Monday, December 22, 2008

Glade Run

Sam Burke @ Glade Run

As many of you brave or crazy enough to face the cold weather know, the water has returned to our part of the country. For two weekends the boating in our region has presented a multitude of choices and we amongst the Got Boof Crew have taken advantage of the opportunity to bag some new water.

Time To Hike In

This last Saturday, seven paddlers set out for our first run down Glade Run, an obscure micro creek that drains into Dunbar Creek near Ohiopyle. We went in prepared for the type of run you usually get when you are off the beaten paddling path in our neck of the woods, meaning good shoes for portaging, plenty of time for portaging, lots of rest for portaging, and some buddies to talk to while portaging. We weren’t disappointed.

The run started off with its best action, some nice technical and challenging drops that had all of us smiling from ear to ear. The oddest point for me (Jason Hilton) must have been at one point dropping off a shelf and into a small cave before emerging to paddle downstream. Had it stayed this way, we would have some solid gold on our hands.

Matt Pascal

Jason Hilton

Jeff Macklin

Matt Pascal

Art Barket in the Steeps

But alas, as time went on the gradient eased off and the trees picked up. I stopped counting the portages after the tenth, and at one point remember remarking to my comrades that this seemed like the whitewater equivalent of a horribly planned 6 hour cyclo-cross race. I knew we were starting to border on insanity when the challenge of portaging actually began to be fun, like an obstacle course of sorts. In the end we finished the run before the sunset and were able to laugh about the time we had just had. Without the trees this run would be a diamond, with the trees it is just plain old coal.

Not to be without some superior paddling for the weekend, I met up with John Rudland and Mike Whaley for a couple laps on Paint Creek near Johnstown, on Sunday. This is one of my favorite runs so it was good to get back on an old favorite and slide the day away. Both runs were low but tons of fun, putting a good end to an exhausting weekend.


Mike Whaley Boof

John Rudland Boof

Jason Hilton @ Big Sluice

John Rudland @ Big Sluice

Mike Whaley @ Big Sluice

Stay warm and see ya out there…

Monday, December 08, 2008

Got Boof Cross Training

While some rivers are just beginning to pick up water again in our region, myself (Jason Hilton) and many members of the Got Boof Crew have had to turn to other sports in the last four months in order to get our adventure thrills. It turns out that a host of these sports are great cross training workouts for skills that later can be applied to kayaking, so here is a quick thought on two sports that I have engaged in and how I see them as relating to kayaking.

This idea stems from a recent adventure to a local bouldering gym in the Pittsburgh Area. Here you can see us working our way through a series of challenging (for us non-climbers) problems.

Bouldering provides an excellent upper body workout that plays itself out well in kayaking. The increased upper-body strength will lead to more forceful strokes and more power to lift in the portaging realm of kayaking. Those of you in the DC area utilize some climbing skills every time you hike back up the “flake” to take another run on the Great Falls. Additionally, when you are in need of rescue, it is the climber amongst you who is going to be ale to get into the precarious position that best suits your rescue needs.

Mountain biking is another common cross training in our region, especially as it seems to be best when the boating is at its worst. The cardio and leg workout helps to boost your endurance for both all day paddling and long drawn out hike with your boat, such as the one found in the Blackwater canyon. Additionally, the technical nature of some trails can require just as much courage to ride as many of the rapids in our region, complimenting the head game involved in kayaking.

Additionally, fellow crewmembers have involved themselves in road biking and running as cross training activities, providing an even better aerobic cardio workout. Perhaps it comes as no surprise then that members who partake in these particular activities are the paddlers amongst us who can sustain the highest rate of speed for the longest duration of time when paddling through that whitewater we have all been dreaming about.

So when the paddling becomes thin, be aware that there is a host of other activities that are quite enjoyable while still boosting your paddling prowess. But try not to stay away too long... the rivers will run again.