like deer skipping across the grasslands and a dune buggy navigating the shoreline. 

Additionally, the sail boats were beautiful skating across the water, showing off their colorful masts. 

After beaching for lunch and exploration, the paddling continued...and continued...and continued accidentally right past the cove leading to the boat ramp.  It is amazing how deceiving the landscape is against the water sometimes.  After confirming with a fisherman at the Buckeye Boat Club that the Twin Bridges Boat Ramp, was back the other way (a good 30 minutes of paddling back the other way), I looked forward to seeing my little red truck again.  Just across from the boat ramp, three female Mallards posed for the last pictures of the trip....perhaps making the extra paddling worth it!

I launched from the Twin Bridges Boat Ramp, which I had read was the most northern public access point on the east side of the reservoir. However, after surfing the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department once I got home, I learned there is Baldridge Boat Launch, which is north of the intersection of Sunbury Road and Red Bank Road. Twin Bridges Boat Ramp is just south of this same intersection.
Hoover Reservoir is a 8-mile-long impoundment of the Big Walnut River, and is the main water supply for Columbus. Hoover is listed as a 3,272 acre lake but does have a 10 horsepower limit making kayaking (and sail boating) ideal.