Category Archives: Water

Bear River Falls and Rapids

Kirk over at Hearthside Grove was kind enough to venture out in the cold and take some photos of the falls and rapids near the mouth of the Bear River. Kirk posted his shots to Flickr, and I’ve linked to them below:

Falls:

Falls

Rapids:

Rapids

The rapids are probably manageable for the savvy whitewater paddler, but there is no way I can see getting a 16’6″ folding sea kayak through those! Thanks again to Kirk for proving that I’ll need to figure out a spot to get fished out before the river mouth!

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Projected 2008 Outing: Bear River, Michigan

For the next entry in my series of proposed outings, I present the Bear River!

BearRiver.png

The total length of this planned route is about 12 miles from Walloon Lake to the bend just before the river enters Petoskey proper. There are a few things to keep in mind about this proposed route, and I need to try and research them before I get there in July!

    Bear River, Michigan Pointers:

  • Overall Journey Length should be about 12 miles.
  • This distance should be manageable since it will be with the current.
  • From the internet it is unclear if the Bear River is navigable by kayak over its entire length. 24k topo maps don’t do much to clarify this either.
  • It’s also unclear what type of boat traffic I might have to share the river with in the summer.
  • Regardless of the level of boat traffic an early start is warranted.
  • I plan to get fished out before entering Petoskey because it is more likely there will be an open area to knock down the Cooper.
  • The other reason for not paddling to the mouth of the Bear River is that area has some Class II/Class III rapids. The Folbot Cooper is a very capable sea kayak, but at 16’6″ it is unsuited for that type of use!
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Cell Phones vs. VHF Marine Radios

One question that’s been running through my mind as I plan to venture farther afield in my kayak is whether or not to purchase a handheld, marine VHF radio.

At this point most of my journeys have been on freshwater lakes that are not terribly removed from civilization. At worst my cell phone has been reduced to a roaming state.

However, I eventually plan to go places where I may not even get the benefit of roaming coverage.

To get others’ opinions, I began a Facebook discussion on this topic, and I received a very helpful reply from Christopher Strout:

“I HIGHLY suggest getting a VHF radio. When I paddle I always carry one. I also will often carry my cell phone. Some reasons to have a VHF. They are generally submersible rated unlike your cell phone meaning that it can get wet and still work. When using a cell phone you have to know phone numbers.”

Chris’ complete, and very informative, response may be found here:
Cell Phone vs. VHF Marine Radio

Best Paddling!

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The BEST Folding Kayak Resource!

Many people out there might be wondering where they can get more information on the sport of folding kayaking?

Well, look no further folks, because by far the best folding kayak resource on the Web is found at:

Foldingkayaks.org

All the information, reviews, tips, and discussion that you could hope for when it comes to folding boats!

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Projected 2008 Kayaking Outings, Part I

The first outing I’ve planned for 2008 is something that I’ve wanted to try for a while. The plan is to camp out in the Dunes at Petoskey State Park in Petoskey, Michigan.

This should serve as a great jumping off point for paddles along the coast of Little Traverse Bay to the marinas at Harbor Springs and Petoskey, Michigan.

The projected routes are shown in the image below. Both of them are about 7 miles long, roundtrip:

2008_petoskey.png

The only concerns about these two tracks are the appearance of whitecaps or excessive boat traffic. Docks or some kind of landings should be available at the midpoints of both routes.

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Lake Champlain, VT: Part III

My final venture into Lake Champlain this summer was a circumnavigation of Savage Island. The journey was undertaken on August 29th, 2007 and the entire trip was about 7.92 miles in length. The GPS track of this journey is shown in the graphic immediately below:

vt_track3.png
    Lake Champlain, VT, Around Savage Island, 8/29/07:

  • The first part of the journey was an easterly sprint across Lake Champlain to the southern end of Savage Island.
  • Once the southern tip of the island was reached it was time for a water break and half an energy bar.
  • Several interesting details were visible on the eastern side of the island, which is private like Fish Bladder Island.
  • There appears to be a working sheep farm on Savage Island.
  • A manor, possibly a summer home, was also visible.
  • As I reached the northeastern corner of the island I was able to watch a plane land and takeoff from the landing strip.
  • I also encountered a sailboat at anchor off the northern tip of the island.
  • At this point I stopped for more water and the remainder of my energy bar.
  • The kink in my track off the northwestern point of the island was due to a line of barely submerged rocks. I thought there was going to be an opening with enough draft to let me through. This wasn’t quite the case!
  • This line of rocks was the resting point for a massive flock of gulls
  • The southern passage in front of the island’s western shore was unremarkable. The items visible on the eastern side were masked by trees.
  • The return westerly sprint to the boat launch was uneventful…unless you count the seaplane that was practicing takeoffs and landings in front of the state park! Uh, WTF dude?!
  • I wanted to make it around yet another island while in VT, but I was too fatigued during the day following this paddle. The next day it looked as though it was going to rain torrents all day, so I broke camp and headed back to Rochester!

    That concludes the recap of my summer kayaking journeys for the year 2007. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about them, and I hope to have more to present later in the year 2008!

    Feel free to drop any comments or ask any questions!

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Lake Champlain, VT Part II

The next thing I should mention about my Folbot Cooper are all the great compliments I receive from other paddlers and people I meet at the boat launch.

People are endlessly fascinated by the assembly process, and their curiosity leads to all manner of conversation. Some onlookers are even eager to join in and lend a hand with the assembly process!

I also want to mention that the Cooper is a fantastic looking boat! The quality of the hull fabrics is so HIGH that the Cooper looks as good as or BETTER than most plastic boats in its price range! This was immediately evident when I loaded it on the storage rack next to other boats at Grand Isle State Park.

Getting back to actually paddling, my second outing from Grand Isle State Park took me on a circumnavigation of Fish Bladder Island. Great name, eh? I made this journey on August 27th, 2007. The GPS track of this journey was about 5.34 miles, and it is shown in the image below:

vt_track2.png

This paddle wasn’t too tough, and I think that getting into the water early, around 9:30 AM, made a heck of a difference. There are not many powerboaters out during that time other than fishermen. OTOH, one does have to watch out for the guys blasting all over the lake in their bass boats. Man they can move!

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Lake Champlain, VT Part I

First I should mention Folbot’s excellent lifetime warranty and customer service when it came to replacing the C-clip that was missing on one of my crossmembers. I was able to email Wanda and she shipped the parts immediately with no hassle! It’s greatly reassuring when a company stands behind its product like this!

My earlier posts regarding Vermont basically covered my camping experience there and how my camping gear functioned. This post is the first of three detailing my on-the-water experiences in Lake Champlain, VT while camped at Grand Isle State Park.

The plot below shows the route I followed in a northerly direction from the boat launch at Grand Isle State Park. It basically passes by a couple bays and stops just short of Hyde Point. I paddled this on the afternoon of August 26th, 2007. The total length was about 6.77 miles:

vt_track1.png

Cooper Bay and Pearl Bay were interesting to paddle across, and there were several intriguing rock formations just north of the boat launch. The unnamed point where I finally turned around was also an interesting bit of scenery. I would present some pics, but unfortunately I lost them when I foolishly downloaded them from my camera to my hard drive. Oh well….

The boat traffic was surprisingly light, and again the Cooper performed flawlessly on this venture. I should also mention that Fish Bladder Island is a private island, and the islet off the north end of the island is actually linked to it via sandbar. This is due to the lower water levels we’ve recently been experiencing in the Great Lakes basin.

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Indian River, Part II

After my run to Mullett Lake on July 6th, I decided to paddle southwest towards Burt Lake on July 7th, 2007. This trip was about 5 miles in length, and the track is shown on the screencap below:

To_Burt.png

The nice thing about this trip was that the return from Burt Lake was WITH the current, and as a result it saved me a bit of work.

Once again I have to praise the performance of the Cooper. It is surprisingly nimble and quick when one needs to make a U-turn in front of a fairly trafficked channel mouth. There is simply too much boat traffic present to venture into the lake during this time of year!

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Indian River, MI, Part I

This the next post recalling my adventures during the summer of 2007. I spent the first half of the July 4th holiday week camped out at Interlochen, MI and I spent the second half of the week staying at the house I grew up in. Fortunately the river running by our backyard still had enough depth to allow me to float the Cooper and head out toward the Indian River.

A plot of my first foray into the Indian River is shown below:

To_Mullet.png

Note that the river meanders in a northeasterly direction between Burt and Mullett Lakes. For my first venture, I paddled toward Mullett Lake and back to our house on July 6th, 2007. The track shown is about 8 miles in length. The highlights of the journey were as follows:

    Indian River, MI, Towards Mullet Lake, 7/6/07:

  • I’m about 175 lbs., and even after adding a basic gear bag the Cooper’s draft was shallow enough to easily float in four or five inches of water!
  • Paddling downstream toward Mullett Lake was no problem. Even though the channel is full of powerboats one can easily cling to the reeds at channel’s edge.
  • There are also some nifty shortcuts through the reeds that powerboats simply can’t go.
  • In the direction of the current, keeping up with boaters was no problem because the Indian River is a no wake zone…unless you run into one of the more impatient types out there.
  • One of the best parts of kayaking is how closely you can approach waterfowl in a kayak.
  • Once again an energy gel proved invaluable at the turnaround point of my paddle.
  • Paddling southwest against the current was an entirely different story…stay off to the side and use the shortcuts through the reeds! Wait up for boaters if necessary.
  • Overall this journey was about 8 miles in total and it took me a little more than two hours to complete…not a bad day’s work!

I probably should’ve gotten out earlier to avoid some of the boat traffic, but in the end this was a great way to spend a sunny summer afternoon on vacation!

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