Sunday, May 20, 2007

News... (and the lower Louey)

Well, this weekend is proving to be quite memorable. Today I will graduate from law school, which is something I really wasn't that sure would happen for a while. While it does feel great to have achieved that milestone, the fun is tempered by the bar review classes that start this week.

Second, today is the day that Laura is leaving to experience life outside the Midwest. She's been an awesome neighbor, a great friend, and even a good paddler! I failed to post about this, but Laura made a very successful descent of the upper St. Louis, proving how quickly a beginner can become a solid paddler. Laura - if you get to read this, thanks for making 998 such a fun place, and I wish you nothing but the best in CA.

Third, yesterday was my dad's 67th birthday. He's definitely the coolest old guy around. Happy Birthday, dad.

Last is the thing that probably makes the best blog material. I finally ran (part of) the Lower St. Louis. Dennis, Caleb, and I made the run from the tongue above the 210 bridge down through the Second Sister. The weather was freezing cold (cold enough that the water was steaming), but the paddling was awesome. Our plans to paddle with some Lower Louey veterans fell through when they were all shivering after having already spent several hours on it that morning. So, we got a couple of tips from Scotty (which we tried, but largely failed to, remember) and headed out on our own. The area above the 210 bridge was my favorite, with a variety of features that were all different and packed fairly close together. Our Creek boats (mine was rented) made pretty short work of them, however, and down we went. 210 was followed by a couple of splashy rapids that wouldn't require scouting, though we did look at the second one for fear it was Twisted Sister. We blew through those easily and were having a great time. We hit the first Sister and everybody had a slightly different line off the little rooster tail that forms. Caleb takes the cake, however, by landing in water that was so aerated that he just sunk right through it, completely submerging. He hit his line totally clean, then he just disappeared. Very cool to watch. Second Sister was, as Dennis put it, "God's own low head dam," making a very stick hole at the bottom. We chose a safe route, boofing over a small seam of a hole. Not sure, but I'm guessing that was the chicken route.

That was the end of our paddling, though I was seriously considering a line in Octopus. Warnings about hidden rocks and inability to get a view of the last hole helped me to decide to play it safe, but I would like to give it a try if I run it with someone who can give me some good info about it.

On the whole, it was a great day. Caleb and Dennis were total rock stars and not one of us got flipped throughout the run (exclusive of Caleb's submarine impersonation). It was a great time and finally getting on the Lower after looking at it for so long helps tick off one more memorable moment from this weekend.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Chameleon Weekend

This past weekend was long planned as a weekend for Kim and I to get away. Originally, we were going to head to the Black Hills and Badlands of SD. That fell through, so we decided to make a weekend in NE Minnesota, with one night camping on the North Shore. Thanks to the 30mph winds, chilly temps and scattered storms, that became one night at my cabin, followed by a day in Two Harbors and Duluth (I guess that make Three Harbors?). It was fun, though. We stopped by the Duluth IMAX and the Aquarium, both of which were well worth the admission. Sunday we were back in the cities and I convinced Kim to come fly the trainer kite at the park. She did really well in gusty 20mph winds and seemed to just be getting the hang of it when a gust yanked her off her feet and sent her flying super-man style into the dirt. She wound up a bit dirty, but otherwise OK. Hopefully my decision to take her out in hurricane winds won't scare her off for too long. The rest of the pics are just random things that we saw on the trip.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Dan "Monkey Boy" Monskey is putting together some video on outdoor sports in MN, and WCCO TV decided they wanted in on the paddling segment. So Dan, Dennis, Graeme, Rich and I went down to the Verm to do some filming. Nora and Lanny were also there for the beginning, but left early due to other committments. Kim (paddling guy Kim, not my girlfriend Kim) met us late down at donut. While I'm sure that when the editing is finalized everyone but Dan will be little more than a blur in the background, we did our best to put on a show for the cameras. Dennis, Graeme, Rich, and I got in some great party surfing on Donut and we also ran the slide below the falls at the top. This time however, we were able to climb up the river right bank and get a good, full-length slide in right from the curtain of the falls. Really fun. Supposedly the video will be shown on "Out and About" on Channel four at 10:30pm on May 19th, if anyone is interested and has nothing better to do on a saturday night (or has TiVo). In the meantime, I stole a shot that Nora took to put on here. She has more on her blog, so check out the link to it on the right side of this page!