Thursday, June 26, 2008

13th Annual Adams Gauley River Trip

WhooHoo! Gauley Season is less than 2 1/2 months away. And you know what that means! Time for our Annual Gauley River adventure. Once again we are holding it during GauleyFest weekend. If your coming plan on Thursday Sept 18th thru Sunday Sept 22nd. Looks like the NPS has bought the Wood's Ferry access so it looks like private shuttles should become a whole lot easier. Hopefully they will have something ready in time for this season.

Typical fun at the put in
What better way to spend a weekend than it beautiful Southern West Virginia. Gauley Season as all whitewater enthusiasts know is a world class whitewater adventure. With 100 rapids in a 24 miles stretch, Boaters from all over the world descent on Summersville, WV in the fall coinciding with the drawdown of Summersville Lake for the winter season.
Frequent carnage on the Upper Gauley (not our raft)

Sometimes the butt pucker is the only thing keeping you in the raft

Guarenteed releases of 2800cft brings the famed Upper Gauley back to life.

My firstborn son on his maiden Gauley voyage 09/06

Front row seats to the carnage on Postage Due Rock at Sweets Falls Rapid
Space is limited to about 8 people this year because we only plan on bringing the 14ft Riken and the high adventure 12ft "To Boatly Go. ." raft.

Notice the "Logo" and "Theme" on a 2003 trip OOPS!
I haven't gotten to run the small raft too much in recent years because we always have a large group. I really love the HUMUNGOUS ride in the teeny boat.
Beautiful part of the Lower Gauley known as Canyon Doors

Drop me an email as soon as you know if you plan on going with us this year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Continuation of the Top Ten Countdown

Milford Sound, New Zealand

3) Hike the Milford Track in New Zealand
Trip date: November 2012
One of the places in the world I have always wanted to visit is New Zealand. The land of the kiwis. There are many places on this planet that cannot be described--but experienced. And New Zealand, to me, is one of those places. You'll find a variety of awesome landscapes in New Zealand, all within easy reach of each other. Spectacular glaciers, picturesque fjords, rugged mountains, subtropical forests, volcanos, and miles and miles of beautiful coastline.

Tallest raftable waterfall in NZ

It's also a top destination to experience a thrilling whitewater adventure. G has a whitewater trip planned here in November 2012--and Mark and I plan to join him. Since New Zealand lies just south of the Tropic of Capricorn---the country enjoys relatively mild temperatures year round. November is considered late spring. Spring always coincides with big whitewater and we are looking forward to tackling the challenging rivers and take in all the beauty this country has to offer.

One of the more incredible places is Milford Sound which lies within Fjordland National Park in southwest New Zealand. It is considered one of the great wilderness areas of the southern Hemisphere. And the Milford Track has a reputation as one of the world's greatest "walks". Its a four day 35 1/2 mile trek through some of NZ's finest scenery. It requires a permit, there is a limit on how many people can start the hike per day. The track begins with an hour long cruise across Lake Te Anau to Glade Wharf. Interestingly enuf the track may only be hiked in one direction. No tent camping is allowed so independant hikers must stay in designated huts.

Clinton River on the Milford Track

The highlight of the first day is the walk along the Clinton River.

During the course of the next several days the hike will continue past inumerable waterfalls, winds around lakes, down water laden canyons, thru beech forests, crossing over suspension bridges, and across spectacular MacKinnon Pass.

The track ends on day four near Sandfly Point in Milford Sound where you are treated to a memorable boat ride through Milford Sound.

This sounds like a wonderful way to either begin or end an adventure to New Zealand. Of course like many of our destinations--there is always so much to do and see--that you can spend a lifetime exploring this incredible country and still not see it all. This planet is such a big place--it would take many lifetimes to see it all! Makes ya wish you can live forever, dont it?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hiking The AT (Appalachian Trail)

Interupting the Top Ten Countdown for a moment-----will resume on the next post. All this writing about trips and hiking and stuff has given me itchy feet. My heart and head are full of wanderlust. The thought of hiking the PCT is always heavy on my mind. Its also many years away--our situation requires we wait- --AHHHHH! But a section hike---especially since I am on the East Coast---the Appalachian Trail--ambles right thru New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Why not have a practice run --er hike--practically in my own backyard.---sorta----
My other idea is to have Mark drop me off at the trailhead in Shenandoah National Park on our way back from West Virginia on July 6th and hike the section near Skyline Drive-starting at Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro and hike north to Front Royal. The more scenic of the two will prevail. This is in the planning stage--since the idea popped into my head yesterday. If I do the Pensylvania section--probably do it mid July


I even have 2 volunteers to keep me company on my journey---my eldest son Jayson, who will in 12th grade in Sept. and my 13 year old daughter Corinne. Its customary to go by trail names--we've certainly have hiked alot of places--the kids have already have their names from past trips they've been on Jayson has become known as Diarreah Boy #2 or Number 2 for short---my stepson has the dubious honor of the #1 position--together they had become known as the Diarreah Boys from our 2005 Grand Canyon Trip--and it wasnt because they HAD it. It was because all they talked about on the 3 hour shuttle to Lee's Ferry was poop, farts and other bodily fluids that could be put to song and rhyme. Corinne got her name in Utah--she became known as Slash. In pre-trip correspondence our friend G started referring to her as Carli instead of Cori in his emails. So we introduced her as Cori/Carli to the group. Our friend Rob decided to shorten it to just " / " aka Slash. Me?? I was bestowed a name of sorts due to an "incident" that happened in a rapid called Killer Fang Falls in the GC--but really not sure i wanna be known as Soggy Bottom Girl(dont ask--not ready to explain that one yet) on the trail--- Im sorta partial to "Stix"--not because Im skinny--cuz I'm not!! But all my hikes I never hike without a trekking pole. I've busted at least 5 cheapo Walmart ones --they "suck" Last year I finally got a pair of Black Diamond Spires. I love 'em. Used em when I hiked to Angel's Landing in Zion NP in April, and used them when we hiked to (and ON) Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau AK. I am also excited because I will get to use our brand spanking new shelter/tent---it a GoLite Shangri-La3. Backpacker tent, super lightweight waterproof 4 season tent. So this section hike will be a good test to start adopting the lightweight backpacking style. When hiking long distances--less is more--the less weight you have the further you are able to hike. I plan to keep some kind of journal on the trip so ---keep checking back---will update anyone interested as trip gets closer . . . . I now bring you the regularly scheduled programming already in progress------

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pacific Crest Trail Documentary (PART 1)

Pacific Crest Trail Documentary (PART 2)

Top Ten Trips Countdown #2

2) Private Grand Canyon Raft Trip #3
~~no confirmed date

G running the Notorious Lava Falls class 10 rating

Yup--you read that right! We are really hoping to either score another permit or hope one of our friends obtain one to run the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon yet again.

Havasu Falls

There is something undeniably remarkable and special about the Grand Canyon. If your only view of the Grand Canyon has been only by seeing it on TV or in pictures--you truly are missing out on the one of the most truly magnificent Natural Wonders in America. Its something that every American should make the effort to see at least once in their life!

Rigging at the Put-in at Lee's Ferry

I've had the privledge of rafting the Colorado River twice now. First time was in Nov 2001. My husband and I shared 1 spot on our friend Glenn Goodrich's permit.(Once again-my eternal gratitude G!) Our kids were much younger so neither of us could take off for 3 weeks--so we split the spot that was offered to us. Mark did the first half--9 days from Lee's Ferry to Phantom Ranch--I did the 2nd two weeks--I had to hike 10 miles down the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim to the river. An adventure in it's own right! I will never forget that first trip. Especially because the last night on that canyon trip--we were treated to the most spectacular Leonid Meteor Shower

Leonid Meteor shower on Nov 18.2001 Not my photo

Not my pic but sky was filled with them for hours

Waterfall in Stone Creek Canyon

Something wonderful happens to you when you spend time in the Grand Canyon--those who have been there know what I'm talking about. There are no words sufficent to explain the metamorphosis. It's something you have to experience for yourself.

At the mouth of Matkatamiba Canyon

We were lucky enuf to get our own permit for our own trip after being on the "wait list" for only a few short years. Just know at the time, the wait list was over 25 years long. I got lucky--I felt like I had won the lottery. Our launch was in Nov 2005.

Group pic of 2005 trip

We had the perfect group of people. A few whom I had met for the very first time. And we all got along like a family.

Hawaiian night in the Canyon --Al Sullivan

Late Oct/early Nov seems like the perfect time to go. Summer is god awful hot-like 120 degrees! Summer time also brings lots of commercial outfitters and other private trips all vying for the limited campsites.

View from inside Redwall Canyon. See how small the rafts look

Beautiful scenery near Redwall Cavern

Late fall brings pleasant temperatures and lots of solitude. And it was wonderful! We spent 22 days having the times of our lives. Viewing the canyon from the bottom up makes you realize that the Grand Canyon isn't some big vast empty desert. Its so full of life. The rapids were HUGE and exciting!

Near Indian Dick Rapid

Drifting lazily in the flat stretches, enjoying the shrill of the canyon wren, sleeping under a canopy of stars, regaling stories around the campfire,

Deer Creek Slot Canyon

Hiking and exploring the many wonderfull hidden places the canyon keeps secret from those merely gazing from above,

Disco Night at Bass Camp

Known to us as the Diareah Boys

The comradierie among the group of fellow river travelers in their shared experience.

Sweeping view of the river at Nankoweap Graneries

Out of all the river trips Mark and I have done--there is NOTHING like the Grand Canyon.

The Little Colorado River

Once you've experienced being there--something from within calls to you--beckoning you to go back. And I know I'm not alone in this feeling!

Deer Creek Falls

So with any luck we will be able to aquire another permit---or if you're lucky enuf to obtain you own--please think of us!! There are so many places on earth we want to visit--yet I will never tire of the Grand Canyon and hope to get as many raft trips as I can during our lifetime

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Top Ten Future Trips

Just a countdown of the top ten trips Mark and I hope to do within the next 5 years. Some already have the approximate time frame. Some may wind up being squeezed in between other trips. Several are based on Glenn Goodrich's planned itinerary ( www. ) I will list them over the next 10 days in the order of personal importance of accomplishment, but is not in the sequential order of "when" I am going.


1) Hike the entire 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail
~~est start: mid April 2014

This is the top of my "To do before I die" list. Running the entire Colorado River in the Grand Canyon used to fill that spot, but since I was able to accomplish that one both in 2005, and half the Canyon in 2001-I now bumped hiking the PCT into the numero uno spot.

click the map to enlarge

Its not often one gets to claim they've spent 6 months
hiking what equals the distance of walking across the country. I wouldn't be the first--and I certainly won't be the last--however-- out of a country with over 300 million people--only about 300 people a year attempt to thru-hike the entire PCT--and usually less than half of that number complete their journey and make it all the way to Canada.

Southern Terminus Of the PCT

The trail begins in Campo, Calif. right at the Mexican border. Its only over 1000 miles, as the crow flies, from Mexico to Canada--but the PCT is 2 1/2 times as long as it zigzags it's way thru California, Oregon and Washington.

It climbs 60 major mountain passes, 19 major canyons and traverses past a 1000 lakes.

On top of that it ambles past 3 national monuments, 7 National Parks, 24 National Forests, and 33 mandated wilderness areas.

click on picture for larger view of Crater Lake

The PCT also brings you to the 3 deepest lakes in the US--Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe and Lake Chelan. I've read that less people have completed hiking the PCT than those who have summited Mt Everest.

SoCal desert can climb to over 110 degrees in the summer

Starting out in the scorching heat of the high and low deserts of Southern California-like the Mohave Desert and Anza Borrego State Parks is not a pleasant place to find yourself in the midst of summer, so most hikes begin mid April to mid May to take advantage of the cooler spring temperatures. It crosses San Andreas fault 3 times. After passing thru places like Mt.Baden-Powell, San Jacinto, San Gabriel and Tehachapi Mountains then you hit the next big hurdle--the highly anticipated High Sierras-- which are impassable til about mid June because of snow in the high passes.

Some take a side trip and summit Mt Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 at 14,505ft! You will also find yourself passing thru breathtaking places like King's Canyon, Sequoia National Park, and Yosemite. The trail also joins up thru most of the John Muir trail.

Mt. Whitney in late summr

Northern California you get to enjoy places like Lake Tahoe, Lassen Volcanic National Park and Mt. Shasta. Once you cross into Oregon the trail takes you thru dense shady forests. Some of the highlights in this state are Mt. Hood, Three Sisters Wilderness, Crater Lake and the Columbia River Gorge.

In late summer around early September you cross into Washington state by way of the Bridge of the Gods then up into the spectacular Northern Cascades with its spectacular mountain vistas and often fickle weather. Goat Rocks Wilderness Area, Mt Adams, Alpine Lakes, Glacier Peak, views of Mt Rainer and Mt. St Helen are some of the highlights of this state.

Finally reaching the Canadian border you have an additional 7 miles to arrive at the final destination of Manning Provincial Park.

In order to finish the trail in approximately 6 months most hikers must average 15-20 miles per day. Of course during this trip I plan to stop take "zero" days and visit friends, throw in a whitewater trip or two. We have some friends and family that plan to join us for part of the trail--aka a "section hiker". Of course anyone adventurous enough to live out of their backpack for 6 months and join us on the entire thru hike is more than welcome and have 5 years to get yer "act" together and make it happen. So what are you waiting for---get movin!

This 2650 mile trek---begins with a single step . . making it to Canada is not half as important as is the journey to get there. Getting there is half the fun! "There is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." This is an experience I am really looking forward to.