Nov 23, 2010

Inter-coastal Paddle - Stuart, Florida

Picture taken from Gilbert Bar at the House of Refuge:

Being in Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday had me yearning for some time on the water. So I did a little search for kayak rentals in Stuart, FL., and landed on a really, really good company.

Paradise Kayak Tours, LLC had a most excellent tour planned for the day on their schedule, and it involved paddling around the inter-coastal waters of the Stuart Causeway. I booked the tour online the day before. I selected a single sit on top kayak.

I met up with Mike from Paradise Kayak Tours at 9:00 at the SE end of the Ernest Lyons Bridge

I was his only client for the day, and the set plan was to circumnavigate the Stuart Causeway and hitting up a few of the islands along the way. The route was going to be between 10 and 13 miles and take about 5 hours. And lunch was provided. Pretty schweet deal for 78 clams.

We hit the water sticking to the eastern shore of the spit (Gilbert Bar) that separates the causeway from the Atlantic ocean. Our first pullout spot was the the historical House of Refuge. Pretty amazing this house had been here since 1876. The spit here is only a couple hundred feet wide at this section, so I trotted across the road to check out the ocean for a while.

Our next stop was on an island across from the Sailfish Point Marina. Then it was back in the boat, and we paddle out of the inlet (near the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean). I kinda wanted to head out to the ocean and considering my experience in the surf was, but it prolly wasn't the best idea in the little kayak I was paddling. Besides, I didn't want to be a liability for Mike.

We turned around, an headed back into the bay. We ended up arching around a couple of islands near the western shore of the causeway. We then settled on a white sandy beach for some lunch. Mike had an awesome sammiches, chips and sodas for us. Nom, nom, nom, nom...

The weather had been perfect all day, as the temps were in the upper 70's and the winds were pretty much nonexistent. The winds were expected to pick up in the afternoon, so after lunch , we looped another island and called it a day at that point. And as expected the winds started to pick up as we returned. We were off the water by 2:00.

I normally like doing these tours on my own, but Paradise Kayak Tours pretty much rawked. I would highly recommend this company.

Good stuff. The bad stuff is that I shot some really good video of the day, and actually cut and edited the footage, but I dropped my computer and lost pretty much everything including all the footage off my Gopro camera. That was the camera with all the good shots. Very frustrating and disappointing, cuz that video was awesome.

I did have a little bit of footage on my other camera, so I did put together a little bit of a video:

For this video I ended up using a new (to me) screen grab video recorder for the Google Earth Tour recorded video shot. Fraps pretty much rawks. I had been using Cam Studio and has worked very well, but after reinstalling Cam Studio after I got my computer up and running it just wasn't working right. Fraps is so nice for pulling the Google Earth Tour, because I no longer need to run the tour in ultra slow mode and then speed up the video file in my video editor. My old workflow with Cam Studio I needed to create a tour that would take about 20 minutes to play otherwise the clip would be really, really choppy.

Here's an interactive Google Earth tour of our Stuart Causeway:

Nov 11, 2010

Apache Lake - Alder Creek Wash (redux)

Last June, on hot Arizona summer day, I got up early and paddle down to Alder Creek on Apache Lake for a little exploration, so today I decided to do a little repeat of that adventure.
This time, I gotta sleep in a little bit later, so I didn't leave my house until 5:00. Two hours later I was parking at Crabtree Wash up at Apache Lake, and on the water by 7:30.

I had my eyes peeled as I scanned the north shore for big horn sheet, but I was denied any real wildlife this trip. Well except on my hike I stumbled up see a coati in a box canyon, but he bolted before I get my camera out.

Like past trips out on Apache Lake the morning winds were a little more than a gentle breeze, but it was blowing in the direction I was heading. As for the temps, it was probably about 45 degrees when I started paddling, as the sun was just coming up.

As I made my way down to Alder Creek Bay I heard exactly one boat, and he was behind me about 2 miles. So I pretty much had the west end of the lake to myself.

Once I got down to Alder Creek Bay, I noticed the lake level was down a slightly from my trip in June, and it kind of surprised me considering my October trip Canyon Lake had the highest water I had ever scene. The Apache Lake level was hardly noticeable, but it was down about a foot or two.

From Alder Creek Bay, I tucked my kayak away and grabbed my cameras and trekked up the creek bed, which soon transitioned into a box canyon. Really neat stuff. It didn't take long before I was up the creek high enough that the was actually water pooled up, and being fed by a spring.

I rambled up to the waterfall, and man is this a beautiful place.

I spent a lot of time filming the hiking portion of this trip, actually a little bit to much as I used up all my batter on my wide angle gopro camera. Drat! I wish I had enough battery for the waterfall, because the footage from my utter camera just can't capture the majesty of this place.

Once I came back down to my boat it was about 12:30, and it was very comfy out and the winds were done for the moment. So chowed down on some cold pizza and took a little mid trip siesta. After my nap, I noticed a few puffy white clouds were billowing over the cliffs above. No concern at that moment, but once I paddled out of Alder Creek Bay, into the main portion of the lake, I look back at where I had come from, and there were some big gray clouds quickly building on Four Peaks. Four Peaks, as the crow flies is about 7 miles away from the Alder Creek Bay. These clouds did concern me, 1) with a rain storm comes rain. Me getting wet isn't that big of deal, but considering my car was parked in a wash prone to flash floods was a little unnerving. 2) With a rain storm usually comes big winds. And about halfway back to the car the winds went from calm to really strong. Not only was it a headwind, but it was strong enough for white caps and chop. Drat. I hunkered down and paddle hard for about 45 minutes and kept looking over my shoulder for the storm, which was counter intuitive, considering the lake level winds were blowing from the east down the lake, but the peak level winds were blowing the clouds in from the north. I caught a few rain drops, but the storm was moving across from where I was a couple hours prior.

I got back to my car about 3:30 and felt secure no significant moisture was gonna land where I was at. Phew.

What a great day, and an adventure I look forward to repeating again, and again.

David Grayson said, "Adventure is not outside a man it is within."

Here is a little video of the day;

If you have the Google Earth on your computer, here is an interactive map of my tour route:

Nov 9, 2010


Nothing to see here, but I just wanted to note that Where the Streets Have No Name has had 20,000 visits since it was launched in June of 2007.

Well, I need to keep it real, so I also say that most of the those visits were from yours truly – heeheehee.

The number one search item that lands people on my site, are my Blue Ridge Reservoir trips.

I also get a number of visits from people linking from thanks, mtbikeaz!

Crossposting to MTBR and other forums have landed people here too.

I also must note that lotsa hits from people looking for info on Six Shooter trail and Pinal Mt. in Globe, AZ. Oddly enough the strangest misdirection to my site, are people searching for the faux picture of guy in Globe with a giant rattlesnake. I’ve got a couple posts of Haboobs (desert dust storms), and that gets an unruly visitor or two.

Thanks everybody for checking in!

And thanks everybody for putting with my atrocious writing. I rarely go back and proofread that stuff I kickout here. The purpose for this blog is for me to show a little video, and to have somereference links so I or somebody else can recreate the adventure. You wouldn’t believe how often I go back to post to find pinpointing location of a parking lot on a google map from a trip I’ve already have done.

Safe travels and no matter where you go, there you are.