Friday, October 21, 2016

October on the Rogue River

October is a time of shifting seasons for us.  We wrap up Liquid Fusion Kayaking's main sea kayak instructional season with at trip to Oregon to teach at the Lumpy Waters symposium.  Often we enjoy a few days exploring the Oregon Coast on our trip home from Lumpy.  This year, we decided to step away from the salt water and air and get a good fresh water rinsing so we made plans to meet up with some friends for a multi day whitewater trip on the Rogue River.
LFK Friends Jerry and June carrying yummy food and other comforts in the raft.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Fall is a beautiful time of the year to paddle on the Rogue.  The weather was warm and we enjoyed the changing leaves and scenery.  The run that we did was from Grave Creek to Foster Bar.  At a flow of around 1900 cfs, it was a leisurely run of 34 miles with class II/III whitewater rapids.
Sunny skies and a calm stretch on the river resulted in beautiful reflections. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
It is a fall tradition for the raft and drift boat guides to put pumpkins along the river.  We enjoyed spying the many pumpkins and gourds along the river.
A pumpkin gourd marks the entrance to a small rapid on the Rogue. Photo by Jeff Laxier
Of course we enjoyed running the whitewater rapids of the Rogue.  Both Jeff and I enjoyed running Blossom Bar.  While tricky for a raft, it is a fun rapid to run in a kayak with lots of options for eddy hopping and slaloming one's way down river.
Jeff running Blossom Bar on the Rogue River.  Photo by June Ruckman-Albright
To spice things up a bit more, Jeff had to take a leap off the traditional Jump Rock on the Rogue.  He made quite a splash.

The Rogue can be quite busy in the summer with hikers and river users (kayakers, rafters, drift boats).  October is a quieter time on the river.  Many of the commercial rafting companies wrap up their season in September so we were sharing the river primarily with drift boats with fishermen and a couple of gear rafts carrying equipment for hikers.  Many of the fishermen, river users, and hikers were staying at the lodges along the river so most of the prime campsites were open.  My favorite camp was at Clay Hill.
Camping at Clay Hill. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
On day 3, we were setting up our final camp for the trip at Clay Hill. When across the river from us, a mamma and baby bear appeared.  We hooted and hollered to let them know that they were not welcome to come visit our camp.  Baby scurried up the hillside and out of sight pretty quickly.  However, mamma bear continued on her course along the river.  It looked like she was looking for fish.
Mamma and Baby Bear checking us out from across the river.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne

I bet none of us slept much our last night on the river.  We were a little concerned that mamma bear might come visit our camp.  She did not but it started raining around midnight.  It was a beautiful steady rain.  Jeff and I both enjoyed listening to it while we were all snug and dry in our new tent.  the next day we packed up and paddled in the rain to the take out.
A warm rainy day finish to our Rogue trip. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Here is a link to more photos from our October 2016 Rogue River Trip.
A great blue heron fishes on the edge of Blossom Bar Rapid on the Rogue River. Photo by Cate Hawthorne

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sea Kayaking on the Mendocino Coast

September is a great month for sea kayaking on California's Mendocino Coast.  Liquid Fusion Kayaking has had quite a busy September.  We run sea kayak adventures year round but September typically has the best ocean and weather conditions.
Calm conditions for sea kayaking in Mendocino's sea caves.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
We kicked off September into the Sea with our 5 day Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Class.  In this 5 day course, we had students go from intrepid ocean paddlers to playing in ocean rock gardens and exploring Mendocino's sea caves.
A new paddler discovers the thrills of rock gardening on the Mendocino Coast.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
The second weekend of September was LFK's BCU 3 Star Sea Kayak Training and Assessment.
BCU 3 Star Sea candidates demonstrate landing in 1 meter surf. Photo by Jeff Laxier
After a busy summer and heading into a busy fall, we took a few days off to sea kayak into the Lost Coast.  Check out my blog - Lost Coast Sea Kayak Trip 2016.
Jeff Laxier paddling into California's Lost Coast.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Just back from the Lost Coast, we rallied for Coastal Cleanup Day.  This was our 8th year hosting an on-water cleanup of Fort Bragg's Noyo River and Harbor Area.  Despite our small number of participants, we brought in a big haul.  See and read about our BIG HAUL.
Jeff Laxier towing the garbage kayak in Noyo Harbor. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
September continued with sea kayak instruction for the Bay Area Sea Kayakers during their annual Mendo Madness Trip.  We had a gorgeous sunny day and perfect conditions for The Art of the Pour-Over - a sea kayak rock gardening play class.

Laurie getting her timing down to ride a pour-over.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
We wrapped up September's sea kayak instruction with a custom Whitewater of the Sea Adventure for some friends of the Tsunami Rangers.  Susan, Patty, and Melinda had a blast with Jeff and are looking forward to using their new skills to paddle with Tsunami Ranger significant others and friends soon.
Patty builds her confidence in dynamic waters.  Photo by Jeff Laxier
Our September wrap up has us preparing for Alder Creek's BCU Week and Lumpy Waters.
Surf zone class at Lumpy Waters in Pacific City, Oregon.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
After that we dust off the short boats for surf kayaking, whitewater river kayaking, and whitewater ocean rock gardening.
Cate Hawthorne kayak surfing on the Mendocino Coast.  Photo by Jeff Laxier
Planning is under way for 2017.  If you would like to come paddle with us in 2017 or have an event that you would like for us to attend or host, please let us know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Noyo River Clean up

For 8 years, Jeff and I have hosted an on water cleanup of the Noyo River and Harbor as part of California Coastal Cleanup Day.  Usually we have a dozen or so paddlers and rowers.  This year, we had 5.  Despite the small number of participants, we had a huge haul and a fun day.
Jeff Laxier tows a recreational kayak full of garbage picked up in Noyo Harbor.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Part of our large haul was this floating foam barge.  Each year it keeps breaking up and we have managed to wrangle parts of it out of the water and into the dumpster.  This year, rowers Jim Blanton and Stan Halvorsen and myself went for the whole barge.  Jim and Stan towed as I pushed from behind to get the barge to the ramp to get it off the water.  This was extremely important as the styrofoam is in a serious state of decay.  We picked up hundreds of bits of it on the beach under the Noyo Bridge.  If we would have left it in the river for another year, it would have broken up further and puts thousands of pieces out there.
Traditional Small Craft rowers Stan and Jim towing a barge of trash. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Styrofoam from the decaying barge. Photo by Jeff Laxier
We didn't get all the foam and trash under the Noyo Bridge. We are planning to head over there this fall to get it better picked up for fall.  If you are interested in joining us, let us know.  We would love to have some company.
The styrofoam barge about to be hauled out of the river. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
If you didn't make our cleanup this year, mark your calendar for the 3rd Saturday of September in 2017.  We will be back at it on the Noyo River.