Sep 21, 2014

This One is for the Ladies

I've been wanting to write a post about drysuits. About peeing while wearing a drysuit. Talk about the most amazing piece of gear ever for cold water/weather boating, but the worst piece of gear to get out of in an emergency...

After too many close calls, too many jumping/cursing/flailing sessions over getting the drysuit over my head and off in time, I decided to invest in a funnel.

no, not that kind of funnel

Now I could have gotten a women's specific drysuit with a zippered bottom, but when looking at the design, I didn't want the zipper to rub on the thin plastic of the packraft. Kirk and I reguarly put whole days or weekends in our boats, and the last thing I wanted was a hole were my women's specific zipper is.

So I headed to Google to find a funnel. So many choices!

Do I want the GoGirl, Whiz or Shewee? Or maybe the P-EZ or Smartway?

I ultimately decided on the Freshette, not sure quite why, but the hard plastic cup could be shoved into the zipper of my drysuit, the hose replaced with a longer one if needed, and hey, it was fairly cheap.



And it works beautifully. I've even taken to using it when not in my drysuit...such a novelty to be able to stand up when peeing.

Ladies, you don't have the do the dance anymore, try a funnel!

Sep 4, 2014

Paddle Camping on Smith Reservoir

Kirk had paddled on Smith Reservoir (McKenzie River drainage) as a kid growing up in the Oregon valley, and had always wanted to return. A paddle-in-only camp lay at the far end of the lake, and upstream? Packrafting potential.



We left summer in Bend to come to a drizzly-to-downpour kind of day on the rainy side of the mountains. It was ok though, Kirk remembered the dry tops...I however, didn't bring any rain gear. I was caught up in the summer dream.


The reservoir is two miles long, which for a packraft seems like a long time. We talked of sails and other kinds of boats that travel more effeciently on lakes, but all in all it was a wonderful float and our arms got a workout!


There are acutally 17 campspots at the end of the lake, many up off the banks of the water since Smith Creek seasonally unleashes a torrent of water into the reservoir. We found a cozy spot, set up camp and got ready to explore the creek.



Now we couldn't find much info on Smith Creek, and water levels were much too low to boat anything on this trip, but scoping it out for the future was the main plan.

We crossed the river in our boats, stashed them in some trees and began picking our way up the mossy boulders.



It started to rain while we were exploring, and the drizzle turned into quite a downpour. Walking on wet mossy rocks is an entirely different sport than hopping along on dry riverbed rocks. Think ankle breakers.

We didn't make it too far when we had to dunk out of the rain, my windshirt just wasn't cutting it.


But at least we had a good view


This creek can PUMP! Look at all those trees. The size of the rocks and size of the wood in the drainage lead us to believe this is a waterway to hit around the 600, 1,000 cfs range. Anything bigger would be quite a challenge.

We were waiting out the rain a good hour when we both came to the realization that rain on this side of the mountains can last all day. So, we headed back to camp knowing we had a dry tent to duck into.


I found walking in the water was more stable, and we slowly inched our way back.

The rest of the day passed, lots more rain, lots of napping, reading and just being. The evening dried out a bit and we were able to enjoy a campfire until night drove us into our sleeping bags.

We will be back, oh yes, we will be back. Probably hitting this in June or July could put us at the right water flows to boat some of Smith Creek, we'll have to let you know how that goes in the future!



Aug 18, 2014

Scouting Trip - Linton Creek

When I met Kirk I discovered the beauty of walking up creeks. The more mountainous, the more interesting...sometimes. A few weekends ago we decided to go check out Linton Creek which runs into Linton Lake on the West side of Middle Sister. It surely was not packraftable, but I had hopes for the upper meadows...if we could get far enough there could be some amazing boating opportunities upstream. 

Meanwhile I am discovering the joys of mapping trip tracks on Google Earth. I have been using the Trimble Outdoors Navigator App to create tracks on some of our hiking/skiing/boating trips this year, but didn't think to export the tracks to Google Earth till now. Wow. 

This is an overview of the area.


We didn't bring boats, it was merely to be a backpacking/bushwack trip along the creek. 


The trail in was quite pleasent




I wanted to swim



But kept hiking





until we could spash around here



we were in for a CLIMB.






But we did see waterfalls!






And on top we encountered....


Marsh


And bugs


We did find some relief back on the creek


 But camp was nothing to take a picture of.

























This particular bushwack, while having a few shiny moments over the whole weekend, was something I won't repeat. Next time I'll try and reach these meadows


from the upper trails!

Jul 27, 2014

R2ing the North Umpqua River - VIDEO


R2ing the North Umpqua River, Oregon from Renee Patrick on Vimeo.

I took my new GoPro on the North Umpqua river for two days of R2ing with Kirk & some kayaking friends. I took WAY too much footage and used up all the batteries before some of the bigger rapids on the section between Horseshoe Bend and Gravel Bin takeout. Regardless it was super fun to put together and I'm looking forward to making lots more movies of our trips in the future.