Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Encounters from a Kayak

Credit: Nigel Foster
Encounters From a Kayak: Native People, Sacred Places, and Hungry Polar Bears, by Nigel Foster (Pub. By Falcon Press, USA, 2012, 247pp.)

If you don’t know his history, you certainly recognize Nigel Foster’s name. Born in 1952, he started kayaking off Brighton, England, in a skin-on-frame at the age of 15. He was the first and youngest paddler to circumnavigate Iceland. While checking off one exploit after another, his paddling life has been mainly devoted to training and education through 13 books, countless articles, and a six-part DVD training program on sea kayaking.

The advantage of taking the time to enjoy this book is having the chance to recount unusual experiences with the author from spots around the world, from the Florida Keys, to Sitka and Newfoundland, France, the Faeroes, and throughout Europe. He meets an impressive range of wildlife up close and personal from polar bears and whales to peregrines and manatees. There is just too much to list them all, but with full color photographs to illustrate his stories, the experiences are what every paddler will at least enjoy if not marvel at.

Monday, January 5, 2015

This is Really Stupid

Credit: Caduceus from Google Images
Two days ago I titled the day’s post “Hit the Ground Running.” The problem with hitting the ground running is if you can’t keep up, you’ll end up flat on your face…..and here I lie. There were three final things I had to get done before loading the canoe in top the Ram: get lab work done, have a physical, and visit the dentist. I had a plan, a perfect plan. The lab work was to be done tomorrow morning, the physical in the afternoon, and the dental visit Wednesday morning.

Then I could feel it coming on last night. The chills were so bad by the time I got to bed, I thought I was going to freeze to death. The virus and medication I’ll be taking for it would screw up the lab work, so that and the physical are set back at least two weeks, by which time my doctor will be in Africa. The next available dental appointment isn’t until July, so unless I can get in for a cancellation, that’s out the window. So much for plans.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Proud as an Eagle

Credit: Google Images
I know it is supposed to be proud as a peacock, but eagles are rather proud birds as well. It’s actually my wife that I’m very proud of, and eagles are featured in this event. I’m proud of her for being recognized for her work in wildlife rehab. She was invited to be a speaker during the Kaw Lake Ultimate Eagle Watch on Sat. 17 January.

If you have a horse, you can take an eagle watch tour from horseback in the area of Sarge Creek Campground, U.S. Corps of Engineers. For those without horses, four other viewing tours are led during the day. There are presentations on the history of the eagle and its habitat, why the birds like to winter in the Kaw Nation area, which has the highest concentration of eagles in the state, and the eagle’s importance to Native Americans. For those interested in wildlife in general, there are presentations on wildlife rehabilitation, the wildlife around us, and then Jean’s presentation on getting involved in wildlife rehabilitation work.

The event is sponsored by the Kaw Nation, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Sutton Avian Research Foundation. Anyone in this area interested in participating can get details at (580)762-9494, (877)671-6985, or on line at www.kawlake.com.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hitting the Ground Running

A daypaddle Past Commander Paul Higbee and I
were able to enjoy together.
The last few days have been really busy, and it’s good to have the holiday bustle behind us to end its distraction. Besides pushing forward with 3-P-100, I’ve started programming waypoints for the trip. Time has allowed me to enter about a hundred waypoints a day, so I’m now at about 200 waypoints, which has gotten me to page 11 of 33 pages in the route plan. That’s a pretty long route plan for a day paddle.

There are a couple pluses here. Jean has added her encouragement and support. I’m grateful to her for that. I’ve really had to wrestle with the idea of going off and leaving her. We were always accustomed to doing everything together. Physical ailments have progressed and multiplied with age, so she’s no longer able to remain as active. That’s reason 358 of 10,000 why you do what you love while you’re young rather than waiting until you’re “ready” but too old to enjoy yourself. Having always been able to share our experiences makes doing them alone very lonely indeed. However, the other plus is that with her kestrel, pheasant, dove, six tropical birds, two squirrels, two cats, a watchdog on loan and a .38 special, in addition to whatever other wildlife the game warden carries through the door, I doubt she’ll even notice I’m gone. Well, back to it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Starting Anew--for the 72nd Time

Happy New Year to you all. As the New Year represents a new beginning, after three months of experimentation with 3-P-100, I’m committing to carrying it through the next year. October started with 102.5 miles for the month, November I didn’t even post because I fell on my face with only 54 miles for the month, but I came back in December and made 100.28 miles. Whether plodding, peddling, or paddling, I’m working on maintaining a reasonable level of fitness by doing a minimum of 100 miles a month by physical exertion only. That will be 1,200 miles for the year. I’ll be working at making more of those miles with a paddle in my hands. This past year was embarrassing, and it showed, generating only 158 posts for the year, the lowest number since starting the blog four years ago. I have no delusion that my blog is noteworthy, so I continue to be grateful to those of you that find something of interest to you and keep returning. I will try to continue making the blog more and more interesting.

Nige Ayers, a Facebook friend from North Central England, has committed to doing 1,000 miles for the year, but all on foot. If you wish to track his progress, his link is:http://www.canoeandtrail.co.uk/1000miles/ 

I had an interesting experience the day before yesterday. I was biking 13 miles through area dirt roads. Many of these roads are really soft, so I try to stay in the tracks where the soil is packed or where graders have helped to remove debris. I closely watch the mirror, but also listen for the sound of occasional approaching traffic. Suddenly I heard a deep rumbling sound. A check in my mirror showed nothing. As I looked over my left shoulder, here came a herd of 50-60 cattle running flat out and overtaking me along the fence line. A 2,000 pound bison bull can run 40 mph. These may not have reached that speed, but they were really bogeying, and had they come through the fence, my chance of escaping would have been somewhere south of zero. Cattle seem to have a short attention span though, so having won the race, they veered off to their left and dropped to a comfortable gallop.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Other Side: Behind the Badge

Credit: google images
No one but doctors, nurses, school officials or someone involved in an accident are legally required to call the police to report crimes against them or the innocent. For everyone else, if you don’t like the police or how they do their job, don’t call them. If you’re too much a coward to deal with your own problems with drug-abusing, mentally ill or sociopathic relatives or friends, don’t call the police to respond and handle your problems and then complain about the perpetrator getting injured while resisting arrest or restraint. NO police officer goes to work with the intention of hurting anyone, but they have both a responsibility and a right to respond to threats that put them or others at risk. If you want to whine about the police taking command of a dangerous situation, don’t call them. If you could do their job better, then stop being a wuss. Put the phone down and handle it. Don’t sit on your hands as relatives and acquaintances go downhill for years and years, and then when they spiral out of control, hold the police in judgment because they can’t correct your years of neglect and avoidance in three minutes or less, or if a gun or weapon is involved, in three seconds or less. Officers wear a shield because they dedicate themselves to serving and protecting others, not abusing them. At least do your part by supporting those that stand between you and harm.

Watch this video for a different perspective---the perspective the media won’t show.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zyhOW-8Zcc&app=desktop

And this is a portion of an article from Lt. Daniel Furseth, DeForest, WI, Police Department.

“Today I Stopped Caring”

“Today, I stopped caring about my fellow man. I stopped caring about my community, my neighbors, and those I serve. I stopped caring today because a once noble profession has become despised, hated, distrusted, and mostly unwanted. I stopped caring today because parents refuse to teach their kids right from wrong and blame us when they are caught breaking the law. I stopped caring today because parents tell their little kids to be good or “the police will take you away,” imbedding a fear from year one. Moms hate us in their schools because we frighten them and remind them of the evil that lurks in the world. They would rather we stay unseen, but close by if needed, and readily available to fix their kid. I stopped caring today because we work to keep our streets safe from the mayhem in the form of reckless, drunk, high, or speeding drivers only to be hated for it, yet hated even more because we didn’t catch the drunk before he killed someone they may know…………but tomorrow, I will put my uniform back on and I will care again.”

The police are always visible, so they’re an easy target of blame for things they have no control over. It’s easy to see how the police get frustrated when courts release thugs, perverts, and drug dealers back on the street faster than the officer can finish the paperwork. It’s easy to see how they get frustrated when they are arresting the same criminal for the same crime for the sixth time, and the courts have still failed to take any action against the criminal. It’s easy to see how they get frustrated when the State and local governments put saving money above the interests of public safety. Yet, when public safety suffers, the police get blamed. It is easy to see how the police get frustrated when an officer is told by the deputy attorney general that prosecuting a women for eight outstanding criminal warrants for preying on others “wouldn’t be financially advantageous.” It is easy to condemn the police for what you don’t understand. It is easiest yet for the media to publish lies and half-truths, carefully edited video, stories and incidents out of context, all for the creation of distorted sensationalism. If you want better police, show them you stand behind them and support them rather than sending their families cards, flowers, and candles after they have been murdered as a result of the hostile and dangerous environment that you may have played a part in creating.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

River Paddlers

If you don't happen to subscribe to Mississippi River Paddlers on Facebook, here is a You Tube recap, prepared by John Sullivan, of all the folks that paddled down the Mississippi River in 2014 that he was able to get information on.