Archive for April, 2012
I came across quite a deal on a composite Kayak that I couldn’t turn down a couple of weeks ago…$300 for an immaculate composite yak, paddles, and extras due, simply, to “right place – right time”. As much as I would like to claim that it’s due to “living right”…well….
I’ve often thought that kayaking and sailing are good compliments to each other because the two lend themselves to opposite weather conditions. I’ve also started to lament the fact that I rarely take a break and undertake an activity that isn’t stressful in some way (racing, construction, designing, etc.). With this in mind, I spent a little time preparing my new P&H Capella kayak and a new roof rack on my truck for a trip up to Lake Jocassee with a friend and his kayak. A good friend of mine and frequent Kayaker, Danny, knew of a remote landing at the end of a 13 mile gravel road maintained by the SC DNR that gave great access to the north side, narrower, side of lake. The trip sounded great – about an hour the entrance of the trail, an hour of an off road excursion to the launch site, kayak for several hours, and ride back out. The trip was great and I was pretty surprised with how much early morning wildlife we saw from the trail even with all the grinding rock noise under the tires as we climbed through the gravel mountain path. Turkeys, an owl (biggest one I’ve ever seen), waterfalls, falcons, and incredible vistas were part of the experience before we even got to the lake. It seemed, however, every time we came across wildlife, I had the wrong lens on the camera and only have a wide angle shot of a bunch of trees where an owl existed somewhere (I know he’s in frame, but I can’t find him!). The day was pretty hazy too – and while not the greatest for taking pictures, the open space and expanse of mountain and lake were a great change of pace. Once at the lake, we paddled for several hours covering about 8 or 10 miles stopping frequently on a cool looking beach or at one of the many hidden waterfalls where the mountains spill into the lake. It was quiet and we probably saw about 6 power boats and 4 other kayaks or canoes through the entire day. The day was partly overcast/hazy with just enough breeze to keep things cool. I don’t think I’ve ever been as relaxed. Having mutually found equilibrium between water time and a desire to get back home, we headed back for the launch ramp.
Ready for some dinner and a cold beer to finish off a spectacularly relaxing day, we packed up the kayaks, dropped the truck back into 4wd, and started the climb out. We stopped at Jumping Off Rock again to see if we could witness the falcons (we didn’t see any in the morning) and caught a distant glimpse of one of them circling before it returned to the cliff. I wasn’t fast enough with the camera to get a shot (he was too far away anyway). With dinner beckoning, we hopped back in the truck and started the gradual descent – but we weren’t done with the adventure yet. Coming around one of many sharp turns on a decline, I tapped the brake which caused the front tires to slide a little. The shuffling rock under the tire caused a random geometrical oddity and a sharp rock apparently wedged vertically and shoved straight into the right front tire creating an explosive hole. There was little doubt that we only had a matter of seconds before the tire was completely flat and, with Danny helping to spot a landing, I raced the truck down the decline and found a nice piece of terrain flat enough to jack up the truck and wide enough that we could pull off and avoid blocking the trail. As the truck came to a stop with an angry but declining hissing sound emanating from the right front tire, the dashboard dinged and displayed “check right front tire pressure” as if to taunt me. Thankfully, Chevrolet still places value in a full size spare and after sorting out how to actually disconnect the SOB from the cable under the truck (neither Danny or I could figure it out and had to result to reading the manual while I chuckled in disbelief, “I can’t believe I have to RTFI”), we got the tire changed and back under way still finding the entire experience enjoyable and laughing at it. Now that the spare is on, I kinda like the look of the black steel wheel – the set of tires going on the truck in the very near future might get some new black steel wheels to go along with them! 😉
This trip definitely makes me want more of this kind. I’m hoping to plan an overnight kayaking / camping trip soon but it is tricky with DNR rules limiting camping to a few specific sites on this particular lake.