Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Sha-la-la. Sha-la-la-la. Something, something, something. Words. To express something. Happy Tuesday. Day after a holiday weekend.

Interesting how the day after a long weekend feels like a holiday itself in many ways.

Example: This morning the bus, when it arrived at Trunk Road had one person on it. Trunk is the last stop before Anchorage. Normally, there is a handful of people. Not today. Just one.

Example: Normally when I arrive at work at 6:02, there are a smattering of people in the cubes, getting stuff done. Today - it's a ghost town. As I look out at the parking lot now, it is still quite vacant.

Hell, I didn't want to come in today. What with the long weekend and the pain of waking up caused by the smoke in the air still causing lungs and head to ache, it would have been easy to go back to bed. Alas, I've a training session to put on today, so I kinda need to be in the office. Though at this point my system is being such a POS that I might as well have stayed home.

I got out on the boats a bit this weekend with the fam. A canoe and a kayak. 16 foot and 13.5 foot tandem, respectively. Good times. Back when we lived in South Dakota I would often take one of them out before heading to work. We lived just a block from what is one of America's great rivers. I spent a lot of time paddling big water. It was awesome fun. I got to see faces of the river that most people never did - like when the dam was closed all night so the water's turbidity settled out and I could see nearly to the river bed 12 feel below my boat. Not something that you normally see on the big muddy.

I'd often take the boat out after work and on the weekends as well. I boated more than biked then, I think. It was amazing to be able to get out on the water and just get away from the town any time I wanted. There were endless channels and coves to explore upriver and down. Being on the river became a big part of who I was at the time.

Then we moved to Alaska. Lots of water here. Lots of water. But I've found that I don't paddle nearly as much here. There's lots of water, for sure, but it's different.

First, I'm not a big fan of lake paddling. It seems pointless unless it is a dang big lake. Part of what I like about paddling is exploring. Paddling a lake feels anathema to exploration. It's a closed system. There are lots of lakes here.

Second, I no longer have two cars as in the past. River paddling generally means that one needs a way to get to the put in and back from the take out. It's a bit difficult to run up stream.

Third, it's often hard to find road accessible rivers here that are appropriate for the type of paddling I do. Not into whitewater. Don't want to be one of those silly people who seem to get themselves dead each year on our rivers.

That said, while out on the water yesterday I was able to reflect on the similarities between biking and paddling and why it is that I like them both so much. The biggest similarity is the repetitiveness of the activity. You get into a rhythm where you don't have to think about anything other than that next peddle or paddle stroke. Zen.

I think I'll need to reassess my thoughts on lake paddling. There are just so many within biking distance of my house that I think I really need to make a regular thing out of it. Build up the bike trailers to haul a canoe or a kayak, strap them to the bikes, and go.


Oh, and dipnetting is getting ever closer. Good times there. Best get the trailers sorted for that. Along with my nets and other necessaries.

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