Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs

Looking up at the Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone – kind of the opposite view of the previous tree picture.  Had to climb on the railing to get high enough to just barely see into the pool in the middle there.

Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 10-22mm lens @ 10mm, 1/60 sec, f/11, ISO 100

New Experiences

So, here in list form is recorded some of the fun of visiting Taiwan for a week.  Additions as well as an actual literary rundown may happen.

General:

  • Typhoon – disappointing.  The gov’t got all worried after underestimating the last one, so this one was all the rage… at least in print, in reality it was just some rain.
  • Hotel doors blockaded shut – this was part of the overreaction, it consisted of 2×4’s and bailing wire.  Kind of janky for a 5 star hotel.
  • Taipei 101 – currently world’s tallest building, went there for food etc. (shopping on the lower levels) several times and up to the top once.
  • Tuned mass dampers – keep Taipei 101 from swaying in the breeze.  And yield these little souveniers.
  • Scooters outnumbering cars
  • People wearing face masks in public (Michael Jackson style)
  • Taiwanese Karaoke

Travel:

  • Visiting Asia, specifically Taiwan
  • Flying first class – and busting the seats twice by trying to use my laptop on the plane (which should fall well into the spec for the outlet).
  • Northwest Air lounge – free snacks, food, coffee, beer, liquor

Food:

  • Mayonnaise on pizza – yuck
  • Fish, whole on a plate
  • Smoked egg (at least I hope that’s what it was)
  • Kobe beef
  • Lobster halves (tail, guts, brains and all) cooked Teppenyaki style

Great Lakes Sea Kayaking Symposium ’08

I just returned from the GLSKS up in Grand Marais, MI.  It was a highly successful weekend, as judged by me.

Doug and Corrina headed up early Wednesday on Doug time – meaning they left about 1:00 in the afternoon.  I didn’t want to take the day off just for driving, so I headed up on Wednesday after work and after some fixin’ of the Jeep so she’d make the voyage in one piece.  As it turns out, I cannot drive for seven hours straight after very little sleep and leaving at 10:30 at night, so I stopped in St. Ignace to sleep for a while and arrived Thursday morning at 10.  Josh and Megan headed up later Thursday and got in around midnight.

The symposium doesn’t really start until Thursday night, so C, D and I went on a little coastal paddle out of the Grand Marais harbor and out to Sable Falls.  It was a nice little warm up (about 7 miles round trip).

Thursday evening there was a downpour at 8ish for about an hour.  Everyone either went back to hotels or watched Justine’s video in the rec center (although downpour on a tin roof makes for hearing difficulties).  Apparently nature got rid of its angstiness though, because that’s the last of the bad weather we saw for the weekend.

Friday is always the intermediate trips (with Saturday as the beginner trips – ie. once they have had a chance to take classes Friday).  Josh, Megan and I went on the 12 mile cruise out to Grand Island and into Trout Bay.  Doug and Corrina went on the 18 mile run along pictured rocks which we have done in the past.  The 12 mile trip was a nice change from the rush that the 18 miler always end up being, and a nice change of scenery as well.  We almost got a bit of weather, but alas, no fun came our way.

Saturday I took two classes, both of which took half a day.  The morning was boat control with Steve Scherrer, who is an IT, works for Confluence Water Sports and was the designer of the boat I paddle.  He’s a damn good instructor.  The afternoon was Rescue scenarios with Steve Bailey and Rob Taylor.  They’ve both been around since I started going to symposia and before.  The class was also good, shedding light on just how important knowing rescues and repair can be.

On Friday night Sam Crowley presented his solo circumnavigation of Ireland.  On Saturday night Justine Curvengen presented her (non-solo, alas she has a boyfriend) circumnavigation of the Southern Island of New Zeland.  Both were very cool, with some wonderful pictures (and video’s in Justine’s case).  It seems that whenever a circumnavigation is done it works such that there’s about 1/3 of the trip that takes 2/3 of the time due to conditions.  In both there were days when they made less than 10 miles on the water if they got out at all, but also days later when they’d make 50+ miles in a day.

Saturday night is the pastie dinner.  It’s put on by the local high school as a fund raiser for their senior trip.  This year there were five graduating seniors – it was a big class.  The dinner was good, and as an amazing bonus, Josh won a new Valley Aquanaut, which for anyone who cares, is a $3200 boat.  The white and yellow of the Aquanaut and the white and red of the Montauk (Megan’s boat) make his Civic look very nice :-P.

Sunday morning is random instruction time / boat demos.  Unfortunately there wasn’t a Tempest 170 Pro for me to try.  We did however confirm with Pat of Riverside Kayak Connection that Doug and I could get instructor pricing on them which is a damn good deal.  I tried a 165 Pro which was of course small for me, and also Josh’s new Aquanaut which was also small for me.

As a note to self – next year I really should be an instructor.  They seem to be smart with who they have lead classes, so it wouldn’t be too ridiculous.  Plus, it makes things free, such as registration, lunch, dinner, beer and possible fuel costs.

I headed out with Josh and Megan at about 1:00, C & D left later.  We went to see Sable Falls by road on the way out and also stopped at Truck Stop for pasties in St. Ignace.  We crossed the bridge just after 6:00 and I was back around 10:30… half an hour too late to get into the storage space and drop off the gear.

I spent most of the night waking up in intervals to do laundry and then this morning had to swing through Lowell to deposit gear.  That brings me to current – sitting in the Northwes Air club, writing this entry, and about to go board my flight to Taiwan.

Be back in a week.