“Spend as much time as possible on mountains, in small boats, or otherwise out in the weather; if you never get wet, cold, exhausted or scared, you won’t properly appreciate being dry, warm, rested and safe.” ~ Peter Jay

"I’m an adventuring river rat at heart. Put me on a floating piece of driftwood and I’m happy." ~ Christina Glauner

"There’s folly and foolhardiness on one side and daring and calculation on the other." ~ C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels

Friday, October 31, 2008

Evening Cruise

A few pictures from an evening cruise last night. Nothing fancy, just around Dump Island and back to the Legion.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Backpacking and Halloween

This past weekend I didn't go kayaking, but I spent plenty of time outdoors. I took a Pierre  Boy Scout troop backpacking in the Black Elk Wilderness area around Harney Peak. We started from Horse Thief Lake. On Friday night we hiked in a quarter of a mile or so and camped. On Saturday, we took the Horse Thief Trail south to Grizzly Bear Ck trail. Then we headed west to the Harney Peak trail. After coming back down from Harney, we continued north to the Willow Ck trail and then back east to Horse Thief Lake. A good time was had by all. I think we might end up doing a 50 miler sometime this spring or summer!
Some pictures from the weekend:
It is looking like the high in Pierre will be in the 60s the next few days, so heres to hoping I get out onto the water! With Halloween on Friday, I might even take my pirate hat off the wall and wear it on the water! I'll be sure to get pics :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Twin Bridges to DeGrey

Yesterday the "Pierre Kayak Club" did another section of the Missouri River near Pierre. This time we tackled from Twin Bridges to DeGrey.

View Larger Map
We shuttled my pickup and Chuck's Geo down to DeGrey; DeGrey is a river access (boat ramp and vault toilet). The trip ended up being ~9 miles (averaged between John's and my GPS). You'd think that going downstream would be easy, but from NOAA's site I see that we faced a south east wind at 13-15mph with gusts up to 22! When we stopped paddling, we would be pushed backwards.
Not too much else to say about the trip. I have a few pictures of foliage, but mostly of Chuck and John. Not too much to see on this stretch.
From 2008_10_18
From 2008_10_18
Look at the "air" under John's boat.
From 2008_10_18
From 2008_10_18
And the slideshow of all of the pictures I took yesterday:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Overnighter - Gavins Pt to Clay Co

Last night I got back from the south east corner of SD. On Friday, John Adler and I met down at the Chief White Crane State Rec. Area near Yankton. One bit of bad luck did occur; one of my tent poles developed a crack and the zipper on the door broke. After struggling with the zipper, I gave up and went into Yankton and picked up a tent at Walmart. Not the best expedition tent, but it  performed well. The tent that had issues was a Wenzel. I am going to contact the company to get replacement parts, but I think I might start looking for the tent I really wanted when I bought it... a Kelty Grand Mesa 2.
Back to the trip. The forecast was for a decent Saturday but high wind advisories and likliness of thunderstorms convinced us to use the Clay County Rec. Area as our take out. Initially, we planned to camp at Bow Creek (undeveloped National Park Service land). We shuttled my pickup downstream at 7 AM, then got the boats loaded. We launched at 10AM.
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
The going was easy, thanks to a faster current than I anticipated. The wind, on Saturday, was low or nonexistant. The trip got sweeter (for me) as we approached Yankton. The Discovery Bridge opened on Saturday and with that the Meridian Bridge closed. As we passed the structures, traffic was still on the Meridian, but there were many people on the Discovery and we could hear someone giving a speech over a loudspeaker.
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
Just past Yankton, we  ventured around the point of Rush Island to checkout something we saw and could not initially identify.
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
It was a motor boat with the bow buried! For all you actually know, the Pirates of the Missouri attacked and scuttled this boat...
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
...And burned and pillaged whatever is beyond those trees ;)
With the great time we were making downstream, we decided to stop at the St Helena boat access for lunch. And not a cold lunch either! We took the time to pull out our stoves and have a hot meal. I had beef ramen (reminiscent of my college days) and John had flavored rice.
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
At St Helena, we also saw the below sign about the Missouri National Recreation River. Apparently, personal watercraft are banned on this stretch. I knew I liked it for a reason!
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
After about a hour... maybe a hour and a half, we moved on.
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
I think I saw more herons on this trip than any other time! We did get rained on in the afternoon and quite heavily for, maybe, ten or fifteen minutes.
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
As we approached what I thought was Bow Creek, we saw a creek, a burnt out building, and a poorly maintained boat ramp. We decided that this was not Bow Creek after consulting with some aerial photos I had printed for the trip. A little further down we found  what we assume IS Bow Creek but could not find anywhere suitable to setup camp. And with the poor forecast for Sunday, we chose to push on to Goat Island.
On the upstream end of Goat Island, we beached our boats and explored a bit. The location was not great for setting up camp, but we were surprised to find a pickup camper mounted to a small trailer in amongst a somewhat heavily wooded area. Due to it's condition, it had been there awhile.
We continued along Goat Island until we found a suitable camp location. Our aerial photos helped significantly in this regard.
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
The first day we put in 24.7 miles. We weren't pushing ourselves at all and we had limited day light compared to a summer trip. Actually, we could have done the whole trip in one day, but by the time we started cooking supper it was getting dark so this worked as a nice campsite.
For supper, I had Dinty Moore Beef Stew and John had some Campbell's Chunky Soup among other things. I think we both slept well that night and were both up before sunrise. I had oatmeal for breakfast and John had a Mountain Dew. We were back on the water at sunrise.
We were on the water for less than an hour before coming to the Clay County Rec. Area. We put 4 miles that morning, giving us a total of 28.7 for the trip.
From Missouri River - Gavins Pt to Clay Co
A slide show of all of my pictures:
The short day on Sunday actually gave me time to visit my sister in Vermillion, catch my Panthers get smoked by the Bucs at Champs in SF, and get home before too late. What this trip did though is pump me up to do more like trips. For example:
  • Gavins Point to Ponca State Park
  • Fort Randall to Running Wate
  • Hwy 34 to Hwy 63 (Cheyenne River) I did this one by canoe when I was in Jr High.
  • Possibly a section of the Minnesota River
  • Water Trails in MN
An excellent idea would be to have a SDCA cruise from Gavins Point to Ponca State Park. Anyone wanting to just paddle a portion of it could find another take out easily. 

ADDED: A slideshow of the pictures John Adler took.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Split Rock Creek/Big Sioux River

Yesterday I made the trek to Sioux Falls, Brandon actually, for the Split Rock Creek SDCA cruise. Earlier in the week, it was sounding like we would have to shorten the cruise because Split Rock Creek was running low. But once we got there the creek looked similar to last year (paddlable  with only a few portage spots). I should add I was considering not coming on this cruise, but I wanted to pickup a backpacking stove for next weekend so I used that as an excuse to travel to SF. I don't regret it; I got my backpacking stove at The Sportswarehouse for almost half what I probably would have paid at Scheels. Possibly a lower model but that is fine with me. It will do what I need it to do.
The trip came in at around 8.5 miles (I read 8.65 on the creek, but after I cleaned up the track data it looked like 8.4 so I will average :) ).
From 2008_10_04

I had a blast on the trip. Defiently an improvement from last year when I tried to take my tandem down it with a friend. That worked out in the end and was fun, but early on was rough going. Yesterday I only needed to get out once at the point where the Split Rock dumps into the Big Sioux... seemed to be completely silted in, though I may have just missed a channel too.
I believe we had 12 or 13 paddlers with one young woman having to depart early. I hope she continues to kayak and is able to complete the trip next year. It seems this blog is viewed by more SDCA members than I realized. It seems that if I plan another camping trip next year. I might have more interest. It also sounds like a few people are interested in joining John and I for one day of our paddling next weekend. I think the best fit for this would be from our put in at the Chief White Crane Rec Area to St Helena, NE. Our goal is to camp Saturday night around Bow Creek but St Helena is an emergency campsite (weather, etc.) and a good place for a break from paddling during the day.
And on to the slide show of my pictures: