This or That?

Good morning. Happy Hump Day! Let’s keep it fun today.

So many people either like one or the other of something for his/her own reasons. Whether it be related to politics, weather, money, location, and so on….everyone has an opinion. Which, personally, everyone deserves to have. Let’s look at a list of this or that and I will share my opinions with you.

Beach or mountains?

You guessed it. For me it’s mountains….all the way babe. I love the beach but mountains are where my heart is.

IMG_2118Hiking boots or shoes?

I have tried both and do own both. Although, due to terrible ankle strength, I prefer my boots for hiking. They offer the support to keep me stable enough to conquer any trail I please. IMG_0261 Morning person or night owl?

Oh gosh, morning person for sure. After 8 p.m. anything I say cannot be held against me because I will not remember saying it. When that alarm goes off at 4:15 a.m. every morning I am ready to go but after 8 p.m. you are asking for a miracle.

Salad or soup?

This is a tough one. I love both but have been known to eat soup year round.

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Chocolate or vanilla?

Probably chocolate…if it’s ice cream. IMG_2557 Treadmill or elliptical?

Ahhh, I’d have to say at the moment elliptical. I had a treadmill here at home for years and did not mind it too much but the elliptical is much more fun.

Sweet or spicy?

Spicy!!!! It’s so odd to answer that because up until a few years ago I did not like anything spicy. Now, however, everything is better spicy.

Shop or order online?

Depending on what it is, I would order online before shop. However, if shipping costs too much I will just go buy it in the store. The older I get the less I like to shop.

Pizza or tacos?

Pizza!

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Kayak or canoe?

Did I seriously need to answer this one? Kayak for sure.

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Hot or cold weather?

Hot and sunny is what I love.

Save or spend?

Well, I guess save. I have always been a saver although, as I age, it is getting easier to spend a little and enjoy some of it. We never went on big vacations before and now I am somewhat addicted to adventure and I really don’t care what it costs to experience it.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee

Fruit or vegetable?

Veggie lover is what I am. There are very few vegetables I will not eat. Fruit is good but nothing compares to veggies.

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Paddle or hike?

Saving the best and hardest to answer for last. Honestly, I’d have to say it depends on the month, temperature, and forecast. I love hiking in spring and fall. Dislike it in the summer months, due to bugs, humidity, and SNAKES! I love paddling in the summer when it’s hot and humid and the rivers are gorgeous. I dislike paddling in the spring due to roaring rivers that seriously could kill us if not make me freeze to death. And I also don’t like paddling if it’s overcast and rainy. Simply because sunshine is my happy drug of choice and rain makes my glasses almost impossible to see through and I am not able to kayak without my glasses on. This could also be life threatening:-) All that being said, if I had to give up one or the other, I would give up paddling before hiking.

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If you care to list a few, please feel free.

 

 

 

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Standup Paddling the Chain of Lakes – Waupaca, WI

I finally had my chance to take my SUP out for it’s first paddle of the year. We watched the weather all week and Saturday was the day that was predicted to be beautiful, low 70’s and sunny. However, when the alarm went off I glanced outside and all I saw was clouds and more clouds. Life must go on and despite the dreary skies we packed up as planned and headed to a new destination, Waupaca, WI and the Chain of Lakes.

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We started to hit a fine mist of rain about half way there and prepared for a wet paddle. I was so determined to make the most of the day regardless of the weather that we just continued on toward our destination. I had been quite anxious all week to know if my ankle was strong enough yet to be back on my board and within 20 yards I knew it was healed enough to continue. I have been pretty diligent on stopping whatever it is that I try when I feel pain, as I was directed to do, until I have gained back all the strength in it. So I knew if I felt pain, this would have been a short trip but happily I felt nothing and we paddled onward.

We started at Knight Lake/Manomin Lake boat launch. They have a nice sized parking area, no bathrooms, but a great place to launch kayaks, canoes and SUP’s.

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Our destination was Marl Lake, known for it’s crystal clear waters and floating public dock which many paddlers are known to bring and share a picnic lunch at. To reach Marl Lake you must launch where we did, paddle through a small opening into Pope Lake and then again through another small opening into Marl Lake. If you have any sort of rudder or fin on your vessels watch for logs in these openings. (We had no trouble at all maneuvering through on this day)

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Within minutes of reaching Marl Lake it started to sprinkle a little heavier. Which was ok, I had prepared for a possible wet ride anyhow not knowing if my balance would be what I wanted it to be after an entire winter. Although, not long after this sprinkle the rain really started coming down. My husband and I found a tree and sat under this for quite awhile waiting it out. Thankfully there was no lightening, just rain. After about 20 minutes it seemed to have let up a bit and we made our way as fast as possible to the other side of the lake to the floating public dock. We beached our vessels and again hid under the trees.

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By this time I was wet, very wet, cold and a little miffed. However, my husband being the positive person he is said at least we were together and safe. Which was right, but sometimes that glass he always keeps half full I would just love to dump over his head. He always finds a bright side to everything and it sometimes drives me crazy!

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Eventually the rain stopped and we did not take long to make our way back to the truck to warm up and dry out our clothes using the heat vents.

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While waiting for our clothes to dry we shared our picnic lunch in the truck shivering instead of on this nice dock.

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After lunch we did go back out for awhile. I paddled, he fished, and we just enjoyed the cloudy weather the best we could. Even though our day was not everything I had hoped for in the weather department, I am very glad to know that I am still able to enjoy my standup paddle board.
We have already researched a little more about the area and have our next few lakes in the Waupaca area picked out for our next trip. However, at this time we have no idea when this will happen. Summer is so short and there are just so many fun things to do that I can only hope we make it back here one more time before it’s over.

 

Canoecopia 2014

We were up early Saturday to make the three hour drive to our favorite convention, Canoecopia. It is held in Madison, WI and runs for three days every year. If you enjoy kayaking, canoeing and camping this is the hottest ticket of the weekend.

We always try and arrive early enough to shop the parking lot…fellow yakkers will place there kayaks atop there vehicles or on trailers with for sale signs and phone numbers attached. You can find some great buys if you know what you are looking for. (Although, we are not looking to buy another kayak, you never know when a good deal will be had)

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Upon arrival, you enter the convention center and there are many free booths of local guides, groups and camp grounds offering freebies. You browse, chat and pick up maps of possible lakes and rivers to be paddled.

Then it’s the big opening. I head straight for the Bargain Baga area. I am quite frugal as my husband calls me, so anywhere I can save a buck I will.

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Then it’s time to make the rows and rows of paddles, kayaks, canoes, shoes, outfitters, camping supplies, roof racks, clothing and on and on….

We were specifically looking for three things this year. A roof rack for our new car, a spray skirt for a friend’s kayak, and some new decals to personalize our car with. I know, decals, big spender I am? (They are free) Well, like I said, I am frugal. We hit the jackpot this year getting everything on our list and then some.

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After finally deciding on the rack system we wanted, it was time to browse. We checked out the newest Jackson fishing kayaks. My husband would be very happy to own one of these. Sorry honey, there is just no more room:(

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We walked past an array of paddles. Some more practical and some I would be scared to use because they are so beautiful.

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Next, it was time to check out the newest in whitewater kayaks. I like checking out the new colors that they come out with every year.

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You can even get your kids on the water in kayaks made specifically for children. Even at a very reasonable price for many days of happy paddling.

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Then we stopped in a booth that had some homemade kayaks that should never be used on the water in my opinion. So much work is involved that I would be devastated if I scratched any of these on a rock or even with the beach sand. Take a look at the detail…

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Aren’t they gorgeous?

Next, it was off to check out the newest in stand up paddle boards. Even though I love mine, it is still nice to take a look.

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And last but not least, you always have your crazy new inventions. This kayak comes apart in three sections that are held together with a rubber ratchet strapping system. In my family, we prefer our kayaks in one piece. Any kayak that purposely breaks apart into sections is fundamentally WRONG in our eyes. Legos and boats should never breed!

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There are also countless speakers that you can attend at certain times throughout the day also. We do not usually attend these so I can not tell you good or bad about this part of the convention. I can tell you that the rooms are packed, so if you plan to attend make sure you get there early and get a seat.

It was a very fun and exciting day for us. We wait all year for this convention and it never disappoints us. The temperature may still be cold outside but it felt a little closer to summer while we were inside chatting with people that love to do what we do. We left with a trunk full of gear, some great memories of Canoecopia 2014 and a smile on our face.

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Happy Paddling Everyone

Our Annual Summer Paddling Trip

Yesterday we had the best turn out we have ever had for our annual paddling trip. Eleven kayaks, now that’s amazing. It’s hard to believe, in the past, we would have to beg people to come. Despite the chilly temp, with a high yesterday of 73 and cloud cover the entire time we were on the river, it did turn out to be a great day paddling.

My son had a few of his closest friends join us, and they had fun paddling, learning to roll their kayaks, and just plain playing around.

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One even tried his new paddling skills at surfing the rapids.

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Pretty good for the type of kayak he was in and the little experience he has.

The water temperature was wonderful, which made trying things a lot more appealing. We even had our nephew get brave and give the whitewater kayaks a try. As you can see, he had many people in the water to help along the way.

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My brother is a little concerned. He watched his little boy get in and paddle away, and all he saw was dollar signs. Maybe in a couple years, my husband will hand his down. He is already debating buying a Jackson Villain like I have. Time will tell.

We even had a few take the plunge and do the end of the big waterfall that typically we portage. Here they all are debating.

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In the end, five out of the eleven of us did it, and all did very well.

The most exciting part of the day I would have to say was the rock slide. We had the pleasure of having my son’s friend and her father join us. They have been with us in the past on this annual trip, and have experienced the rock slide before. Although, this time apparently his daughter thought last minute that her dad was headed to close to the tree when he started his decent down the rock, and she grabbed the back of his kayak and gave it a little turn. Once he was turned there was no straightening it back out. He went down the rock sideways entering the water while we all watched and were ready to rescue. To everyone’s surprise, including his, he saved it, landed perfectly “sideways” with a spectacular slash, and came up laughing. Awesome job!!!

(I love the panicked stance his daughter has looking on from the top.)

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Our day ended with about 5 hours on the river, great laughs with many friends, and while we had our picnic,even the sun decided to peek out for a bit.

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(Thanks to my hubby for grabbing the camera to capture this picture)

Happy Paddling Everyone

The River Is Beautiful Although It’s Always In Charge

Yesterday we visited the Pike River in Northern WI and had two of my son’s closest friends and my husbands co worker(and friend) with us. We loaded the kayaks and all the supplies and headed out to meet up with my husband’s co worker at the put in point.

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Upon arrival it was sunny, hot, and just great to be back again.

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We started off and had a great beginning. We arrived at a little pond like area a ways down and my son and husband decided to try their roll they have been working on. For all the non-kayakers out there, this is when they flip over and roll themselves back up without ever having to exit their kayak.

My husband going over

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And my husband coming back up.

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Very nice honey!

Now my son was over, but I missed the picture opportunity!(Sorry)

And my son coming back up VERY happy.

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After this it was more paddling and some paddle splashing along the way.

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One of us even splashed so hard, she leaned too far one way and went for a swim. We all had a good laugh at that stunt.

Then we arrived at the big bend in the river better known as Horseshoe Falls.

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We all got out and climbed the hill to the top to see if anything was in the way of us proceeding through, and all looked good. I got out my camera,took a seat on a big rock, put my toes in the water and hoped for some good pictures.

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And I got them. Here is each one of them going over the falls.

Our son

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His friend

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His other friend(take a look at that smile)

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My husband in my kayak

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My husband in his kayak

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And my husband’s co worker.

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He did terrific until his kayak took on water. After that it was a chance to learn how to wet exit from his overturned kayak, and a nice refreshing swim.

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Which is really a good thing for everyone to learn how to do.I don’t think he was all that upset, as you can see, he is still smiling.

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Before I continue, I would like to point out, that we have been kayaking for many years. We always, regardless if it was last weekend or years ago that we were at the same river, scout out any path that we can not see while in our kayaks. Anything can float down river and cause hazards, so safety is always a top priority. Which brings me to another point. When we have friends with us, we always make sure one of us with more experience goes first down a rapids, and one of us stays back to go last or near the end of the line. That way, one can retrieve at the bottom and one can go to the over turned kayaker in the middle if needed. As you can see in this photo. My son went first and then got out of his kayak(because we had three people this time whom had never done this river) in case someone did not make it over the falls successfully. My husband then proceeded second and stayed in his kayak, to retrieve an over turned kayak, paddle or person, if need be.

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Next it was time for some nose stalls on a small little rapid that is perfect for this maneuver.

Both my husband and son can do these quite well.

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Then it was time for the last rapid of the day. Needless to say, I have no pictures to share with you. We experienced a little mishap with one of my son friends. The current is strong, there are a lot of rocks, and she just was not strong enough to make the sharp left hand turn in time. She ended up being pushed sideways into the boulders and pinned there for quite some time. Again, let me stress, even with experience, a river is always in charge of our fate. My son was the closest to her, and he exited his kayak and made his way to her as fast as possible by foot. Her kayak was filled with water, with the current making it very hard for him to stand and try to get her out safely. She was tiring from fighting the current that was pushing against her to try and get out, and could not help much. After some time, he decided to just grab her by the life jacket and pull, trying his best just to free her from her kayak. He succeeded, thankfully. She was quite shaken by the ordeal, and a little uneasy on her feet, but eventually made it back to shore by foot with some assistance. It took both my husband and son to unjam her kayak from the boulders, due to the strong current filling it with water. Thankfully we all worked together and nothing was lost down river during this ordeal, and most of all my son still had his friend to laugh with for many years to come. Kayaks and paddles are all replaceable. Friends are not.Her quote to him on land was, “We are friends for life, because you save my life!” And they gave a big high five together. We are proud of our son, and very happy she is alright.

We all shared a nice picnic lunch while we all laughed and just enjoyed how the day turned out.

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We loaded the kayaks all back up and the plan was to stop for ice cream on the way home if the kids(now young adults) could keep their eyes open until we got to the ice cream shop. This was not easy, but they all made it, so ice cream it was.

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Flavor of the day was raspberry sherbert. Yum:)

Let me tell you, we were hardly out of the parking lot after finishing our ice cream, and we heard snoring from the back seat. Two out of three of them were out cold sleeping. Although, it was the two that were in the mishap together, so I guess, they deserved a little peace and quiet after all that.

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We all had a terrific day, and want to thank all our friends for trusting us to take you all for these adventures. Our weekends would not be as much fun without all of you.

Happy Paddling Everyone

We have come a long way…

This weekend we decided to paddle a river that we have not been on for the past three years. Our original plan needed to be changed because of high water levels due to the amount of rain fall we received this past week. We had a friend along that just bought his first kayak and had very little experience, so a roaring river was not what we were looking for at all.

We started this 8 mile paddle with the sun shining and blue skies above.This is the same river we all started on along time ago. It has a few ripples and alot of curves, and some good current at times. I can remember this being a challenge, and after today, all three of us were so amazed at how far we have come. Although, it was great for the rookie. We would have done anything for a rapid to paddle over, but in time we will get him there, I think. He seemed to really enjoy his new kayak.

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While paddling we sometimes will bring along a water frisbee, to add a little excitement. Today, I actually remembered it and it added to the fun. When the waters were calm, we tossed it around some, and even shared a few splashes, of some VERY cold water.

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About half way down we stopped at a park where we got out stretched our legs some, and had a snack. Cliff bars for everyone, a drink to rehydrate, and some yummy venison jerky was shared between the guys. My son and husband were in heaven, they don’t get a whole lot of red meat at home, so it was a nice treat.

After snack time, we continued on to the last stretch  of river, which is somewhat faster. It only took us about an hour to finish and then it was time to change, pack up and share a meal on our weekend dining room table together. The tailgate of a truck. We sometimes love the comments we get from some of the new people we have taken with us in the past. Although, he did not seem to mind, even if it happened to be his truck tailgate we used. Our meal this weekend consisted of cold rotisserie chicken, tortilla shells, lettuce, cheese, and sweet red pepper sauce or salsa. Some fresh pineapple, pita crackers, peanuts, chocolate bar to share for dessert, and drinks. Oh, and don’t for get the bear meat sticks our friend shared. Yes, again my husband and son were very happy.

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I have heard my husband talk about all the hunting his friend does, and I am not a very brave person when it comes to wild game. So, I stuck to what I knew I was eating and left them all enjoy their treats.

I must say, it was a nice, sunny paddle, with very little adventure. We never know if someone new will return or not. Now we just wait and see what happens. Hopefully he joins us again, and we will take him to a river where he will really have some fun.

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Until next time….

Happy Paddling:)