comments about a recent paddle and/or kayak experience.
June 6, 2016
- Bend, Oregon
I came to Bend, Oregon with one intention in mind,
completing the Bend Ale Trail. Bend is known as Beer City USA.
As a home brewer and big fan of craft beer I was naturally drawn
to visit Bend. I am pleased to say I did manage to visit all
16 breweries on the ale trail. What I also discovered is that
along with a passion for beer, Bend also has a passion for kayaking.
There are numerous put in and pull out spots for kayaks in Bend.
There is even a park dedicated to kayaking. The entrance to
the park has a huge statue that looks like a windmill which
was created from actual kayaks. You have to love Bend, Oregon,
beer and kayaking. It doesn't get much better than that. Tom
December 21, 2015 - San
Diego Bay, Coronado, CA
Launched from Tidelands Park in Coronado. Paddled through
San Diego Bay. This was the first time I encountered a shark
while kayaking. Lucky for me the shark went the opposite direction
I was going and I was never in any kind of harm. Saw some interesting
things such as a large cargo ship from Dole company, USS Midway
Aircraft Carrier, Petco Park, and downtown San Diego city view.
It was great to see these things from the perspective of a kayak.
I also saw some type of new thrill seeker activity. A guy using
a jet ski to power him to have the ability to walk on water
(see video for more details). Being in a kayak gives a whole
new appreciation to what you are seeing.
Here is a link
to a video from my trip.
December 7th, 2015 - Club Christmas Party
The club enjoyed an early start to the Christmas
Season. The December meeting was a party instead of our traditional
Photos from Jeanette Downing. Jeanette was
also the winner of the sweater contest.
December 1, 2015 - Club members hiking together, Idyllwild,
Members of the Valley Wide Kayak Club enjoyed the company
of each other in a different way. They had the pleasure of hiking
in beautiful Idyllwild, CA.
March 30, 2015 - Sea of Cortez
in Loreto, Mexico
Went for a short paddle in the bay at
Villa Del Palmer Resort in Loreto, Mexico. The
actual paddling was nothing spectacular, however the unique
experiences I had were nothing short of amazing and the views
were breath taking. This was my first time paddling a glass
bottom kayak. It is great paddling along and seeing fish swimming
under your kayak. I also had the joy of paddling over to a small
fishing village. Kids were playing in the water while various
boats came in to shore with their catch of the day. There were
no docks. The men simply jumped out of the boats into the water
and carried thier catchto shore. For a while I stopped paddling
and just enjoyed watching and listening to the people. I couldn't
understand what anyone was saying yet it was obvious the people
were very happy. After leaving the village I paddled back to
the resort we were staying at. As I neared the resort I saw
a young man and his son who were stuggling to move in a tandem
kayak. The man was just splashing his paddle on the water and
not actually paddling. I verbally gave him some few pointers
and he still didn't paddle correctly. The boy said "no
English, hablo Espanol". I then paddled over to the man
and had him watch me. After a few minutes of him watchig me,
he and his son were gliding along the water having a great time.
The young man said "gracious senor." I took one last
look at the islands in the Sea of Cortez before pulling my kayak
to shore. I then returned my life jacket and paddle to the rental
station. As I returned my gear a server came over to me with
a Pina Colada to enjoy on the beach. Another great day of kayaking
February 18, 2015 - Parker, Arizona
Today I had both an invigoarting and yet relaxing paddle
in the Colorado River in Parker, AZ. Going up river to Parker
Dam was challenging and invigorating. Coming down river was
relaxing and very peaceful. As I was coming down river I saw
cars along the road of the river as they were rushing to work,
errands, etc. I thought how lucky I was to be able to enjoy
a relaxing day on the water while others were dealing with the
hustle and bustle of daily life. I enjoyed the unique experience
of watching wild borrows as they came to the river's edge for
a drink. To top it off, my kids also joined me on the river
for part of the day. It was one of those days that make you
say "LIFE IS GOOD".
Link to a video (less than 4 minutes) from a week at Buckskin
Mountain State Park
September 6th, 2014 - China
VWKC Club jacket is once again being worn all over the world.
This time it is being shown off in China.
July 25, 2014
- Hood Canal, Washington
This is a short video submitted by Kathy
Hakala. Kathy and Gary Hakala are clearly enjoying some beautiful
paddling in the state of Washington.
Click here for Video
June 9, 2014 - Jackson
Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Moran, Wyoming
Originally when I came to Grand Teton National Park
I had no intention of kayaking. However, once I saw the beauty
of the lakes, in particular Jackson Lake, I knew I had to get
on the water. I rented a kayak from the local marina. When I
went to the launch area with the worker he gave me a short white
water kayak. I asked if I could use the kayak next to it (referring
to a touring kayak). He said "that is an ocean kayak it
only works in salt water and this is fresh water." I assured
him I would be okay with it and then proceeded to get a paddle.
The worker said "do you want a red one or yellow one."
I said "I would prefer a paddle of about 220 cm."
He said "we have red or yellow, paddles don't come in different
lenghts." I could have got upset about his lack of knowlegdge
in regards to differnet tyopes of kayaks and paddles. Instead
I just chuckled to myself and got my gear and got into the kayak.
While I was paddling the wind came up, but with such beauty
around me I didn't mind. Jackson Lake is an amazing place to
paddle. The pictures below don't let you truly appreciate how
beatiful this lake is. You need to see Jackson Lake in Wyoming
for yourself to truly appreciate the natural beauty of this
June 20, 2013 - Lake Hemet, CA
Mike Mueller and I had so much fun yesterday on/in
the water that we decided to get out on the water again today.
Today we decided to go to Lake Hemet. The wind was blowing quite
a bit when we arrived. Thus we decided not to use the sail (see
previous day post) as we felt we might not be able to control
the kayak well enough to make sure we didn't capsize. We simply
used the mirage drive (foot pedal system). We had a very enjoyable
trip to the damm and back. The highlight of the trip was two
bald eagles flying together. Unfortuantely I didn't get the
camera ready quick enough to get a photo of them.
June 19, 2013 - Lake Perris, CA
Tom and I headed out for another fun filled outing on Blew Maru
(tandem Hobie Oasis). The goal on this trip was to see
how far we could push her as a sailing kayak. So
off to Lake Perris in strong mid-afternoon wind we went. Boy
did we push the envelope all over the western end of the lake.
Often, we would get spray off the bow and we only dumped
her once. Not only did we both end up in the water,
but as soon as she went over, Blew Maru immediately turtled.
Once we got her righted, got both of us back in
the boat, and did an equipment check, we found that the only
item lost was the lid to my Gatorade bottle. We both had our
sunglasses, hats, and any other item usually lost in such circumstances.
From today's outing, I can see I need to add to make some sailing
hardware upgrades. I believe these changes will make her
more responsive and easier to sail. However, the biggest thing
I learned today...MAKE SURE THE DRAIN PLUG IS SCREWD IN BEFORE
YOU PUT YOUR BOAT IN THE WATER...DUH!
June 15, 2013 - Lake Skinner,
A group of ten of us enjoyed a beautiful day on the water at
Lake Skinner. The water was like glass. There was a slight breeze
which helped keep us cool. While paddling we had the unique
pleasure of watching a mother bird teaching it's new born baby
bird to fly. None of us were sure what type of birds they were.
Yet it was a very near site to witness. After paddling we then
joined other club members in our annual chili cook cook-off.
Results are as follows: 1st Place - Lisa Graham, 2nd place -
Bob Pisa, and 3rd place - Jennifer Mueller. I am shocked to
say that both 1st and 2nd place winners made vegan style chili.
Thanks to everyone who made chili and/or brought side items.
April 13, 2013 - Lake Perris, CA
How do you make a basic paddling trip at Lake Perris more excitng?
Do it blindfolded. That is what if felt like being on the water
today due to the heavy heavy fog. A group of us from the Valley
Wide Kayak Club were at Lake Perris today to guide swimmers
in a triathlon. Neither the swimmers or us kayakers could see
where the triathlon course buoys were. Numerous times swimmers
said things such "where do I go, are you sure I need to
turn, where the hell is the shore, how much further, this is
complete bull_ _ _ _, guide me to the finish, etc". We
tried to guide the swimmers as best as possible while guessing
where we were at and keeping a careful eye on the swimmers by
us so we wouldn't hit them. Just another example of how unpredictable
and adventerous kayaking can be. Tom Siebold
October 20, 2012 - Silverwood Lake,
Today Lisa Graham and I had an adventerous paddle on
Silverwood Lake near Hesperia, CA. We were a little reluctant
to get on the water due to heavy winds. Once we got on the water
we discovered the winds which were causing white caps on the
water weren't as bad as they looked. We were able to enjoy the
natural beauty of the lake. From time to time there were strong
gusts of wind that pulled on our paddles. The water was actually
warmer than we thought it would be. We discovered the water
temperature as the waves broke against the bow of our kayaks
and splashed us in our faces. There was a narrow section of
the lake we were able to get to where the winds were obsolete.
Overall it was a nice time on the water. Tom Siebold
August 9th, 2012 -
Castaic Lake, CA
I went to Castaic Lake last week with Gloria and Greg Durgin.
They are not used to kayakers on the upper lake, so we had a
bit of difficulty with the inspection process. Once we finally
got on the water and past the water ski boats, we explored several
arms of the lake. Lots of little coves and beaches. We saw deer
at the end of one cove. They had come down to the water to drink
and took off when we approached. At the very end of the north
side of the lake there is a nice, large beach. Even though it's
a no-swim lake, there were lots of people playing in the water.
I took a quick dip myself- very refreshing. All in all, we paddled
for about 4 and a half hours. Great paddle. Lisa Graham
August 8, 2012 - Hood Canal, Washington
Gary, Kathy, (Hakala) and I kayaked up, down, and across
the Hood Canal. Clear water and 100 feet pines were everywhere.
Saw jellyfish and a small shark in the Hood Canal. On one of
our trips up the Hood Canal we paddled up the Hamma Hamma River.
We were in search of a herd of elk known to frequent the area.
We didn't see any that day, but I got to see something much
more amusing; Gary pulling his kayak by rope up the river! Kathy
and I paddled Lake Kokanee, which is one of the most beautiful
lakes I've ever been on. We had the lake to ourselves. It was
like glass right up until you got to the waterfall that cascades
right down into the lake- absolutely breathtaking. All kayakers
should put the state of Washington on their places to paddle
list. Lisa Graham
August 6, 2012 - Lake Elsinore, CA
Lake Elsinore, the largest freshwater lake in Southern California,
is set against the Ortega Mountains. We had a really good paddle.
The lake was calm and there were lots and lots of birds to look
at. Although speed boating and waterskiing is allowed, the lake
is ringed by a no wake zone a hundred or so yards from the shore,
so there was absolutely no problem with boat wakes. The lake
was also very clean and smelled great! (We had been warned that
in the past there was an objectionable smell.)
We stayed for 4 days (3 overnights) at the “Lake Elsinore
Marina and RV Resort” which had plenty of RV campsites
with full hookups. The only thing I found wanting was that all
of the RV sites there were “back-in”. I didn’t
see a single pull through. This is not really a major problem
to experienced RV’ers. It does, however, put all of the
neighboring hook-ups in your front yard.
To launch, we drove our kayaks right down to the shore, and
even left the truck there while we went kayaking. I was going
to move our truck further up onto the land, but one of the park
attendants drove up and had me move back down to the shore.
This is because they try to reserve the more inland areas of
the shore for those vehicles pulling boat trailers. The shore
where we launched was sandy dirt and I didn’t see any
submerged rocks to avoid.
All-in-all this was a very good experience and I will not hesitate
to go there again. If you’re interested, their web site
The main drawback is that I did not see any shaded tent camping
at this particular marina. There are lots of other parks in
the area that appear to have many really nicely shaded tent
sites. One of these was the“La Laguna Resort and Boat
Launch”. We were impressed when we drove by there, but
I have no firsthand knowledge about it. They have a good web
I’ve since talked with friends who have used the La Laguna
resort and they were favorably impressed by the accoutrements.
We didn’t consider them because they only had 10 RV sites
with full hook-ups, but it did look like an excellent tent camping
area. Apparently this facility has just finished one major rehab,
and is currently undergoing another upgrade phase. My information
may be totally out of date by the time you want to go so I advise
checking out their web-site. I do know that my “Drive-By”
impressed me and if they had more full hookup sites I think
I would like to try them out. I have absolutely no knowledge
of any launch information here.
July 24, 2012 - Morro Bay, CA
Recently I spent a week at Morro Bay. And what a nice, cool
week it was - temperatures were 55-65 degrees. For the most
part, the water was calm in the morning. I signed up for a 3-hr.
kayak tour of the estuary. We beached at the heron rookery,
saw sea lions on a sand bar, and walked on the sand spit to
see the ocean on the other side. There was much wildlife - pelicans,
sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and curious squirrels among
the rocks. At another time I saw one brave kayaker who ventured
out into the ocean, maneuvering among the waves. Besides kayaking,
there's a myriad of activities in this area. Sharon Middleton
July 16, 2012 - Hartman Lake in
Today I was once again reminded of how many wonderful
opportunities arise from kayaking. We (family members and I)
rented a tandem sit inside recreational kayak. It was rewarding
to give kayak rides to my uncle, dad, wife and my mom. My mom
who struggles with mobility and often uses a walker enjoyed
the freedom of being on the lake while riding in a kayak. I
utilized the wide tandem kayak to paddle while standing. Hartman
Lake is a very small lake, yet it provided a great afternoon
of fun. I highly recommend visiting Waupaca, WI where you can
spend numerous days kayaking on the 22 different lakes in the
"Chain O' Lakes".
June 23, 2012 - Kayak Construction
It's blistering hot in my shop here in Palm Desert. A better
day for paddling than building, but building we are. Here are
a couple of pictures of my 11 Ft Little Auk under construction.
The entire hull and deck of this boat will be made up with 1/4"
x 3/4" Western Red Cedar and Alaska Yellow Cedar strips. As
you can see here I am closing in on completing stripping the
hull. It's slow as each strip must be cut and tapered to fit.
Once the hull is closed up I will turn it over and start on
the deck. Will post more as I progress. Look for this boat on
the water next season. Paul Gow
June 20, 2012 - Portage Lake, south of Anchorage, Alaska
Here are a "few" pics from kayaking and boating on Portage Lake,
just South of Girdwood (which is South of Anchorage) on the
Kenai Peninsula. Temp was 60 degrees or better, with full sun.
I have to tell you, the couple of times I put my hand in the
water, it was More than Cold! AND OF COURSE, I begged and we
went to a restrauant called the "Lucky Wishbone", which is a
"Fried Chicken" place that has been in Anchorage for over 55
years. This is the second time I've been and the Chicken is
Great, and the Corn muffins and Coleslaw are wonderful too!
Like Nancy always says, "Tom, you are the only person I know
that remebers cities by a specific restrauant you've been too
that you thought was Good!" I guess so! Weather this morning
is cooler with a slight breeze and the sun peaking through.
No rain at the moment. Tom & Nancy Friend
June 7, 2012 - Lake Cuyamaca, Julian, CA
I arrived in Julian, California (mountain community
north of San Diego) on Monday for a week long camping trip with
the hope of doing some paddling. Unfortunately there were strong
winds when I arrived in Julian. I began to get frustrated as
the winds continued for multiple days. By Thursday the winds
stopped and I was able to enjoy a beautiful paddle. Upon arriving
at the lake a sign said to "pay before proceeding to boat
dock". Thus I parked in a lot by the lake and walked to
the nearby buliding with the intention of paying a launching
fee. While walking over to the building I noticed that it would
actully be easier to launch from the shore as opposed to the
dock. Not only was it an easy launch from shore, I also was
able to avoid having to pay to launch fee since I didn't use
the dock. The lake is quite small, yet provides plenty of beauty
with the surrounding trees and hillside views as well as wildlife.
April 4, 2012 - Morro Bay, CA
I have had the pleasure of visiting Morro Bay in the
past from land. Today I was able to experience Morro Bay on
the water in my kayak. Part of the time on the water was calm
and relaxing while other parts were windy and adventerous. First
the calm part. In the harbor I saw numerous otters. I also saw
fisherman unloading their catch of the day. I enjoyed the view
of a dock from the underside. Numerous people on shore waved
at me as I paddled past restuarants and gifts shops. After enjoying
the harbor I decided to venture out towards the open ocean to
get a closer look of the waves as they splashed over the jetty.
The further out I got the more wind and waves I encountered.
I decided the waves were a little too big to paddle in by myself.
Thus I came back towards the harbor. I wasn't the only one who
thought I should head backs towards the harbor. As soon as began
to head towards the harbor I felt something hit the stern of
my kayak. To my surprise a sea lion literally hit my kayak.
When I got back to the harbor I saw a group of sea lions relaxing
on a dock. Once again today's paddle reminded me how beautiful
and fun kayaking can be. Tom Siebold
I was recording the sea lions laying on a deck. Apparently
I drifted a little too close to them. I got spooked when a few
of then jumped off the deck towards me in my kayak. I let go
of the camera that was attached to my wrist and starting paddling
away. You can here them barking at me. At the end of the clip
I was able to stop paddling and grab my camera as the sea lions
went back to just laying on the dock. I like to think the one
sea lion barking at the end is telling the others "it's
okay now, he is gone." Click here to see the short video
Monday, August 1st, 2011- Wade Lake, Madison
July 19, 2011 - East Twin River, Two Rivers,
Wisconsin to Mishicot, Wisconsin
My last time on the water was filled with waves and wind. Today
was the exact opposite. I was on the East Twin River in Two
Rivers, WI paddling to Mishicot WI. The water was like glass.
I experienced peace and solitude. I didn't see or hear a single
person for over 4 hours on the water. The only sounds I heard
were cranes taking off from marsh areas, deer walking through
shallow water, birds chirping, and fish splashing in the water.
I was accompanied by 3 blue jays who constantly flew in front
of me. Every so often they splashed in the river to cool off.
There were many times I had to walk the kayak due to shallow
water and places where fallen trees blocked the entire river.
A very peaceful and scenic paddle. Tom Siebold
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - Nicolet Bay
(part of Green Bay) in Door County, Wisconsin
Was apprehensive about going out for a paddle due to high winds.
Once I got on the water I was very happy I went out. I had rented
a 12 foot long sit on top. Due to the large waves, the bow of
the kayak constantly kept rising and crashing on the waves.
The splash of water felt great. I had to constantly keep paddling
hard to make any kind of distance. I was able to get a break
after only about an hour of paddling when I got to an island.
I stopped at the island and saw amazing wildlife. After leaving
the island I paddled back to the rental shop and helped some
first time paddlers. What started out as a day of apprehension
turned into a great day of paddling. Tom Siebold