Kayak Canoe Alabama

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Apalachee River to Causeway IV

Saturday, July 31, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This morning was excellent for paddling with a temp of around 80 degrees with fairly low humidity, clear skies and a 7 mph easterly breeze. I arrived and put in at Riverdoc's at 8:00 AM with a high water level and tide still rising. No sign of my gator buddy again.

So, with heading east into a slight headwind and against the rising current, my first leg down to Apalachee was relatively slow at 8:45. However, the return west with both a following wind and current sent me flying down past Riverdoc's to the Causeway culverts. Once past this area, with several morning fishermen along the side of the road, I pushed on to the Interstate bridge near the Exxon, against the current, but with the wind to my back. I stopped at the turnaround in 36:27, took a drink and headed back east. This time, I had a following current but a top wind/wave action in my face, until I passed the culverts and then everything was in my face again to Riverdoc's. Even so, I set a new PR of 56:20, mainly since it was not so obscenely hot and humid.

Rice Creek to Jug Lake (Fisher Island) platform

Friday, July 30, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

If you don't first succeed... we tried this paddle earlier in the month during the July 2nd full moon and got rained out. So, with a blue (second full) moon in July, we tried again to make it out to the camping platform on the other side of Fisher Island on what is known as Jug (or Fisher) Lake.

Linda and I met Bob, Dennis, Fritz and Harriet at Rice Creek Landing at around 5:15 PM and headed out Rice Creek under cloudy, but non-threatening skies. The deer flies were ferocious, and even with a liberal dose of Swamp Buddy bug juice, only partially effective.

There was not much current as we put in just after high tide. The first flower we noticed was the swamp lily, with a large white bloom somewhat similar to the spider lily, which grows along the bank. The bloom sits up about 18" above the rest of the plant.

We made it out to Briar Lake and across to the cut-through to Tensaw Lake. We turned left or SW down along Larry Island until we reached the Tensaw River. We crossed the river and entered Jessamine Bayou, which had only a mild current coming out. Fortunately, we were preceded by someone with a chainsaw, who recently did some strategic clearing. After staying left and avoiding two false right forks, we took the next right fork which soon opens up into Jug Lake. We followed it around counterclockwise for about 0.75 mi. until we reached our destination, which was one of the newly constructed camping platforms reserved for kayakers and canoeists to use. They will soon be released for use by reservation by the State. The trip out was about 3.75 mi. and took us just under one hour.

We parked our boats and unloaded our potluck dinner and drinks, while Bob maneuvered his canoe around, so Dennis could take some professional photos for an upcoming article about the area for his magazine and guidebook. Since Fritz was color-coordinated with yellow hat, PFD and kayak top and is our resident professional male kayak model, he happily obliged to pose for many action shots out in front of the platform.

Soon thereafter, Norm and Gary arrived to share some more food, wine and cheer. After finishing off most of the fine food, and all of the wine, we loaded up and headed back as the sun was rapidly fading away. It was pretty dark going down Jessamine, but once we got back to Briar Lake, the moon started to come out from behind the cloud cover and led us back up Rice Creek and back to the landing at around 9:30 PM.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Apalachee River to Causeway III

Thursday, July 29, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The conditions were about as good as I could hope for on a typical July night. At 6:00 PM, the temperature was starting to come down, there was no wind and the tide was low and still going down. My gator friend was in hiding tonight, as I started out heading east towards the Blue Gill. My stopwatch read 5:21 as I past Blue Gill's and when I reached the Apalachee it was 7:28, so I figured I had a chance for a decent overall time, even though I knew I had following current heading east. The return, was a little slower into the current, but the Blue Gill's to Riverdoc's split was still a reasonable 6:40 out of total 17:10.

The leg out to the drainage culverts under the Causeway was flat and relatively easy to negotiate. The water around the culverts was roiling around some, so I knew it was still draining out. The trip down to the Interstate bridges by Exxon was pretty quick with the direction change of the tide running out. I made it to my turnaround in 37:38. So, the return trip east had the opposite challenges, into the current heading towards the culverts and once past, with a following current the rest of the way back to Riverdoc's. My overall finish time tonight was 56:36, which was an improvement of 1:23 over the 7/7/04 paddle.

By the way, the State continues to work on the old Riverdoc's site. What used to be the parking lot and building foundation area is now very smoothly graded out and looks like they may seed it and let grasses fill in the whole area. All trash is picked up, the old pier is pulled out and the old boat ramp is now only barely visible. The only thing left is a small, low wooden bulkhead and a light pole around where the building came to the edge of the water. By next spring you won't be able to tell that anything was ever there.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Fairhope to Dog River Double Crossing

Sunday, July 25, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Sunday at 7:30 AM started out at 84 degrees and by noon was up to 96 degrees with cloudy skies and what seemed like pretty high humidity. High tide was at 7:00 AM, so there was no current, the wind was calm and the water was pretty flat.

I started out from the Fairhope Yacht Club beach at a pretty good pace of around 5.3 mph, continually watching my GPS since the visibility was about 2-3 miles. Once I crossed the ship channel, the Mobile shoreline was visible, so I was able to locate the Dog River Bridge without being very far off course. I reached the Mobile shore after paddling the 10.6 miles in 2:06. After a short 5 min. rest and a long drink of water, I started back. The sun came out, the temperature rose quickly and I slowed the tempo down somewhat. I saw a dolphin surface on the way back as well as the usual assortment of sea birds out fishing on a beautiful morning.

The last few miles turned out to be a death march as I somehow left a couple of water bottles in the car and was low on water. So, my return time was 2:20 for a total of 4:26 for the roundtrip of 21.2 miles. This was my first trip across the bay, let alone a double crossing, since I don't really count the crossing from Dauphin Island to Ft. Morgan. So, this was a good gut check for where I am in training for the Mississippi race. I think it is going well, and I should be ready to go in October!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

3rd Annual Dog Paddle

Saturday, July 24, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

A small, but enthusiastic crowd came out to participate in the 3rd Annual Dog Paddle at the mouth of the Dog River. The first event was the Men's One Mile which consisted of two laps around the buoys on the Dog River, starting and finishing at the Beachcomber Marina. The award winners were as follows:

Brint Adams 10:24
Jason Farrell 11:27
Carwyn Redell 11:30

The Women's One Mile race was next with the following results:

Margaret Strack 13:55
Sytshe Kimball 14:37
Janie Chess 16:14

Following three 0.5 mile races for Juniors, Parent-Child and Novice divisions, the final Open 2 mile event started at 11:30, with the following results:

Brint Adams 21:20
Jason Farrell 23:53
Kelly Rakon 24:29

In addition to my personal successes noted above, I was coerced to enter the Parent/Child event with an energetic 9-year-old girl named Chrisha. We used one of the kayaks that Bob Andrews graciously furnished for those who did not have one to bring. She was very excited to finish first, get the first place award and talk to the Channel 5 Newsman on camera.

It was alot of fun and benefits a worthy cause to help the Dog River Clearwater Rivival with their advocacy of cleaning up the beautiful Dog River. As long as I am able, I am looking forward to participating in next year's event.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Apalachee River to Causeway II

Thursday, July 22, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

It is good to be back on the water again!

The week and a half in Sacramento officiating at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Track & Field was a great experience and I would not trade it away for anything. I was able to run a 10K each morning along the American River on Sacramento's great rails to trails system. At various times, I was able to see a coyote, several long-eared jackrabbits and an osprey catching a fish from the river. The track meet was awesome and the whole experience was all good!

Back to kayaking... After a two-week layoff, I got back on the water for a five-mile sprint workout and left my watch at home. It was a hard workout, but probably not as fast as I would have gone with the watch running. The water was fairly calm and the current was not running fast in either direction. So, I had a pretty uneventful but successful paddle.

By the way, I had successful orthroscopic surgery on my right knee two days ago, to clean up a cartilage tear. So, I felt pretty good paddling, considering the stitches still in the knee with the swelling pretty well gone already. It is amazing how far knee surgery has come by now and how minimal the invasiveness and quick the recovery is!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Apalachee River to Causeway

Wednesday, July 7, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

I decided to lengthen my speed course up to approximately five miles by extending the first turnaround from Blue Gill's further east down to the Apalachee River.

The temperature was around 90 degrees at 6:00 PM, when I put in. The wind picked up to about 15 knots out of the southwest. High tide was at 4:30, so it was just starting to fall. My gator friend met me at the put-in at the old Riverdoc's, and gave me another long look as I approached him. As I headed east, I stayed close to the south shoreline to stay out of the wind as much as possible, making it to the new turnaround in 7:58. The way back was slower, as I noticed my time was 17:10, when I passed Riverdoc's. As I got out into open water, the wind really hit me and it was torture to make it to the Exxon in 38:55. The return was swift but no less tiring, as I finished in 57:59. The wind and current made a big difference in time, with the return a whopping 2:44 faster.

Well, it will be almost two weeks before I get to paddle again. I am off to Sacramento this Friday to officiate at the Olympic Trials Track & Field Championships. See you at the Dog Paddle on the 24th!

Monday, July 05, 2004

Fairhope Yacht Club to Pier

Sunday, July 4, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The Mobile Bay Canoe & Kayak Club met at 6:00 PM, for a picnic and paddle to see the fireworks and hear the pops music. About 30 members met at the Fairhope Yacht Club and decided to eat first at the onsite gazebo. There was a wide array of foods and all who wanted to, got stuffed. At around 7:30 PM, everyone loaded up in their various canoes and kayaks, of all sizes and shapes. The wind was still brisk coming out of the southwest, so we had to push our canoe pretty hard to make it down to the pier, in time to hear the concert.

Everyone parked their boats on the northeast side of the pier next to the sailboat slips. Linda and I got out and walked down to the park and listened to the Baldwin Pops perform the Independence Day standards along with featured soloist, Rebecca Stevens, who was quite good.

We walked back to the boats and watched the fireworks display with the other kayakers. It was interesting to not only see the Fairhope fireworks right in front of us, but also up the shore in Daphne, and across the bay in about five different locations in Mobile.

Following the fireworks, we paddled back to the FYC and on home. The paddle back in the dark was easier, as we rode the small waves back north about 100 yards off the shoreline, out in front of the private pier parties still going strong.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Blue Gill to Causeway Workout V

Sunday, July 4, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Bob met me at 8:00AM at Riverdocs, to try my speed workout course, under a clear sky with no wind, water like glass, but current rising. The current flow was opposite from the last two workouts, so my times were reversed also. The first turn at Blue Gill's was at 6:30, back to Riverdocs at 11:30, and to the Exxon turn in 29:15.

After the hard 18 miler yesterday, I slowed slightly on the return and followed Bob in, with a total time of 48:54. I finally remembered to take a GPS along and the total distance turned out to be 4.6 miles. As we loaded our boats, I got dizzy from dehydration and was generally whipped from the workout. Well done!

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Causeway to Mobile River

Saturday, July 3, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Rob and I left the Causeway at the Exxon promptly at 2:00PM and headed west under the Interstate bridges and turned north up into Delvan Bay. There were a couple of gators who greeted us as we left. The skies were threatening in the West, while it was sunny, hot and humid overhead. We passed many osprey, both adults and young who were hanging around several nests along the way.

We continued north up the Spanish River and stopped at a fish camp for 15 minutes at about 5.5 miles to assess the storm front off to the West. We decided to continue with our plan and continued north around the high electrical line towers and turned south down the Mobile River. At this point, the river had about a 3 mph current down river, so we were able to make good time. We passed under the high bridge, and around many parked barges in the industrial section. It began to rain and the temperature cooled down considerably. The storm included an incredible light show of huge bolts of lightening off to the near west. However, none came any closer as the storm appeared to head south and really stopped when it got to downtown Mobile. We passed a Navy destroyer and another Navy boat, with the armed sailors watching us closely as we skirted widely around them.

As we came to the downtown area and over the tunnels, we paddled to the west side of the river near the Convention Center, park, new cruise line terminal under construction and the shipyards. When we got down to the end of Mobile River, we turned east and out into the bay and headed back north past the USS Alabama and back to the Interstate bridges and the Exxon station.

The last section in the bay surprised us with a following wind from the south which created some nice rollers, which we surfed all the way back in. Our total paddle time was 3:30 over a distance of 18.5 miles.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Rice Creek to Fisher Island platform

Thursday, July 1, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The plan was for a leisurely evening paddle out through Jessamine Bayou to the new state camping platform around the other side of Fisher Island. However, after coming out of Rice Creek, the rain started and we decided to stop at a covered floating platform, eat dinner and wait out the storm.

Our group consisted of Bob, Lisa, Julie, Gary, Gene, Carolyn, Nancy, Linda and I. We had plenty of great food, drink and laughter to make it through the storm.

After about two hours, the rain slowed and we decided to head back up Rice Creek to the landing, arriving around 9:30PM.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Blue Gill to Causeway Workout IV

Wednesday, June 30, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The conditions were identical to Tuesday including a falling tide. However, I was feeling a little better and hit the first leg harder in 11:00. Somehow, I slowed a little out to the Exxon turnaround and came in at an identical 31:15. So, I really hit the return hard and finished in a time of 48:57, or about 1 minute faster than Tuesday. It was still slower than my PR, but at least back in the 48's.

I saw two decent sized gators, with my good buddy waiting for me at the finish. I think he was waiting for me to keel over, so he could get a good meal! Little does he know, how little meat there is on the bone!