Monday, February 28, 2011

The expedition journal

Salal from the journal of Lewis and Clark
When ever my family would go on a trip I would get a little spiral notebook with plenty of paper some pencils and a sharpener to journal the trip.  I always looked on adventure as a way to relive the  exploits of people like Lewis and Clark, Livingstone, or maybe even Marco Polo.  

The great explorers of the past not only wrote about their thoughts and feeling of the days events but also drew pictures and description of local plants and animals.  They were not only recording historical data for posterity's sake but also learning.  What I mean by this is, whenever you take the time to draw a picture out you find subtle differences and nuances created into nature.  Also, when the hands and eyes are engaged the mind must be engaged which is where learning takes place.  

To illustrate my point.  Back in the summer of 1991 a friend and I decided to do an 11 day 90 mile hike around Glacier Peak, the most remote of the Volcanoes in the Central Washington Cascades.  I took a little note book and recorded both the events of the day and drew pictures of plants and landscapes with notes about them.  

For some people the future also hold fame and what better way to show where you came from then to keep a log or journal of past adventures.  I am sure Teddy Roosevelt wrote about his great hunts while on Safari and the trip that almost killed him into the jungles of South America.  Here is the real point, whenever you go on an adventure the best learning device is a pencil and a piece of paper. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Another Loch Ness monster?

Okay this is just a fun adventure.  Two younger adults were kayaking in Lake Windermere in the UK when they spotted what appeared to be four humps moving through the water at about 10 miles per hour they claim it is the less famous Brownessie cousin to Loch Ness.  They even snapped a fuzzy picture, aren't they always fuzzy or out of focus?, of the "creature", then made a quick exit stage left from the lake probably to get their picture to the local news man as quick as possible, or at least get close enough to a cell tower to send their picture.  At least one question begs to be asked, is there really an ancient creature trolling the depth of Lake Windermere or just another of person looking for fame?  Again I say what a thrilling adventure, if the story is true.  You can read more on the ABC News site.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Climber falls 1000ft and still plans to climb Mt Everest

Adam Potter took a 1000 ft fall/slide off Sgurr Choinnich Mor in Scotland and ended up on a bolder unconscious and a back that was broken in three places.  After he revived he was found by the crew of the HMS Gannet Sea king while consulting his map for a way home.  He says he is still planning on climbing Mt Everest in eight weeks as long as his back heals up properly.  For more details read the article on the Survivors Club Website.

Monday, February 21, 2011

No experience Req'd

Here is a wonderful documentary about five friends who decide to go on a sea kayaking trip from Vancouver BC to Ketchikan, Alaska, a trip of about 700 miles.  These five adventures document some of their impressions, experiences and even frustrations along the way.  In the end they discover life at a kayak's pace.  Just one warning language was not an issue in the editing of this film.  So enjoy and  maybe this will spark a desire for a little adventure of your own.

No Experience Required_Full HQ from StuntBeaver Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Andrew Skurka's Alaska Yukon Trek

I am starting a new segment in my blog called Adventure in the News.  The purpose is just to give some updates about people and their exciting expeditions. In this months edition of National Geographic is an article about Andrew Skurka.  Skurka, a 29 year old, has trekked more the 25000 miles since 2002, a truly extraordinary feet of the feet.  His last expedition which can be read about online at the National Geographic site tells of his trek through the wilderness of Alaska, a distance of 4679 miles over multiple mountain ranges.  He not only walked the miles but skied and rafted, too.  What's more is he soloed the entire trip.  To read more about Skurka and his amazing feet click here National Geographic

Monday, February 14, 2011

Building The Pygmy Kayak - Part 3

 Getting back to the Pygmy.  The next step should have been an easy one, putting the deck onto the hull.  Well guess what, I put it on wrong.  There is a seam where the joints of each panel are butted together, they should have lined up but in my excitement I tried to line the deck up with the points at the bow and stern.  Unfortunately I did not realize my error until after the epoxy had dried a week later.  I was not that far off but it required a little extra sanding to at least make things look straight.  Outside the temperature had dropped to below freezing temperature and my epoxy just was not drying very fast, overnight dry times became two weeks.  I finally built a plastic tent over the boat and placed a space heater underneath for a couple of hours at a time while I sat in my car outside of the storage unit watching movies on my laptop. 
Putting the fiberglass onto the deck happened to be next, what could be more exciting.  Again I failed to reread the instructions as I took each step.  Thinking I had this down by memory I laid out the cloth and cut it.  According to the instructions the cloth should be layout out in two pieces, but I ended up having to cut the cloth twice and laying out three pieces.  This error required some extra sanding and a little extra epoxy to smooth the whole thing out.  After each coat of epoxy the space heater was recruited for more action.

Finally a mostly complete kayak.  The combing and the seat panels were the last two steps both went in without even a hint of a problem.  I could not have asked for more than that.  One of the possible additions for the Pygmy Kayak is the bulkhead and hatch kit.  I purchased these so that I could use my kayak for overnight trips.  The layout of the hatches went very well, then again I did not do exactly as the instructions instructed.  According to the instructions you should cut the openings for the hatches with a saw blade held with a pair of vice grips, I used a jigsaw with a laser sight.  Even moving slowly the saw never quite stayed along the preassigned line, oh well.  After another five hour session of sanding the varnish went on and she is ready paddle away. 

I excitedly load my new boat up onto the top of my car and headed off to the local puddle, Fish Lake, for its maiden voyage.  Once out on the water I really did not want to go home, she floated beautifully and was extraordinarily stable, a big concern for me, since I almost lost my father and grandfather in a kayaking accident on the Nooksack River when I was a small child.  

What did I learn from this experience.  First always walk through the instructions as you are doing each step, do not rely on memory.  Two, if using epoxy plan on working during warmer weather, the project took eight months instead of the three I had planned because of dry times.  Three, patience is key to building anything, from boats to friendships.

Here are the links to read about the previous two articles:
Also see the slide of the build

Monday, February 7, 2011

Some thoughts of this years adventures

Every year I find it a useful exercise to list out the things I would like to either begin to pursue or accomplish and some of those goals include some of the adventures I would like to partake in. So here they are:

1) For years I have wanted to do the entire Columbia Plateau Trail from Cheney to the Tri-Cities. I have walked from Fish Lake all the way out to Lamont, not all at once but over the course of about four Saturdays. Now I am planning on doing the rest on my Mountain Bike. 

2) An adventure I haven't done since I was a child is bike camp in the San Juan Island. My parents used to take us to Lopez Island, the camp ground was on the other side of the very steep hill just off the ferry. Well the hill was very steep to a 10 year old on a one speed bike.

3) Every since I drove the North Cascades Highway I have wanted to boat camp in the Lake above Diablo Dam. The lake stretches into Canada, though I think the entry point is also in Canada.

4) Speaking of boating, Lake Roosevelt is also on my list of place to put my Kayak in for a nice day trip, maybe somewhere around Steamboat Rock.

5) I am still working out with Statler and Waldorf where we are going to go for our climbing expeditions. But I am sure there will be plenty of misadventure to follow with those two. As a side note, Statler and Waldorf whom I have mentioned before are the names I have selected for my friends in order to keep their real names protected. Statler and Waldorf are the two grumpy old men in the balcony of the Muppet Show who always have such witty repartee.

I am sure this list will grow but for now it is a start and it may not get accomplished this summer or even the next but it does give a direction to go.