Thursday, November 22, 2007

Balmy November Padddling

Eric S and Wally J (pictured above) met me for a pre-Turkey Day paddle from Kingwood to Byram. The Delaware River was running strong at just over 6' and we had the river to ourselves except for one motorboater near the end. It was rejuvenating just being out on the water, something none of us had done much of recently.

If the predicition of a warmer than normal winter comes true we'll have many more opportunities to paddle the Delaware River and its tributaries over the next 3 months.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ponyland beckons...

Sunset on Assateague Bay as seen from Assateague Island National Seashore.

Assateagure Island National Seashore is the place I return to for an outstandingly remarkable beach experience and escape from the Piedmont rocks. It's devoid of crowds and the typical shore town blight and has been a favorite, easy-to-reach destination for more that two decades.

And it is always advisable to visit off season when the mosquitos are down and out. This makes the ponies happy and when they are happy, I am happy.

Happiness is a good thing, so we headed to Assateaggue last weekend, staying at the Victorian era Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, MD. Normally we camp next to the dunes, but this time the warmth and ease of the hotel won out.

Only downside was we only had just two days to beach comb and view the sunset.

According to the gage at Riegelsville the river shot up almost a foot so far today. A cursory look at upriver gages such as the Brodhead Creek at Minisink Hills show that the upper watersheds are getting more precipitation out of the storm. The Musconetcong River has been disapointingly low despite the release from Lake Hopatcong. We wait impatiently for it to rise so it can be paddled a few times before winter sets in.

Monday, November 05, 2007

RIP Rivermom

Pic #1 Rivermom does her signature headstand while surfing.
Pic #2 Rivermom was among the 100 notable paddlers of the 20th Century.

Rivermom is gone but her legacy will live on for generations.

A member of the Chicago Whitewater Association (click to visit their memorial page, where the above pictures were borrowed), Marge 'Rivermom' Cline was best known as an American Canoe Association instructor. She was included in Paddler Magazine's list of the 100 most influential paddlers of the twentieth century. Check that link for her writeup, and also take note that Harold Deal appears right below Rivermom.

She came to Phillipsburg during the heatwave of 1998 (or was it '97?) to teach ACA Instructor Trainer and ACA Instructor Certification courses for solo and tandem canoe. I was among the later group of fortunate students to do a cert course under the guidance of one of the nation's most famous and prolific teachers. The course took place over two consecutive weekends at Phillipsburg, Round Valley Reservoir, and Lambertville Wing Dam, where the class was also visited by Harold Deal and Dan House.

Rivermom was a demanding instructor who put a lot of emphasis on teaching & learning theory and requiring her students to demonstrate their teaching skills, as opposed to just focusing on paddling technique. I can also testify that she liked to show off her canoeing headstand - in this case she did it in a solo canoe on a choppy Round Valley Reservoir. She also demonstrated some awesome Freestyle Canoeing technique.

Visit the Chicago Tribune for a wonderful obit. RIP Rivermom.

Kayak, canoe master
Indomitable paddling instructor who drew thousands into the water held safety in high regard, but also knew how to have a good time

By Trevor Jensen Tribune staff reporter
November 1, 2007

A master of canoe and kayak, Marge Cline was one of the top paddling instructors in the country. A stickler for safety and proper technique in her classes, she thrived on the exhilaration of taking on a wild river. Her signature move was a headstand in the bow as her canoe shot through white water...