Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A MN teaser,

A MN teaser,

 Here is a couple of things from some other sources to get you ready for some MN updates.

and check out this site, the local news man whats to give kayaking a try

Monday, April 11, 2011

Grand Canyon 2011

just another day in the big ditch

Grand Canyon for 27 days, too many stories to write down. Here is a bunch of photos with a couple fun words.
Just another beautiful beach
We Had very varied flow, notice how far the boats are up the beach
the boats tucked up in the Deer Creek micro eddy

 The side hikes during the winter months are perfect, nothing like going on a 10 mile hike in jeans and a sweatshirt.
Brian Newman lining up a big piece at Crystal
cactus on the way up to the Nankoweap Granaries
another beautiful sunset
The scenery never lets up
Dan lining up the big wave in Crystal
Dan Wylie hammering Crystal
Fish, being FISH!
Fish going big early on in the trip, look closely and spot Jane hunkering down on the front of the boat.
Fish and Jane finding the sweet spot at Hermit
Fish deep in Deer Creek Canyon
classic Grand Canyon shot from the Nankoweap Granaries
Grease meet water
Fish with one big Grease bomb
That is a motley crew
Marjie matching the travertine water of the Little Colorado
Koreen and Julie standing in front of Hermit
Jeff Catlett and his 18 foot boat buried in the good stuff
Jeff looking like a submarine resurfacing from the depths
The scale of the Grand Canyon is hard to comprehend, Look close to spot Jeff crushing Hermit
Marjie, Jane, Minna, Koreen, and Julie playing in front of Elves Casum
Marjie ditching her kayak and taking the sporty "swim" line
Chris Baer, with Havasu canyon in the back ground
Miles, looking for the big line at Hermit
Miles with a proper Grand Canyon beard
Minna at Vasey's Paradis
Minna thinking about going for a couple more "newmans" before leaving Havasu for a night cruse
Looking up stream at Phantom Ranch, the true point of no return
The dark walls and moon a near Christmas Tree Cave
Jane and Minna creating the sound track to Red Wall Cavern
De-rigging Project Mayhem in the middle of the night
Rooster heading down stream on another beautiful February day
Is that a pyramid? I don't know but it sure is pretty
Red Wall Cavern and a little lens flair
Wes, Miles, and Dan making there way through Deer Creek
Most of the crew steming around the fridget water in Deer Creek
Wes, Dan, and Miles making there way down Deer Creek
We saw snow on the rim the entire trip
The temperature difference from the top of the canyon to the bottom is very noticeable. It is typically 5-7 degrees warmer per 1000ft drop in elevation. That means the rim gets snow and we are in T shirts tossing horse shoes.
got to dry out those underoos some where
Wes in front of Havasu Canyon

We launched February 5th and took off March 4th, 27 days on water.

There was fourteen people on the trip, three of which had very limited rafting experience, one of which was Michael the mayor of Durango. 

The weather was great, highs in the low 70s, and lows just above freezing. 

Our flows were all over the place usually around 20,000. That much water made some of the rapids pretty darn easy, and gave a couple of the bigger rapids a couple fun BIG options. 

We managed to have 5 flips on the trip, including Jeff the morning of his birthday. I think Jeff just wanted to wash the rest of the whip cream pie off.

Please leave any questions or comments below and I will try to give you good answers. 

Chris Baer still felling a little weirded out by not being a mile deep in the Grand Canyon with a bunch of good friends. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mauricio Mora Lindo

Mauricio Mora Lindo

While I was in Costa Rica I was lucky enough to meet and paddle with Mau, his generous hart shined brightly. Barely meeting me Mau picked me up from the hostel and took me paddling on the Upper Orosi. Over the matter of three weeks I became a permanent fixture at his house, and we got the opportunity to paddle together multiple times. On February 16th Mau was pinned in a sieves on the Upper Orosi and drowned. I am still uncertain on how to grieve and morn such a loss. I do know that Mau LIVED his life and would want me and every one else to continue to do so. I miss you Mau.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Upper Sevegre

Here is a quick edit from the Upper Sevegre in Costa Rica,

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How to travel with a kayak internationally,

Yea, there is room for one more boat
First off, these are not rules these are merely suggestions on how I have managed to get my kayaks too and from.

Traveling with a kayak is a pain in the ass. You are the slowest, clumsiest tourist.  This makes you a prime target for pickpockets, thieves, and everyone else looking to rip you off. You are traveling with the biggest suitcase ever. Try to travel with a group of other kaykers; strength in numbers. If traveling solo bring a small lock so you can lock your boat up to something and walk into a store or bathroom without your kayak. If you feel like some one might be sneaking up to steal out of your bag or wallet, make a wild turn and smack them with the boat. Overall, I have never been hassled too much, most of the people including the criminals are too busy laughing at the stupid gringo.

2x4s make a excellent rack on a rental car

Starting simple:  Cars
Almost all of us have car racks back home -- now you are traveling, the rules just changed. Most cabs do not have roof racks, and they have those little signs on top, most of those come off pretty easily, if the little sign does not come off, just flip your boat over and go cockpit down. Bring straps, I prefer a big 20 footer and two 9 footers, this gives you lots of options. Most cabs at least think they are in a big rush, be willing to dole out another 50 cents to show the cab driver how your straps work and reassure him you do it all the time.

your sleeping pad between your boat and car will avoid denting the roof too much


Different places have different customs on this one, some times boats go on the roof, other times underneath, and sometimes they might just ride in the seat next to you.
On the roof, have your straps ready, some times the driver will only stop for a few seconds. The next thing you know you are on the top of a bus doing 50 mph down a dirt road with a 1000 foot cliff on one side. 
Underneath, most busses are about 8 feet wide, that means a 8 foot 6 inch creek boat needs to go in a little sideways.  It also means fitting a Pyranha Everest or some other longer creek boat becomes exceedingly difficult.
The bus driver is going to ask for extra money, he usually puts it directly into his pocket. You can either talk to the ticket seller and squabble over the price ahead of time, or buy the driver off. I have found it easier to play dumb with the driver. I take most of my money out of my wallet, (and in a Texas drawl) say "no nintendo por favor" and then open up the wallet revealing the two dollars you have left. Usually the driver will see you are as poor as he is and just shrug his shoulders.
bus rides can be interesting

Boats and Trains
Most of these crafts are huge and have plenty of extra space. They can deal with the extra weight of the kayak. Once again they are going to look for some money. Stick to the same rules as buses -- barter and play dumb.

Riding in style on the Big boat
Now for the tricky one:  Planes
As far as I know there are no airlines flying out of the United States that actually allow kayaks on board. That does not mean you cannot fly with your boat. There are a couple of airlines that will take "small light weight break down kayaks", but the average creek boat does not fit into their size requirements. Don't despair, there are a few things you can do to help get your boat on the plane.

"wave ski" on it's way to Chile
Plan ahead:
1)  Get a bag for your boat.  I go to the fabric store and get some cheap material and make a gigantic "pillow sack" with a draw string on one end. I then take a couple nine foot cam straps and put them around the boat on either side of your cockpit. Then connect the two 9 footers with a 20 foot strap looped over itself several times (this makes an ok shoulder strap, it also gives the baggage people something to grab onto other than your collar).  I use the shoulder strap when I walk up to the ticket counter, I think it makes the "wave ski" look lighter. If you buy a bag, make sure it doesn't say KAYAK on the side. (your are about to lie to the ticket counter and tell them it is anything but a kayak).
2)  Look nice.  You don't have to wear a suit, but a collared shirt and clean pants, try to portray that you are a professional and that you fly a lot. The ticket folks will want you to fly with their airline again.
3)  Show up early, wait until the line gets small and the checker has time to play with your baggage. Worst case scenario -- after being denied go sit and pout and hope that ticket person goes on break. Then run back into the line and give it another try.
4)  If you can, find the ticket person that looks new, they won't have a clue and they are easier to trick.
5)  Print out the airlines baggage rules, find the (wave ski) (surf board) (light weight break down kayak) portion and highlight it.

When talking to the baggage person
1 Be nice, helpful, let them be in control, and offer assistance.
2 Have your passport, ID, credit card and your highlighted "rules" all ready to go.
3 LIE.  You can't bring a kayak on the plane, so it is whatever you tell them it is. Be persistent, say whatever it takes to get your kayak on board. I had a lady in Asheville, NC ask me if it was a kayak, after I said no she asked if I had been to the Green Race the day before. My gear was still wet and my hang over was in full effect from the race. I responded with: "The blue race?  What is that?" Tell them you do it all the time: "Yeah, I was down in Africa last month". They might try to tell you it won't fit, my response is "I have fit it in a Cessna before, it will totally fit!".
4 If they tell you it doesn't meet the size requirements remind them that it is round and that if you did all the calculus that it would fit in their requirments.
4 If they tell you no, plead. "I am on this trip for four months, and this is why I am going please."
5 Last resort: "Fine, if I can't take it with me, you deal with it."  Turn your back and start to walk away. The people in the airports are really afraid of baggage being left behind, and they may just put it on the plane to get it out of the airport.  (They might also call the bomb squad who will take it out on the tarmac and blow it to smithereens.)

This is the conversation I usually get:
baggage person: What is THAT?
me: It is my wave ski (big Smile)
baggage: What is a wave ski?
me: It is like a surf board for surfing in the ocean.  Here are the airlines baggage requirements, it is highlighted right here.
baggage: Well.... ok?  It looks like it will be 100 bucks?  Hold on! Does it meet the length requirements?
me: Yeah.  It is a bit awkward but it fits no problem. Here is my credit card, thanks.
Baggage: Ok, have a fun time with your wave ski?

Our my personal favorite quote from a security guard as I was falling asleep next to my wave ski on an overnight layover in Texas: "Just tell me that isn't your grandma."

Remember, have fun, you are on vacation and you do this all the time.