Yakdaddy’s River Ramblings

My journal of river runs and repository for the various water related thoughts of my oft distracted mind…whitewater from my perspective.

Archive for January, 2008

January 2008 – the month of the SKUNK!

Posted by yakdaddy on 24th January 2008

It’s a hard fact to face, but it looks like my training plan for the rapidly approaching fun of TVF 2008 is to paddle ZERO days during the month leading up to it!  I guess I’ll just keep posting old TR’s from last year to pass these last few dry days…

It can be tough be responsible but sometimes even a Sexy Kayaking Beast (I didn’t name the team, but I’ve come to enjoy being one – even if in name only) has to make those choices.

 If you haven’t signed up for TVF yet, it’s not too late – get together one to five of your regular paddling pals and sign up at www.steepcreeks.com/tvf.

If you’d rather watch the action from the safety of your computer screen, the keep an eye out for the TVF forum on Boatertalk as the trash talk and trip reports should be cranking up in about two to three more weeks.

Go Team SKB!


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Flashback – April & May 2007

Posted by yakdaddy on 24th January 2008

April – shoulder rehab.  Not much to say here except that I really enjoyed talking paddling with my Phys. therapist Todd who had been a boater back on the Potomac in the good ole days of 13′ boats.  If you hurt your shoulder, do the rehab and take it easy as you get back into it.

 May 7th – New boats!

 I’d been saving up and paying off debt for more than a year and we had finally succeeded in paying of our household’s consumer debt.  To celebrate, I paid cash for 2 new boats and for a nice Canon SLR camera for Tonya.  I was so eager to get back out on the water that I could barely stand it.  Tonya somehow managed to disguise her excitement over the new whitewater sit-on-top I’d ordered for her, but I could tell that deep down inside she was almost thrilled.

New boats!

May 7 – New boats and clearance from the Doc to get back on the water!

May 12, 2007 – Lower Nolichucky – 900 cfs

Paddlers: Natalie Pickett, Wesley Bradley, Joshua Dalton, Matt Davis, Randy and JoAnne Pasqua, & Katie Prince

A great return to paddling after 6 weeks off with a busted shoulder!

Met the Pickett’s and Katie at Chestoa with the family and grilled a few hot dogs for dinner. After eating and everyone else showing up, we began gearing up around 7:00pm – putting on probably 20 minutes later.  Tried my offside roll – no problem.  Tried my on-side (extending my right arm – bad shoulder) and blew two attempts before switching over to my off side and rolling up.  The group began picking our way down with everybody hopping onto just about any wave that would hold a boat.and I’m sure my eyes were the size of saucers as I eased that planing hulled 2007 4Fun onto a wave for the first time.  I could not believe how easy it was to surf!  All I’d paddled up to that point were displacement hulled creekboats and/or inflatable kayaks – what a difference!


At the rock just below the Uncle Johnny’s Bridge you could surf the wave on RL or surf in the hole just the RR of the rock.  I tried both, starting with the wave.  Caught it on my first try and was pearling the bow a bit but staying on and feeling pretty stable.  Before I got off, I managed to spin around 180 degrees and back surf  (in a somewhat controlled fashion) much to the amusement of the rest of the group.  Tried the hole on RR next surfed OK in there but found it to be grabby enough that I thought I might windowshade unexpectedly which might not be good for the shoulder – so I backsurfed that one too and then moved on out. Smooth run of Radio tower but I couldn’t catch the wave at the bottom – kept flushing off.Surfed a few more spots on the way down and took out between the Jackson Love bridge and the interstate bridge just as it was getting dark.  We could see as we took out but needed headlights and such to load up.Tonya and the kids tossed rocks at the put in for a while and the kids swam around for a while longer – then they drove down to meet us at the takeout.  All in all a nice family evening.

May 20, 2007 – Swift Water Rescue Course

Helped Mike Morrow and Scott Fisher with the ‘at/on-the-water’ training portion of their SWR class.  The participants were top notch and I was tired enough by the end of the day that I opted out of trying out my new 4Fun in the hole at Big Rock.

Posted in 2007 Trip Reports | 2 Comments »

New Gear – will it ever see the water?

Posted by yakdaddy on 16th January 2008

After losing my paddle during a river rescue on the Little, I began a search for a replacement.  Let me encourage you NOT to head back to the river until you’ve checked to see if your name has worn off or your phone number has changed from what’s on the paddle and corrected any potentially costly conditions.  Losing my trusty old paddle was painful for me because (1) I am cheap, (2) my paddle was fine, and (3) it had been a great deal when I acquired it – which to me, added a certain sense of satisfaction every time I used it.  Additionally, (4) I paid nearly as much for the pogies that floated away with it as I had for the paddle itself – bummer!  On the up-side though, I am thankful for the rescue situation turning out well and for the Lendal breakdown I had stashed in the stern.

So my search began and eventually turned up a great deal on Boatertalk’s GearSwap.  Somebody was liquidating (no pun intended) their gear IF the buyer was willing to purchase said gear, sight unseen, that day.  I had planned on spending my Christmas money on a new rescue pfd and maybe some drypants but the loss of the paddle had blown that plan right out of the water.  This opporunity, however, allowed me to get a rescue vest and paddle for less than I had been willing to fork over for the pfd alone!

Once the gear arrived, I was a bit surprised at the obvious ‘experience’ of the paddle but very pleased with the state of the pfd.  All in all, it looks like a win-win where the seller got the cash he needed when he needed it and I got the stick and vest I needed before needing either for a day on the water.  I pulled them out during a sunny moment this weekend to shoot this shot of the gear that I hope will actually see water again some day soon.

new gear 

On the left is my faded 3.5 year old B-22 hi-floatation vest that is beginning to unravel at the seams.  On the right is the new kid – my Astral 300R.  Hoping the paddle will last till I can afford a new one!

If you’ve got any suggestions on how to ‘mount’ a Gerber river shorty on an Astral rescue vest, please post in the comments.



Posted in Gear, Ramblings | No Comments »

False alarm – Boatertalk isn’t gone, just upgraded!

Posted by yakdaddy on 16th January 2008

Per Eric Princen:

OK, Boatertalk is now running on completely new software. It doesn’t look much different, but it is. :-) There are a few bugs I’ll fix when it’s not 4:30 in the morning. If you have items for sale in GearSwap, you may want to go in and edit them and pick an actual product. That change was made to help cross reference data in the future. Reviews and GearSwap are now tied to the same product list. If you find any bugs, please report them in the bugs forum and I’ll get to them as soon as I can. Good night.

 Good deal – new site looks great.

 See you on the river, wkb’s, or boatertalk,


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A world without Boatertalk?!?

Posted by yakdaddy on 16th January 2008

I guess that most folks couldn’t care less about an on-line forum for whitewater enthusiasts, but I must admit that the dismal error message…

“www.boatertalk.com not found: /home/eprincen/boatertalk/production/sites/www.boatertalk.com is not a directory”

… I keep getting every time I type in www.boatertalk.com is really screwing up my day.  I wouldn’t have thought it would matter much, but I’ve come to realize that I depend on BT (and, to a lesser extent, Worldkayak) to supply connectedness to the boating community throughout the breaks in my day as I endure the dryness of the workweek!

Here’s hoping that BT is back online soon… if not, I sure hope Worldkayak can put up some similar kind of message board.

Yakdaddy out.

Posted in Ramblings | 2 Comments »

The Hero hits the water…

Posted by yakdaddy on 14th January 2008

Hope everybody has saved some Christmas cash…



Posted in Gear, Ramblings | 2 Comments »

To boat or not to boat update…

Posted by yakdaddy on 13th January 2008

Well, after much deliberation and a great weekend of off-the-river activities, it looks like the verdict for this weekend has come down to NOT.  While this is indeed a sad situation in that the whitewater was in plentiful supply this weekend, it’s not all that bad.  The kids had friends over Friday night, the cheerleading went well Saturday morning, and the geocaching yesterday afternoon was truly enjoyable!

While all those positives would normally add up to a guilt-free day on the water, there were just too many things left undone around the house so I passed on a consolation Nolichucky trip with a crew of friends that are probably loading up the shuttle car(s) right now and heading to the put in.

 Oh well – it’s not like the river will be gone next week…

Cheerleading debut  Cheerleading debut


A beautiful day at Bays Mountain!


The geocaching crew


Rockhoppers extrodinaire


Yet another stream crossing


The crazy deer would eat out of our hands (this shot was not taken at a petting zoo)

Peace on earth and whitewater to all,


Posted in Ramblings | 3 Comments »

Oh what a glorious morning!

Posted by yakdaddy on 11th January 2008

What a great 24 hours for boaters in the southeast!

In case you weren’t lulled to sleep by the sound of rain on the roof last night, Here are two screenshots to that illustrate why:

Yesterday’s observed precipitation from water.weather.gov 1-10-2008 observed precipitation from water.weather.gov

Notice all of the yellow, orange, and red around the Tri-Cities, the Smokies, and the Wilson
Creek/Watauga watershed!

A screenshot of the USGS current streamflows versus historical from the usgs waterwatch (water.usgs.gov/waterwatch)

Current (1-11-08) Streamflows from USGS 

Notice that the dots are mostly green and blue now.  They’ve been red to orange for a long time…

Too all the boaters headed out to ride the white lightning today and all through the weekend – here’s to dry hair and good lines!  (Hopefully I’ll see you on a river Sunday)

Yakdaddy out.

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There’s a new Hero in town…

Posted by yakdaddy on 10th January 2008

Looks like EJ has posted a few pics of the first Hero out of the mold!  Check it out at:


Did I beat Wesley to the post?

Posted in Gear, Ramblings | 1 Comment »

To boat or not to boat, that is the question…

Posted by yakdaddy on 10th January 2008

That question kills me every time I have to ask it.  It’s a question many boaters need not concern themselves with – their decision is a simple “Is there enough water between the banks of the river for fun?” and if the answer is yes they’re gone.

For those of us blessed with families though, the choice to head to the river must be weighed against several other, dare I say it, more important factors that must take priority over one’s own preferred form of recreational fun (whatever that may be).

The key for me is to make sure that I am making the most of all opportunities and enjoying the time granted me each day – sort of a Carpe Diem thing.  My personal preferrence would be to carpe my boat and gear and run a river whenever possible, but there are great moments happening on dry land as well. 

In this little corner of Tennessee, the creeking will be as good as its been in a long time over the next two days but I won’t be out there.  I will however have the one time opportunity to help my first grader’s class try on chain link armor that some dad is bringing in for show-and-tell (what?!?), see my daughter’s cheerleading debut, and do some geocaching with the family.  Not a bad way to spend the next two days.  PLUS – my crew of boating buds are likely to be running something Sunday afternoon and I ought to be able to get in on some of that action!

I guess it all comes down to remembering what my college roomate said all the time (long before the t-shirts said it!) -  Life is Good!


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