The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ice Water

Looks warm right ? 

 So I got this message on the Imperial Venture Corps FB page   Canoeing minnehaha creek today. Dam release is at 300 it is going to be a bit spicy with a couple bridges. And cold. Still in the planning phase but likely starting at noon at Minnetonka Mills and going for a couple hours.    I replied back..... needing a little more info, but basically... IN.
The water is cold and very clear. I used to seeing it a lot murkier 

 At the time of this writing the creek is way up , at 300cfs at Gray's Bay dam, and not normal for the end of November. The chart below is from the Canoe Minnehaha Creek website. 
DISCHARGE (Cubic feet per second [cfs])CREEK CONDITION
Less than 75 cfsPoor
75 cfs - 150 cfsGood
Greater than 150 cfsDangerous
small-ish rapids typical  

going under 169

prepare to ram 
  Five of us met at the above mentioned location around 12:30 pm, air temp around 26-27 F, and were in the water shortly after. I was the (in a singing voice) "one of these kids is doin' his own thing"  as the lone kayaker. The other four gentlemen (Oneil and three others that do not have code names yet) were riding high in two canoes. I say riding high because my low-riding kayak had me sitting in a seat full of water within 10 minutes after the second set of small rapids. Despite having somewhat of a spray skirt on my recreational kayak with an enormous cockpit, the water splashed in from the side.  Fortunately my thick layers of clothing absorbed the water and my legs got to enjoy the cold as well as my ass, all the while my neatly kept drysuit remained on the floor of my van. Note; if you have a dry suit and it would make sense to use it don't leave it in your vehicle. 
Ice breaker "Clifford" 

Take out at the dam in Edina 
  The rest of the day went smoothly, and not that much different than paddling in the summer, except for the attempts to turn our boats into mini ice breakers on the sections of flat water. Nearing the take out, several hours after starting, the sun began to fade the wind picked up. I was getting a bit of a chill going and my thoughts wandered to that of a hot tub ,and me in it.  We had covered about nine miles, which seemed about perfect to me. There were no complaints from the others so I would assume they all had a good time and were ready to finish up as well. This day-trip has sparked some interest for me to try and paddle at least once a month through the winter, I'm ready for more as long as there is some open water.

PS... not sure why the writing and font is all F-ed up ....I'll try to fix it later

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Extended Season

 The fall weather around here has been fantastic and has carried on for quite a while, aside from it being dark at 5pm it feels more like late September. .

  Last weekend I was on a kick to spend couple nights outside with friends, and my kids, on two separate over-nighters. The first camp-out was Friday night with ArcFlash and Best in Schow down at a little spot we've nicknamed #$@^&*. ArcFlash and myself re-coned this spot a couple years ago and were excited to finally camp on this location.

had the roof all to myself 

  It was a warm night sitting by the fire cooking dinner and telling stories. Since all the bugs are dead and it wasn't going to rain I slept without a tent or bivy....on the roof, under the stars. The next morning we got going right away and were all off to other commitments and adventures.
AF's digs

New stove....chained and locked to the bell housing...that ought to slow them down a little
 As soon as I got home I was preparing gear for the boys and I to at The Wreck. They helped me build it two years ago and have not spent much time in it another than a couple lunch breaks. The Thursday before, Big D and I headed out to give it a check up and resupply some fire wood. To our disgust and anger, some fucking asshole stole the wood stove. Friday, an hour and a half before leaving work, I quickly assembled a new and improved one, and installed it Saturday morning before we would need it that evening. I also did a little painting of the interior and added some more expanding foam to tighten up the air gaps
Dinty Moore beef's what's for dinner

can I get a .....hells yeah 

  The boys and I made our way to the Wreck after dark loaded down with dinner,treats, pop, and breakfast. I stayed inside most of the night cooking their dinner and getting things settled, they stayed outside and built forts. They finally came in around 10pm and got ready for bed. Due to the small area inside I slept outside again, sans tent or bivy. It was little creepy leaving the warm safety of the steel walls to sleep out in the open. However, I fell asleep right away and didn't wake until the sky started to brighten in the early morning hours.

With the angle of the car...they all ended up toward the dash board ....still no room for me

I may add a new piece of fabric for the door
       In the morning there wasn't much to do but eat a little snack and pack up, we were rolling out by about 9am. We all had a great time both nights, it's always good to get out, even if it's not some far away exotic location, the effect is still the same.

D Rider .....out

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Winter Camping Symposium 2015

The Scene 
 The 17th annual Winter Camping Symposium 2015 wrapped up just over a week ago, and was my second time in attendance. I had such a good time the previous year I brought my kids with me to see what it was all about.

Climbing wall on -site for the kiddos

If you don't see any other seminars all MUST see anything put on by Brian of Muskrat Metal Works... He will have you rolling with laughter. If he quit his day job, I'm certain he would make it as a stand-up comedian  
  My youngest two were enrolled in the kids camp specifically meant for them. At a very reasonable rate, it was a no brainer. They got to do a whole bunch of things geared more toward their interests, while my older son and I enjoyed a less hectic learning atmosphere. Like last year, a majority of the people stayed in hot tents, mixed among them where conventional dome tents. On the outer fringe of camp, in a pine grove, a contingent of hammock enthusiasts had their own little area that they took over. Having my son with me and not wanting him to get too bored, I took in less seminars as last year. Instead we spent our time strolling around camp and seeing what others were up to, most of our time evolved BSing with friends.
ArcFlash's tent .....single pole pyramid made from bed sheets 

Best part of the weekend.....I didn't have to cook any meals 

Entertainment near the camp fire on Saturday night 
  G man was very excited to spend some time with a group watching and learning from a blacksmith. He got to participate a little and now is looking on craigslist for his own equipment. From there, I took in another seminar while G man built fires outside.  As the day went on, the two of us checked in on the "buddies" ( Super Y and Big D) who were having a fantastic time playing and making new friends.
later in the night some of the drunk guys, as well as my son gave this a try

The yurt behind my tent was my favorite of the weekend. It's owned by my friend "craigslist" and was set up just like a cabin. I should have gotten a pick but the inside had carpet, an electric cooler, cots, and  a table, as well as a table lamp.    I may have to build one 

I had a great weekend , but I think the kids had more fun than I did
  As the evening approached we had dinner in the main hall and moved outside to gather around the large community fire ring. We stayed up way too late talking with friends and went to bed too tired to get a fire made in our own tent. It wasn't very cold anyway, but since I set it all up we at least wanted to use it. Sunday morning things wrapped up early and the four of us were rolling out by about 11am.  We all had a great time and look forward to the 18th Winter Camping Symposium.
At the gear swap, G-man bought this battery powered, fan/blower wood cooking stove and was giving it a good test run by cooking us some lunch