Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quietwater Canoecopia 2012 seminar on bent shaft laminated paddlemaking

Hello world!

Nancy Saulsbury, who has long been doing some great work at Rutabaga as well as equally great stuff at Canoecopia, called recently and informed me that my proposal was accepted.  I will be giving a couple of seminars on making bent shaft laminated paddles.

The seminar will show what the steps in bent shaft paddle making look like. I will discuss how I do the laminating (hint: it's not rocket science), the bending, and the fiberglass bits and pieces. The tools and forms will be shown and shared as well. I will also be offering paddle making kits and an instructional DVD for those that want to try making their own paddle. I use these techniques to make standup paddleboard paddles, but these same techniques work equally well for making shorter canoe paddles too.

This has long been a labor of love for me. I made my very first paddle back in fourth or fifth grade. Still have it. I'll bring it to the seminar. Woodworking is something I have always done purely for the pleasure of being in the garage, smelling cedar and watching the curl form behind a spokeshave. Hours fly by and the cup of coffee goes cold on the workbench.

A few years back I made a hollow wood standup paddleboard and realized that I had no paddle to go with it. So I proceeded to make a standup paddleboard paddle. And then a few more. A couple years later, both board and paddles are still in use and have spent many a paddle stroke in Lake Kegonsa and the Yahara River, my two most-used local paddling spots. For the record Fish Camp Park on the northwest corner of Lake Kegonsa is a fine place to put-in and either go up the river or out into Lake Kegonsa.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BLM maps of public islands in Wisconsin

picture of a map showing public islands in the Wisconsin River
Last year at Canoecopia 2011, Derek Strohl, a Natural Resources Specialist with the BLM, had a booth full of maps. Being a sucker for maps and pictures in general, I wandered over and looked at the maps he had.  We talked for awhile and the story he had to tell was one of public land that is little known and very lightly used.  Islands.   The maps he had, revealed the publicly-owned and therefore accessible, islands, all in/on rivers and flowages in the state of Wisconsin.

Turns out that when surveyors were doing their thing back in the day, for whatever reason, they rarely went out into the rivers and did their surveyor thing on river islands.  So those islands were skipped.  Fast forward to now, et voila we, the public, can paddle out to these river and flowage islands and enjoy them.  This is a good thing.  The map at the top shows a chunk of the Wisconsin River in the center part of the state with numerous islands.  Yes it is kind of an urban thing.  But if you want a simple day trip or only have a few hours, something like this can hit that spot.  As before, no need to wait all year for an epic roadtrip to the BWCA, when you can go paddle to an island on the way home after work or on a Saturday get-away.

Here’s how to get them, via an email from Derek Strohl.  He writes:
1.Go to https://www.blm.gov/sfta/anonymous/anonymousLogin.do
2. Enter your e-mail address in the Email Address box, and enter the jumbled text in the next box.
3. When you receive an automated e-mail confirmation message, click on the link provided and reenter your e-mail address and the jumbled text.
4.After you are logged into the system, click on pub then ES then maps  then publicislands
5.Select the map or maps to download by checking the box next to each map that you want.
6. When you have checked all the maps you want, click Get Selection(s)

Derek also writes:
I understand that you may not be spending much time on the waters for the next few months, but, when you do, I would love to hear from you if you get to visit any of the BLM islands.

Happy paddling/hunting/fishing/skiing

picture of BLM Derek Strohl contact info

P.S. After learning the hard way- Don't pick too many or the zipping takes forever and the page times out.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A sweet simple paddle on the Yahara

Today was hard to beat. Standup paddleboard and a brand new paddle. Load up and go. Seven minutes later I am at Fish Camp Park on the Yahara. One other car at the put-in. New paddle immediately feels awesome. Distinctly different from its predecessor. Both are good though. River is wonderful. Water is clear. Looks clean. Most definitely NOT GREEN! There is grass growing in it, but it is a warm water shallow river. What should be growing? Lots of sand patches and the occasional rock. Lots of little fish. Didn't see any big fish this time out.

Chased this around for a bit. The first fall leaf. It had to come sooner or later I guess. Brought both paddles along, in case the new one didn't feel good. It did feel good though. So did the old one. Really like standup paddleboarding. While I've been in canoes for about 35 years now and love them a bunch, a canoe is a sitting sport and one that I associate (still) with the BWCA. But this paddleboard stuff....it's an all over workout, it's on the water, with a paddle. More intricate than paddling a canoe. More of a whole body thing, plus balance, plus a great angle to look into the water. With canoeing water too far away for daily use, a SUP and the Yahara is PERFECT.

Mud Lake is a good halfway point for my usual paddle on this stretch of the river. While there is a good bit of grass in this lake, the water is clear. NO MUD was evident at all. Not sure what the heron was up to. Didn't look like a nest site, not quite right for fishing. Must have been guarding the lake. Another mile or so upstream from this point is the Hwy 51 bridge crossing. Had the whole stretch of the river to myself this afternoon. Could have been the BWCA. Quiet, soft wind, perfect water, perfect sun. Great paddle today. Minutes from the house. Couldn't ask for a better setup.