Thursday, December 26, 2013

Elkhorn slough

Heidi and I went for a quick paddle Christmas eve.

The weather was too gorgeous to miss. It was 76'F or 24'C warm for Christmas !

We had a little visitor while in the harbor, usually Otters are very shy, but this critter just climbed up in to the boat.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kayaking Tomales Bay.

Sundays adventure was to paddle from Millerton Point to Lawsons Landing, just inside the mouth of Tomales Bay. High tide at 10:30am at 6ft, low tide at 4:30pm at -1ft (about as big as they get in California). Weather was forecast to be perfect - warm, light wind NE 3-5knots... 

Poised for action at Millerton Pt. Carmela, John, Krista, Heidi and I had staged a car at Lawsons Landing take out. I figured a 6mph paddle with the 3mph tide 13.2 miles would take a little over 2 hours. We could stop, picnic, take lots of pictures and walk up and see the elk and float around watching the harbor seals and myriad seabirds.

We stopped in at Shell beach first - the water was glass on the way over, but there was a little evidence of a sea-breeze building.

After a sandwich and yummy cookie we reviewed the plan. One of the kayaks we had with us was an inflatable kayak/ raft hybrid. It didn't hold sufficient speed or track well and was already tough going in the headwinds that were building. We would have to split.

Heidi and I would head for the car and Carm, John and Krista would either head down as far as they wanted, with us picking them up on the return, or paddle around and head back for the car.
The sea-breeze picked up to a 15mph headwind. With the sea breeze, the temperature dropped from 68'F to 56'F, pretty ugly for the scenic tranquil lazy kayaking I had promised. Those darn weather people ! We had 9 miles to go and 3 hours of sunlight. We were averaging 3mph. Yikes - this was going to be a grunt !

Not much time to stop, though we had to a few times to drain the kayak, the chop was pretty bad. Once we made Hog Island, the wind calmed and we were able to average a better speed and catch some time back up. There were loads of seals on the sand banks begging to have their photo taken, but our hands and feet were frozen, so we trucked on. We did catch John on the radio though, all accounted for and warming up at Nicks Cove. Good to know.

We reached Lawsons Landing at dusk, hurriedly packed, loaded and started thawing out on the way back to meet the others.

Quite a paddle, there is really too much to see here, even on the perfect day. I think next time we will plan on at least an over-nighter.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Flying in the freezing air.

We had some record breaking cold temperatures in the bay area last week. Along with that usually comes some good flying and clear air.

Which means good clear pictures. I was hoping for some snow shots but only Mt Hamilton got a dusting.

Saturday was considerably colder than Friday. At launch it was barely 32'F during the day, and at 5200ft cloudbase it was 20'F.

When Zac asked if I wanted to go cross country to the south, my fingers were frozen stiff and I was pretty uncomfortable. I declined thinking I would, top land and grab my bar mitts. I had dressed pretty warmly otherwise, below 3500ft I was OK I opted to just punt around. Setting the small upwind task to fly over where we are staying in Fremont.

Getting down was a challenge, it was got dark at 5pm and everywhere around the LZ was still going up at 400fpm. I landed with my sunglasses in my mouth. Broke down quickly and went and got Zac from Hollister (50 miles south).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yosemite weekend get away.

This passed weekend Heidi, Carmela and I headed over into the Sierra foothills. We took Kayaks, bikes, hiking shoes and a couple of gliders. With the intention of using all three. We put the kayaks in the Toulomne River, just below La Grange. It would be really fun on river kayaks. In our Ocean beasts we were restricted to a small but pretty section of the river.

The next day I wanted to show Heidi around Yosemite valley. We biked around the scenic spots, parking at the trail-heads and doing some short hikes. Starting at Bridleviel Falls. Which is pretty dry right now.

Then we rode up to Mirror Lake and hiked the loop trail there. There's a nice view of half dome, funny how small it looks through the fish eye lens, it  is almost 5000ft vertical from there.

The lighting was nice around there that time of day, which was good as the frost never broke all day in the shaded curry village.

While Mirror lake was completely dry some springs were still trickling, allowing some green areas. From there were rode around to Happy Isles and hiked up to Vernal Falls.

The next day, a few folks took flight at McClure. It was better than I expected, I think Jay squeeked out 45 mins.

Great to see the McClure crowd again.