Tag Archives: Paddle

Spring Whitewater Rafting

For many of us the arrival of spring brings with it blooming flowers, the year’s first warm rays of sunlight, and that ache to be outside. But for others the warmth in the air conjures images of mountain snowpack melt-off and engorged rivers coursing with fury and speed where at other times of the year they seem to merely trickle, tame and listless. Spring marks the start of whitewater rafting season across much of the U.S. Here are a few parks that offer adventures that range in difficulty but are all certain to delight thrill-seekers of all skill levels.

Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park, Tennessee

[Image: tnstateparks.com]

Kayakers and rafters should be watchful for each other while taking a trip on the river, though sometimes they can seem to be swallowed from view. [Image: tnstateparks.com/]

This park is a well-known site for whitewater rafting and for having been the site of the canoe and kayak slalom races during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The two rivers in the park’s name are scenic and rife with adventure, and there is access to whitewater that ranges from Class I to Class IV.

You can find out how to get on the water by contacting the park.

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, Colorado

[Image: wikipedia.org]

The Arkansas River is giving these recreationists a run for their money. [Image: wikipedia.org/]

This area spans a swath of the Arkansas River, the upper portion of which is one of the most popular whitewater runs in the U.S. In the spring and summer, hundreds of rafters take on the challenges of the Arkansas, which range from Class II to Class V in difficulty.

If you’re interested in taking on the river, the recreation area has compiled a list of outfitters for you to peruse.

Kanaskat-Palmer State Park, Washington

[Image: www.raftingamerica.com]

Lush moss and seductive green hues can be a distraction from the dangers at hand. It’s probably best to make a week-long trip of it and take lots of hikes to get used to the mesmerizing scenery. [Image: www.raftingamerica.com/]

The whitewater at Green River Gorge is best usually during spring and fall and is for expert enthusiasts only, but the incredible sights and challenges are worthy of note and aspiration. If you’re equal to the risks in the gorge, you can embark or land your boat at the park by hand. If the gorge is a bit too risky for you, there are two miles of Green River shoreline to explore, and you can at least admire the daredevils in their rafts and kayaks while you take in a stunningly beautiful hike.

For more information you can contact the park here.

[Image: advgamer.blogspot.com]

Little did we know that this would become true, brought to you through the power of Google image search. [Image: advgamer.blogspot.com/]

Rivers have kept us connected since the advent of the boat, and for just as long it’s been true that there’s rarely a better bonding experience than a trip with your team in a watercraft and the nature that surrounds you. The important things to remember, as always with extreme sports, are to know your limits and to do your homework. And as always you’ll find plenty of rivers to tackle, take in, and appreciate with our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps, even if a barbecue spatula is more your speed than an oar!

National Get Outdoors Day

Grab your favorite running shoes, stock up on sunscreen, and make sure you bring enough bug spray because Saturday, June 13th is National Get Outdoors Day. On this day every year, adventure seekers around the country are urged to get outside to explore and keep active. If you’re in need of a bit of inspiration of where to go and what to do, then you’re in luck because we came up with a list of just five of the many exciting events being held on Saturday.

Meet Me at the Confluence
South Beloit, Illinois

A group of people with lifejackets and holding paddles surrounded by kayaks.

Kayakers all geared up and ready to paddle up the Rock River. [Image: http://natureattheconfluence.com]

Meet Me at the Confluence is a great way for outdoor enthusiasts of any age to get acquainted with this public area and to most importantly to get outside! There are three events in the area, all centered around fun and exciting outdoor exploration. The “Fur Traders River Run” Community Paddle Trip is a six-mile trip that brings kayakers along the Rock River, which was used by early fur traders to move their materials. Nature at the Confluence Open House is also available for guests to see the soon-to-be Nature Center as well as the Prairie Restoration Community Project, which tours the land along Turtle Creek and invites visitors to join in the restoration process.

More info: info@natureattheconfluence.com

Hike and Paddle
Easton, Pennsylvania

Two girls kayaking.

Enjoy a paddle after a relaxing hike through Easton, Pennsylvania. [Image: http://www.allsedona.com/]

Join an urban hike beginning in Hugh Moore Park’s National Canal Museum parking lot. The Hike and Paddle follows the local trails of Easton, Pennsylvania. It heads out onto the Karl Stirner Arts Trail to the Delaware Canal Towpath Trail and ends along the Lehigh Canal Trail that wraps back in Hugh Moore Park. Once the hike is complete, the group will also be taking a quick paddle along the Lehigh Canal. It’s the perfect balance of fun and adventure!

More info: ikindle@pa.gov or 610-982-0166

The Ride for Hope
Tallahassee, Florida

A group of cyclists.

Cyclist enjoying the Ride for Hope. [Image: http://therideforhope.com/]

If you’re looking to get outdoors on two wheels, then look no further than Tallahassee’s annual Ride for Hope. This thrilling ride raises money for the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center and has varying levels of difficulty, depending on what sort of challenge you’re looking for. The ride has a family fun ride or walk, 11-mile, 29-mile, 40-mile, a metric century (approximately 62-mile), and a full century (100-mile) options. Choose the distance you’d like to break a sweat over and bike for a fantastic cause!

More info: info@TheRideForHope.com or 850-431-5389

Greenway Walk and Historic Tour
Stoneham, Massachusetts

A group of people cleaning up trash in the woods.

Cleaning up the Stoneham trails. [Image: http://www.tricommunitygreenway.org/news]

Stoneham’s Tri-Community Greenway Walk and Historic Tour is a relaxing and informative event that’s perfect for the whole family to enjoy. The walk begins on Gould Street and winds over to the Woburn Tunnel where visitors can continue walking over to Montvale Avenue or head back to Gould Street. There are parts of the trail that aren’t paved, however, it’s a laidback trek overall.

More info: tricommunitygreenway@gmail.com

Salt River Tubing
Mesa, Arizona

Group of people on tubes floating down a river.

Kick back and float along the gorgeous Salt River. [Image: http://www.saltrivertubing.com/]

Float down the Salt River with the Salt River Pirates for an experience of a lifetime. It’s a relaxing yet invigorating tube float along the scenic river. For National Get Outdoors Day, the pirates have live entertainment and are giving away pirate bandanas to the first 1,000 guests. Come dressed in your eye patches and pirate hats for a chance to win free tube rental passes, too!

More info: 480-984-3305

This is just a taste of all the many events happening nationwide for National Outdoors Day. Make sure you strap on your boots and head outside, and don’t forget to download our Pocket Ranger® Mobile Apps for more information about the comings and goings of state parks near you!

Kayaks vs. Canoes

Contributed by Alex Vail, The Flying Kayak

I’ve recently had many people ask me what the real difference is between kayaks and canoes and why I prefer paddling around the kayak. There are many different things to take into account when comparing the these two watercraft, and which one a person prefers comes down to what they’re planning to do with it. There are pros and cons to each when considering which one to choose.

Kayaks vs Canoes

Kayak Pros:

–        Speed: Kayaks are fast. Plain and simple. (And even the tandem kayaks can outpace a canoe with the same amount of paddlers.) Though some kayaks are obviously built more for speed than others, they are still extremely quick. The double-bladed paddle helps add to the pace because there’s almost always a paddle in the water.

–        Easy to load: Kayaks don’t require much (or any) ballast to help stabilize them. Unlike a canoe, which needs to be weighted down for stability, a kayak is essentially ready to go the moment you unload it from the truck.

–        Low profile: Kayaks sit much lower in the water than canoes, meaning the paddler sits lower, as well. This becomes important when fishing or paddling in high winds. While fishing, an angler with who’s situated lower is going to spook less fish and get much closer to the fish than a person sitting higher in the water. When paddling in the wind, the less “boat” there is sticking out of the water, the better. Canoes can act almost like a sail in high winds and make paddling an absolute nightmare.

–        Capsizing: When, not if, you finally capsize your chosen watercraft, what happens? Depending on which you’re paddling, it could be no big deal, or it could be deadly. Kayaks, whether they’re sit on top or sit-in, recover from capsizing much more easily. Obviously you risk losing gear, but unless you don’t have the skirt on your sit-in, there’s no risk of swamping your kayak. Canoes, on the other hand, are done the moment they flip. They swamp and thanks to them having no top, all of your gear is gone.

Kayak Cons:

–        Gear space: Let’s face it: you’re extremely limited in how much gear you can carry in a kayak. Canoes actually need gear in order to be stable. So in instances such as camping, the canoe is always going to be the better bet.

–        Standing: There are plenty of kayaks that are stable enough to stand up in, but there are just as many that aren’t. Obviously you cannot be getting up and down in a sit-in, and some sit-ons (like mine) are too narrow to make standing safely an option. I’ve personally never paddled a canoe that I couldn’t stand up in.

Kayak vs Canoes

Canoe Pros:

–        Gear: As stated before, the amount of room available for gear storage will always be greater than the room in a kayak. If camping is your main focus, the canoe is for you.

–        Motor option: If paddling just isn’t really your thing, a canoe will obviously be the better choice. Square sterned canoes make mounting a motor a breeze. And even if you have a pointed stern, a side mounted motor is possible. Now, some kayaks have the option of hooking up a trolling motor, but their power is extremely limited. There’s no worse feeling than paddling a kayak away from a storm like your life depends on it, only to have a motorized canoe fly past you to safety.

Canoe Cons:

–        One paddle: Traditionally, canoes are paddled with just a single-bladed paddle. This means that the person sitting in the back must constantly switch paddling sides in order to steer the boat. Depending on how low in the water the canoe sits, one can actually use a kayak paddle, but they must still make correction paddles to keep the boat on course.

–        Capsizing: I’ll say it again only because I feel like it’s a pretty big deal. Capsizing in a canoe is horrible. Though being safe/smart about paddling can keep you out of trouble, and canoes are extremely stable, it still happens. When it does, you’re forced to pull the canoe out of the water. There’s almost no chance of recovery while still in the water.

Canoe vs Kayak

These are all things that need to be considered when deciding on which watercraft is best for you. Primarily the decision focuses around what you’re going to be doing. Will you be fishing? Exploring? Camping? Maybe a little bit of everything? These are questions that one must ask themselves before purchasing the right watercraft. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect, all around choice. Each has its own pros and cons. It’s just up to you to decide which is the better choice, and with any luck, this short guide can help you on that decision.

 

Yakking for Bass: Pros and Cons for Kayak Bass Fishing

Contributed by Alex Vail, The Flying Kayak

With kayak fishing’s popularity on the rise, many anglers find themselves leaving the power boat at home and hopping into a small plastic boat instead. Perhaps you’re thinking about giving kayak fishing a try, too. Or maybe the thought has yet to even cross your mind. Either way, as an avid kayak angler myself, I’ve thrown together a list of pros and cons for kayak fishing for largemouth bass. This list is intended to neither persuade nor dissuade someone from giving kayak fishing a try. Its sole purpose is to inform.

Pros:

Stealth– Let’s face it—kayaks are the stealthiest watercrafts available. Their lack of motor and low profile makes them incredibly sneaky. Fish simply don’t know a kayak is nearby. I’ve had fish strike lures just mere inches away from the kayak solely because they didn’t know I was there. With no motor noise, the only sound that should be coming from the kayak is the swishing of the paddle and you, as the angler, are in control of exactly how loud you want to be. In addition, sitting down low in a kayak means that there’s a much smaller chance that a fish is going to see you skylined from below. These things combined means that an angler is going to have a MUCH better chance of catching those fish.

Kayaking for bass

Shallow Water– Kayaks are known for being able to handle skinny water with ease. Usually only drafting a couple of inches, they make those impossible-to-reach places for power boats a real possibility. Also, many of those shallow, weed-choked areas that lunkers like to hang out in suddenly become accessible. With no prop to get stuck, an angler can glide right into the vegetation with little to no trouble.

Fishing for bass

Cost- Aside from the initial cost, kayaks are extremely easy on the wallet. Now, I understand we’re all fisherman, and we love to have our gadgets, but as far as everything else goes, kayaks are cheap. Since you’re the primary means of propulsion, the only fuel needed is food for yourself. There will never be that cringe at the gas pump when you’re done filling up. In addition, maintenance is extremely low. Wash the kayak off if it gets muddy and…that’s about it. No flushing the engine. No fiddling with bow lights. They’re cheap to use. You’ve just got to get them to the water; the same as you would with any boat.

 

Kayak-on-a-truck

 

Cons:

Range/speed– This one is a big one and has probably crossed your mind already. Your fishing areas are limited to exactly how much you want to paddle. I personally wouldn’t suggest trying to fish something beyond 4-5 miles away for a half day trip. Power boats have that awesome ability to crank the motor and go. Thirty to forty mph sounds a lot better than 3-4 mph doesn’t it?

Room- Probably the most limiting factor aside from range is the amount of room available in a kayak. An angler constantly finds himself struggling to make things fit. Now, if you fish bare bones like I often do, this isn’t much of an issue. A tackle box, seat, couple of rods, paddle, and water all fit in the kayak with room to spare. It’s when you start tossing in things like fish finders, live wells, coolers, etc, that space quickly becomes an issue. There’s simply more room to comfortably fit things on a boat. Plus there’s the luxury of being able to walk around without the threat of capsizing.

Inclement Weather- Though all boaters have to consider the possibility of foul weather, kayakers have to take special note. When you’re 1-2 hours away from the dock in the kayak and a huge storm brews up, it’s not as if you can suddenly put the motor in the water and run. You’re forced to paddle away at what always feels like a snail’s pace. Though foul weather doesn’t take as big of a toll in protected waters, it becomes a real issue in big open water. High winds and waves can turn a pleasant day of kayaking into a real chore. Even though today’s fishing kayaks are extremely stable, one still runs the risk of capsizing when faced with extremely rough water on big open lakes.

 

Bass-on-a-kayak

 

So, if you’re considering giving kayak fishing for bass a try, be sure to really think about these pros and cons. These are, of course, just a few of the many things one must take into account when deciding if kayak fishing is something to get into. But if these pros outweigh the cons, seriously give kayak fishing a shot. Talk to local kayak dealers and test different paddle styles before deciding on what’s right for you. Also, try talking to fellow fisherman who already kayak fish. There’s a wealth of knowledge that’s ready to be shared by experienced paddlers, and they’re almost always more than willing to help another angler take his first steps into buying one of those plastic boats. Just be ready; kayak bass fishing can be a blast!