The Good, Bad, and Ugly

****If you are squeamish refrain from reading this post.

This week I have handled it all….a bit of good, bad and ugly.

My week started out with a very good walk with a friend. We walked, talked, enjoyed wildlife, and felt great by the end.

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A bit of bad this week was that our son bid farewell to his Jackson Karma kayak. He had decided to sell it about two weeks ago and the person buying it came to pick it up this week. Life is changing here at our house very quickly. We are looking at it as we are aging gracefully…..all of us. He is planning on purchasing more of a touring kayak for his photography purposes and we are not sure what that means for my husband and myself as far as kayaking goes. We have always struggled to find paddlers to join us. And honestly, after talking with the gentleman that bought our son’s kayak, he has always had the same issues. For now we are keeping our river kayaks but our eyes are open to other opportunities in this sport. We plan to attend a kayak demo in the area and see what they have to offer but for the time being, we just aren’t ready to give up the flow of a great river.

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I also handled a bit of an ugly situation that was not expected this week. I was typing away in another room when I heard my husband arrive home, enter through the back door and our son say, “OMG what did you do???” to his dad. I immediately knew to go have a look. I entered the kitchen to see my husband with blood all over his sweatshirt, down the leg of his jeans and his hand wrapped up with his own sock. IMG_4109

As a wife of a very accident prone husband, I could only hope some of this blood was from a fish he caught since he was fishing while this happened. However, I knew in my heart, this was not the case. He had been wader fishing and fell on some slippery rocks puncturing his hand quite deep, cutting his wrist, and palm.We immediately assessed the injury, cleaned it up and debated if we needed to take a trip to the emergency room. We opted to take care of things at home, since we have had our fill of hospitals this year so far. Nothing was broke and the bleeding had, for the most part, stopped while he drove home from his favorite fishing hole. Needless to say, once he was cleaned up, wrapped up and medicated a bit, he was done for the day. But, he did catch some awesome fish!

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Along with some good days filled with sunshine this week, a really bad list that made me even sadder to live where I live, and a really ugly week at the gym with only one visit all week. I am just happy to finally have a weekend with sunshine and warmth upon us. We have a list a mile long….some fun, some work, so I better get at it.

See you all next week.

Get outside and enjoy some sunshine!

 

 

Kayaking Safely With New Paddlers

It’s that time of year again. All our “seasonal friends” are letting us know that this will be the year they give kayaking a try. I laugh every year I hear them state this fact. In the back of my mind I know it all sounds great and exciting UNTIL it comes to summer and time to bite the bullet and actually come along. Then they all seem to chicken out…..but we play along and usually have a few give it a try.

Anyhow, here are a few basic facts that we have learned over the years that will make guiding a trip with newbies much more enjoyable for you as a guide. Plus, by following a few basic guidelines you can ensure that it will be safe, fun, and very enjoyable for first time paddlers.

#1 Check that everyone has the proper gear before leaving home. Examples:PFD, helmet, spare keys, water, sunscreen, portage shoes, snacks etc. Also, make sure their PFD fits them.

#2 Let someone (neighbor, friend, parent) know what river you are doing, from what point to what point and when you expect to return home. Just in case!

#3 Get the current weather forecast. If possible, try and take a newbie on a nice day. It’s not so cold and miserable for them then in the event that they decide to swim instead of paddle:)

#4 Give details of the river they will be paddling. Some of the most common questions for us when we are guiding a trip is: How do we portage? How many portages are there? Do I have to portage? Is there a place to change? What should I wear? (These last two are normally asked by females) Letting them know what to expect always seems to help.

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#5 Stress proper hydration/nutrition throughout the day. Tell them to bring water and somehow secure it into their kayak. Remind them throughout the day to drink. You would be surprised how many people forget to drink. Also, ask them often how they feel. Would they like to stop for a snack? Are they comfortable?

#6 Assist them on paddle strokes and the feel of the kayak upon entering the water. Before you even start paddling, make sure they understand how to hold the paddle, what strokes do what, make sure their seat is adjusted correctly, and they are comfortable with their kayak. Making adjustments mid river is not always easy or possible for that matter.

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#7 Make sure you take them to a river you are familiar with. I cannot stress this enough!!! They are depending on you to know what is coming next. If they change their mind when they start to hear the rapid around the corner, you know where and how much time you have to get them out to portage before they are committed. Be a knowledgeable guide about the river you are on.

#8 Don’t push them too hard. Ask if they are tired and would like a break. Remember you paddle often, they do not. If they want to try something new, let them. On the other hand, if they need to think about it for awhile or watch someone else first, let them do so.

#9 Stress what to do in a roll over. This is usually the scariest thing for newbies, but let’s face it, it sometime happens. Tell them exactly what to do. Tell them in what position to float downriver, never to get between their overturned kayak and a rock, and to swim to the rivers edge when possible. Explain to them how to wet exit their overturned kayak.  Remember it’s all about priorities. Rescue order should be people, boats, equipment.

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#10 Bring First Aid. This is what dry bags are for. Accidents happen. You don’t need much, but when you need it, you will be glad you had it. We have used our first aid a couple times. From simple bandaids to gauze wrapped with duct tape. (Yes, duct tape! Holds great in water)

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#11 Keep Alcohol For The End Of The Trip. We do not allow anyone in our group to consume alcohol while with us on the water. Maybe it’s being over cautious, but it’s hard enough to help and rescue a sober person when they are in a panic much less if they have alcohol in them. We have no problem asking anyone to leave the alcoholic beverages of choice for the end of the trip. This is for their safety as much as ours.

These are the basics for taking a newbie kayaking. Just keep in mind, a great guide can really make a great trip. If you want your family and friends to join you, show them you can be fun and knowledgeable all at the same time.

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Safe and Happy Paddling Everyone!

 

 

Kayak Shopping…..Again!

Last week I mentioned to my husband that I really did not see any need to make the three hour trip this year to our favorite kayaking convention coming up in a few weeks. We really do not need anything, its three hours of driving(which I hate), and we couldn’t fit another piece of watercraft anywhere in our home anyhow.

Let’s just say the look I received from him was of disbelief. He immediately said we were going without a doubt. Then stated that he was hoping to buy another kayak!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh man, I should have known this was coming. Last fall when our son bought his new kayak, my husband did test drive a few on this same day. Although, he just did not fall in love with anything at the time so we ended up leaving with just the one our son purchased.

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And now since he really has not said another word about buying another kayak since that day I had thought and hoped he had decided to stick with what he already has. I guess I was wrong.

Now we will be installing the roof rack to the top of the car just in case his search for “the one” appears before his eyes while at the convention. Either way, I believe eventually he will either find the whitewater kayak he is searching for or we will end up with a fishing kayak which he also has been debating for a few years.

I think I better contact the building contractor now to build on to our garage, it’s not going to hold much more.