Ideas to Survive an Extended Shoulder Season.

8 01 2018

Many parts of the country may never experience a shoulder season for outdoor activities.  In western Oregon the shoulder season phenomena usually occurs in spring and fall as trails get too wet to ride, snow is too shallow to ski, rocks are too wet to climb and conditions are overall more challenging to deal with.  Normally by early January we are out of the shoulder season and full swing into winter activities, but this year that’s not the case.  The snow is refusing to fall!

There is an upside to shoulder seasons as most people are driven inside by the conditions and stay home.  Finding a partner to join in your adventure may be more difficult, but if you are seeking solitude this can be a great time to find it.  Gear to stay relatively comfortable and multiple activity options to match current conditions can allow you to remain outside playing all year long.

Kayaking and canoeing is the classic in-between season activity.  Whether whitewater or flat, paddlesports require water and water is often in high supply as it falls in autumn and snow melts in the spring.  With the correct gear, kayaking can keep the active outdoors person sane during rainy shoulder seasons that make many other activities not possible.

kayak

Traveling a short distance can show a significant difference in weather.  In western Oregon a short drive to the coast may bring warmer weather and no rain.  It can also bring large storms and wind so check the weather throughout the week to see changes in the forecast.  The shoulder season is a perfect time to visit the sand dunes if you have never been there.  Unlike in summer, crowds are few and noise is minimal.  A clear evening spent on the expansive dunes is similar to clear evenings on snowy slopes and it’s way easier to cook fresh oysters over a fire.  Florence and Winchester Bay dunes both offer camping on the dunes for $10.  Make sure to research the rules and regulations before heading out. Dunes Rec Guide

sand 1

Bike touring is a great activity that can take advantage of short two day breaks in weather.  The adventure starts directly from your doorstep and in many areas, 35 miles outside of town is all that’s needed for a great destination.  Depart Saturday at noon and return Sunday at noon with plenty of opportunity for stories in between.  Beware that winter clothing and sleeping bags take up much more space in your packs than traditional summer touring gear.

tour

If you still can’t find the motivation to get out, use the time to check over your gear and fix the needs that are neglected during the prime season.  Explore maps and plan your next adventure or watch countless online videos that might help spark your next mission idea.

However you do it, don’t let this extended shoulder season get you down.  Try new things that fit the conditions, search out new places and find yourself alone in the great outdoors.

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ACA Swiftwater Rescue Experience

2 06 2017

live bait

If I had to identify with just one sport, it would be cycling. I’m an instructor for Bike Safety Education and Mountain Bike Adventure summer camps through the River House Outdoor Center. I raced extensively for seven years, two at the national level, and worked at bike shops for several years.  I have taught numerous bike skills clinics. When it comes to biking, I know my stuff.

That is not the case with river sports. While I have enjoyed some time rafting, canoeing, SUP’ing, or just hanging out and playing in the water, I’m a total beginner at all river and paddle sports. The truth is, the river scares me a little. I have never been very sure of what’s going on under that blue shimmer and white splashes, so I have remained hesitant to get completely obsessed with any river sport. I tried learning to kayak years ago, and just couldn’t get the roll down, so I gave up.

This will be my first summer working for the River House, and I plan to utilize all the opportunities available to me to expand my knowledge and add to my skills. Oregon offers so many awesome rivers, full fun activity and adventure, so I set for myself the goal to learn more skills and become proficient in a variety of river activities. A big first step was taking a Swiftwater Rescue certification class through American Canoe Association (ACA). I had to miss a few great mountain bike rides, but dedicating my weekend to personal growth and education was absolutely worth it!

Our instructor, Marciel Bieg, also a River House employee, started by laying the groundwork and philosophy—our priorities when doing a rescue. Number one, don’t become another victim! Just a few hours in the classroom covered all the basics. Then we learned to use throw ropes on dry land. By afternoon we were practicing rescue techniques in a rapid near the Autzen Footbridge.

On day two we learned a variety of anchor systems and mechanical advantage systems. My knowledge of rock climbing anchors really helped here, but even those with little experience learned to create safe anchors from a variety of materials. Then we piled on a bus and took to Row River to practice our skills.

We floated down a small rapid, practiced throw ropes and live bait rescue techniques. One of my favorite parts was trying to wade across the swift-moving river. It was a huge challenge, and I found myself floating downstream, never making it to the other side. We crossed with partners, and even rescued a “victim” as a group.

This experience helped me gain an enormous amount of confidence in the river. I am now able to advance my skills and knowledge of rafting and SUP’ing, knowing that I can handle whatever situation arises and help keep myself and the people around me safe.

This course is not just for professional guides. Literally ANYONE spending time in and around the river—it’s Eugene, so that’s pretty much everyone—would benefit from taking a Swiftwater Rescue course, or some kind of river safety education material our course.

I’m looking forward to an awesome summer full of mountain biking and river adventures!

-Misha Fuller

(The River House Instructor Development Fund makes money available for staff to use to better their skills through classes and training. In return the River House receives highly skilled staff and blog posts describing their experiences.)

crossing

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The Big Andrew Foundation presents The White Salmon Kayak Race

5 04 2017

andrewkayak

Founded in 2008 following the passing of  Andrew Gmelch, who at 15 years old lost his 2 year battle with cancer, The Big Andrew Foundation is a community based non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness as well as financial and moral support for cancer patients and their families.

All proceeds from the event go to the Tom Potter Expense Relief Fund and the Providence Hood River Oncology Center.

June 3rd is the 1st Annual Big Andrew White Salmon Kayak Race that will bring together an epic group of paddlers on a classic piece of PNW whitewater. Utilizing a time-trial format, racers will start just below BZ falls and make their way five miles downstream to the finish line in Husum, WA. Spectators will enjoy excellent viewing at the BZ corner launch site, with unrestricted access to the scenic shores of the White Salmon river. Kegs of cold Ninkasi beer will be conveniently located at BZ corner start area and Husum falls finish line.

For more info on The Big Andrew Foundation- TheBigAndrew.com

To sign-up for the event or learn more- Kayak Race

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Swift Water Rescue Training

28 02 2017

swiftWith all the luck of the sky and the mountains, the storms have returned gifting us all with an abundance of sleet, snow pack, and rain drops.  The essence of life.  Thanks to an intricate and unexplainable series of fortunate events, I find myself granted the opportunity to travel into the heart of the forest and mountains; to travel into the river itself.  What’s more is the unexplainable magic of the opportunity to take part in the re-creation of the experience and adventure within the lives of others, from all walks of life, by means of a sea worthy whitewater raft.  Though simple in concept, these adventures and undertakings of which hold the power to shape shift lives and worlds, are also undeniably counterbalanced by the weight of risk.

Read the rest of this entry »





This is COLOSSAL

28 12 2015

If you are bored at home during the holiday break then get lost in the site- thisiscolossal.com.  The brilliance that pours out of the mixed art pieces is astounding.   Take a look and find inspiration.  I’m not very artistic but can recognize creativity and craftsmanship and most things posted to this site are wonderful. It’s a beautiful world of visual artists, performers, craftsmen, and designers.  Check back often as it’s updated every day and can take you to new universes or may even inspire your own project.

Here are a few of my favorite post:


The Motions of Kayaking and Canoeing Recorded through Light Painting on Canadian Waterways

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/12/water-light-painting/

canoe


Pouring a Thermos of Hot Tea at -40°C Near the Arctic Circle

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/12/pouring-a-thermos-of-hot-tea-at-40c-at-sunset/

tea


The Force of Nature: A Series of Sculptures That Depict Mother Nature Hurling Planet Earth in Circles

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/08/force-of-nature/

world


Newly Restored Photos of Shackleton’s Fateful Antarctic Voyage Offer Unprecedented Details of Survival

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/12/newly-restored-endurance-photos/

shackleton

 


A 100-Year-Old Church in Spain Transformed into a Skate Park Covered in Murals by Okuda San Miguel

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/12/skate-church-okuda-san-miguel/

church


Table Topography: Wood Furniture Embedded with Glass Rivers and Lakes by Greg Klassen

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/07/table-topography-greg-klassen/

table


San Francisco-Based Company Builds Guitars From Recycled Skateboard Decks

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/07/san-francisco-based-company-builds-guitars-from-recycled-skateboard-decks/

guitar

 

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Ultimate senior project: the custom kayak

17 10 2014

Engineer and whitewater paddler Quinn Connell’s quest to build his own freestyle kayak

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Endangered Rivers

3 09 2014

My elementary school years involved spending a rather large chunk of time learning about Endangered Species–one year I made a paper mache manatee, and another year, I dressed as a ring-tailed lemur (no easy feat).  We did not discuss Endangered Rivers. Did you? I just discovered this term–but see it in action every year as I go back home to my river, the Bourbeuse River, in Missouri. Swimming or canoeing down to ‘Big Rock’–the exceedingly creative name my family chose for…a big rock–is now more like swimming in a wide, muddy drainage ditch. I will never again be chased out of the river by a water snake, or spend hours making tadpole homes. My uncle isn’t setting up the trotline at 4am anymore.

If you can relate to this sentiment, and even if you can’t, I highly suggest you check out this article, linked below. Let’s expand our talk of Endangered Species to the rivers, the forests, and the prairies.

Down the ‘Apocalypse River’

blog post by Michelle Brown

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