Upstream on the Green River

Summer’s almost over.  Since this was one of my last free Fridays, Alan and I decided to do a bit of paddling.  This time we decided to head up to North Carolina and do some paddling on Lake Adger, which is just north of Columbus.  It turned out to be a great trip, and an excellent paddling venue.

Lake Adger is fed by the Green River.  I’ve run the whitewater sections upstream from the lake many, many times, but had never really visited the lake.  I read another trip report about the lake, and it convinced me that this might be a good option for a flatwater paddle.  The lake has limits on boat motor size, and there are no jet skis or other fast boats on the lake.  Sounded good.

The Lake Adger Marina is the only public access I could find for the 500 acre lake.  Google Maps put it about 45 miles from my house as the crow flies, but driving time was about an hour and a half.  There’s no easy way to get there from here, and the route takes you through mostly two-lane roads through Greer, Tryon, and Columbus.  We did eventually get there right at about 11:00 and found a nicely maintained marina with loads of parking and a boat ramp.  We were the only ones there this morning. Continue reading “Upstream on the Green River”

A Drive in the Rockies Foothills

This really should be entitled “A Day in Denver, Part 2” and is a direct follow-up to that previous post. It was still early in the afternoon when we finished up at REI, so we decided to ride out of town and up into the foothills. Our tentative target was Golden, Colorado, of Coors Brewery fame. From there we would see where things took us.

We made it to Golden with no problems. Rather than hang around the town we drove straight through. We took Highway 6 northwest of town and along Cedar Creek. The highway runs through a valley along the creek, and through some beautiful scenery. The creek was more like a roaring river with some impressive rapids. Apparently folks normally go tubing and swimming in this area. Today, however, there were signs saying that it was prohibited because of the high water.

There was lots of traffic on the road, including RVs and large tour buses. It was a scenic route, to be sure, but this seemed like too much traffic for normal. There were also lots of cars parked along the road. There didn’t appear to be any trails, and with the signs warning about the river we weren’t sure what was happening. Soon, though, we spotted several climbers scaling one of the rocky crags along the road. It turns out that we were in prime climbing territory. Continue reading “A Drive in the Rockies Foothills”

A Day in Denver

So, you’ve only one day to spend in a major US city. What do you do? That was the dilemma that faced us in regards to Denver. The trick is to pick one or two things you really want to do, then perhaps hit some highlights in between so that you’ll have an idea for when you can come back and spend more time. I think we managed to accomplish that with this trip.

After a nice breakfast we headed over to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This was first on Laura’s list, and it made sense. Most of Denver’s initial wealth was based on mining, so the gem and mineral displays were supposed to be outstanding. Continue reading “A Day in Denver”

The Keys to the City

Laura had a meeting in Denver, and as long as someone else was paying for a nice hotel room, we decided to take advantage of it. So despite having been in Florida last weekend, and Washington State the weekend before that, I decided to fly out and join here. I met up with Laura just … Continue reading The Keys to the City

Where were you born?

Dear Twitterites, Facebook Friends, Google Plussers, and RandomConnections Readers: I need your help with a project.  This summer I’m doing several workshops for SCETV on Google products, including Google Earth and Google Docs. I’m hoping to include some information on Google Fusion Tables as part of the workshop, and in order to do that I … Continue reading Where were you born?

Godspeed, Atlantis

dd263439da7840e6ae0ffd6edf870451.jpg by RndConnections on Aviary

The space shuttle Atlantis lifted off Friday morning for the last ever space shuttle flight. NASA is ending the 30 year program and all the remaining orbiters are being parceled out to museums. It is a sad, sad day.

We had hoped to actually see this launch. Be coincidence we were going to be in Florida the day of the of the launch, and we thought about leaving early on Thursday evening so that we could at least be in viewing range, even if it was just from a rest area on I-95.

Alas, that was not to be. The weather didn’t look like it was going to cooperate, and there was only a 30% chance that it would go up. Also, I’d had a particularly rough day at work, and was still dealing with work issues when I got home Thursday evening. Between those two, we decided to leave early Friday morning. If it launched, so be it. Continue reading “Godspeed, Atlantis”

A Samish Island Fourth of July

The celebration actually started yesterday.  There were the beach fireworks Duff and I saw while paddling, usually involving ordnance  obtained from the reservation and NOT approved by Washington State law.  Also, the neighbors a couple of doors down had hired a band.  Duff and I had heard them while paddling, and back home they were really loud.

After dark Laura and I walked out front and watched (and listened to) fireworks both on the reservation across Padilla Bay and on the San Juan Islands.  For some of them, if these weren’t official shows, then someone was REALLY in violation of the “safe and sane” fireworks laws.

Monday, July the Fourth was one of the best Independence Days we’ve ever had.  It started quietly enough like every other morning on the island so far.  I even skipped another paddling opportunity in order to sleep in a bit.  Mid-morning we decided to head down to the Samish Island Parade on North Beach. Continue reading “A Samish Island Fourth of July”

Paddling Around Samish Bay

It looked like I wasn’t going to get to go paddling this trip.  I had thought about just buying a kayak and leaving it up here for future trips, but couldn’t find anything reasonable.  I thought about booking another tour, but by that time most had filled up with holiday  travelers.

Fortunately, the neighbor Duff came to my rescue.  He had several homemade Fiberglas boats that we had used before, but they weren’t easy to reach.  They were at the bottom of the cliff on the south side of the island.  We managed to haul them up the cliff, but by that time it was late in the evening, and we were a bit tired from the haul to go paddling.

After discussing options we decided to take the boats up the Valley and run a section of the Skagit River.  This was something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, so I was psyched.  We loaded the boats onto our rental, since it had roof racks.

The next morning Duff and I headed out in two vehicles.  We had barely gotten off the island when one of the boats came loose and slid off of my car.    Fortunately there was no damage to car or boat, and we were able to get it loaded back on an limp home.  However, we needed to regroup. Continue reading “Paddling Around Samish Bay”

A Day on Samish Island

The view from Mrs. Wright’s living room is constantly changing. The lighting changes with the rising and setting of the sun, clouds and weather roll in, and there is the constant shifting of the tides. Throw in a couple of eagles, herons, and humming birds, along with some boat traffic, and you’ve got a constant … Continue reading A Day on Samish Island

Padilla Bay Preserve

Padilla Bay Reserve

Mrs. Wright’s house looks out over Padilla Bay, a section of the Puget Sound bounded by Samish Island to the north, the flat farmlands of Skagit Valley to the east and south, and Fidalgo Island south and west. The Swinomish Channel runs between Fidalgo Island and the mainland, connecting Padilla Bay to Skagit Bay.

On the east side of the bay, near the little community of Bayview, is the Padilla Bay Preserve. As many times as I’ve driven past here over the past 20 years, I had never stopped in. I decided that had to change on this trip. It was sunny one afternoon this past week, so I headed on over.

The Padilla Bay Preserve actually encompasses the east side of the bay. Just south of Bayview is a paved walkway that provides great views of the bay and the surrounding wetlands and farmlands. North of Bayview is the Brezeale Interpretive Center – a research and meeting center with displays for the general public. I had walked along the pathway, but had never been to the visitors center. Continue reading “Padilla Bay Preserve”