Monday, September 22, 2008

Back on the Water

I met Andy this spring and discovered he was an avid kayaker without a kayak. He did have a wheelchair though and limited use of his body from the collarbones up. Enough to get him back on the water and paddling again.
Andy Janicki, Kevin Carr, Karen Carr at a Rutabaga-sponsored adaptive paddling event
Andy Janicki talking with Kevin and Karen Carr, owners of Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories
Johnson Outdoors, who just happens to have their headquarters in the great town of Racine, WI., donated a kayak to Andy's employer, the Wisconsin DNR, to further Andy's efforts in promoting adaptive paddling. The paddling community, across the country, came together and raised enough money to purchase adaptive paddling gear. With that, we were off.

I met Andy at Devil's Lake State Park one day in mid-July, got the boat set up and him in it. Then - he was off and free again, paddling on his own for the first time in almost four years.

Dana Johnson's efforts getting the word out within the paddling community were instrumental in this effort being a success.
Andy Janicki back on the water
Andy Janicki, back on the water thanks to Johnson Outdoors and the paddling community
Next time you are in Brookfield, WI., be sure and stop in at the REI there and ask for Dana. She's great. Johnson Outdoors is one of the few publicly held companies in the paddlesports world. It's a pretty big place with alot going on. Cynthia Georgeson works there and was instrumental in making this happen. She took the time to listen and care and make something good happen for the small world of adaptive paddling. People like her will help this effort grow and reach out to more people.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Doing the Right Thing for Gordon Creek

Or maybe it should be "Trout Economics"? At any rate, regardless of what the working title is, we are creating a short film for the Southern Wisconsin chapter of Trout Unlimited about the restoration efforts they, and many other parties, are making in the Gordon Creek watershed.

A stretch of Gordon Creek, looking north, restoration partially complete.

For me, this is an unexpectedly complex but interesting view into the "what why and how" of a watershed restoration project. On first view, I thought this would be about placing some structures back in the stream and the people doing the work. It is some of that. But there is so much behind the scenes, it makes the actual in-stream work seem like that 10% of the iceberg you can see, while the hidden 90% lurks under the surface.

The final step for stream restoration. A large machine made delicate in the hands of a skilled operator

That hidden 90% of stream restoration is all about land ownership, access rights, township-county-state-federal-citizen-nonprofit cooperation and interaction, the issue of invasive plant species, and of course what needs to be done to improve trout habitat. The more I see and learn, the more fascinating the whole behind the scenes effort becomes.

At its heart, restoration work is about land and water stewardship. Ultimately doing the right thing. Getting the work done is also a marvel of cooperation between many parties and many people.

The trout like it too!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another Great Labor Day at Lake Wazeecha

The Labor Day weekend was great this year. Again. And again we went to Lake Wazeecha up in central Wisconsin. The kids are a year older than last time,
Labor Day at Lake Wazeecha

In the middle of a wonderful
three days at Wazeecha

which made a difference. They're all strong swimmers now and they're all strong bike riders. So even though my wife and I still keep them on a short leash, they are also now self entertaining and able to mostly think for themselves. Which meant there was time for other stuff besides kids. We brought up lots of boats and bikes and used them all. Usually, half the stuff we bring we could have done without as it went unused.
Boats bound for Wazeecha
Having a trailer makes (un)loading much easier

I found a fly rod in my hand which was nice. Caught nothing - but I find the motion and the concentration you need to cast a fly line to be nearly hypnotic.
Flyfishing for the fun of it

Perfect evening except for lack of fish. Boats probably not helping matters.

So the lack of fish was the cost of the simple pleasure. Besides with all the boat traffic and warmth, I'm betting the fish were deep and I was fishing a grasshopper imitation near surface.

Our little shoebox dog, Banjo,
small dog camping

Our little shoebox warrior keeping the world safe.

enjoyed herself this time around. She usually does. She has new dirt to roll in and new smells to entice her.

Gas prices have gone down a bit, so maybe the new found meaning of a staycation has lost some of its resonance. Nevertheless, with pleasant places like Lake Wazeecha less than two hours from our door, we are all happy to stay close to home and find beaucoup enjoyment doing little things in local places. Go find one of those spots near you and start enjoying your own pleasant place!