Archive for March, 2011
Sat, April 9, 7:00pm-9:30pm
Turnage Theatre, Washington, NC
Join GOPC and the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation for a fast paced documentary film on the history of paddling Linville Gorge. The evening will begin in the lobby of the Turnage Theater with raffle opportunity and a chance to review the latest in paddling gear. Following the film we will have a door prize drawing for $500 in paddle gear and DVDs of “The Eddy Feeling” movie.
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GOPC Owner Tom Valone recalls the early days
Circa 1975. GOPC founder Tom Valone in his Chuck Taylors at the Haw Rivers steel bridge take out.
Notes on the back of this photo indicate that it was mid June, and that the river was running about 21/2 ft on the old US 64 Gauge, which meant that there were a few class 4’s and lots of 2’s and 3’s. The boats are nylon/glass Phoenix Cascades, the paddles are Kobers, the cartoppers are Quick N Easy’s, life vests are Seda, the helmets are hockey helmets that make one look like he has an outsized frontal lobe, and the old river car is a ’59 “219” with about 220,000 miles on it. Note the high tech tee shirt stretched over the massive chest, the forever-to-dry cut-off shorts and Chuck Taylor river shoes.
This thing called “kayaking” was developing in all sorts of ways, with guys like Walt Blackadar and Royal Robbins pushing “first descents” out west, while the rest of us just kind of ran rivers. Point A to B was about as complicated as it got, at least here in NC. We had yet to get bored and start putting our boat noses in places that might prudently be avoided. This trip was different, the beginning of playing in individual rapids and holes to probe our limits and those of the boats.
The Haw was an interesting run. The water at 21/2’ was a mix of Triassic red mud and USDA red dye from the Cone Mills polyester plant upstream, guaranteeing that this clean guy photo was taken at the beginning of the shuttle, not after the take out. And, the boats have no holes visible, and I know for a fact that there were holes in the Cascades after the trip. There was even 6” of bow missing from my boat, chomped off by a demonic ledge under which I put the nose trying to get air in a maneuver called an “ender.”
If memory serves, since we did only a bit of surfing and playing at the bottom of Gabriel’s Bend, at Smooth Ledge and Finders Keepers (too much boat damage, wet exits and long swims!) the real challenge was avoiding the 100’ poison ivy vines bouncing in the current and copper mouthed rattle moccasins sunning themselves on low limbs and on exposed rocks. That and keeping clear of likkered up BUBBAS (North Carolina acronym for “Boys unburdened by BMW’s, Briefcases and Ambition”) some of whom were body surfing the bigger holes and others pissed off at recent college grads oogling their nekkid womenfolk. Seems like there was also some rusty re-bar and a few old cars in the river as well, but that could be an exaggeration. I really hate to exaggerate.
Joe and I did get to yelling “hey y’all, watch this” as we dropped into holes or punched thru high standing waves, or knocked serpents out of trees and into the water. We got real tickled by that, but some of the Bubbas thought we were making fun of them and ended up chasing us and throwing rocks and half empty beer cans at us as we turboed away.
At the take out we surveyed the smashed boats and made a corporate decision to buy the minimum order of 6 Hollowform kayaks roto-moulded out of cross linked polyethelene from a company in California; one for each of us and 4 for sale. These only came in yellow, weighed about 65#, and the brilliant design elements moulded into the hull relaxed out in our southern sun. They were a bit hard to paddle, but because ya couldn’t break them, the rivers were soon “yellow with boats.”
Whitewater paddling and play boats have come a long way since ’75, with the best designs being made here in the southeast. They come in lots of colors, and there is a design for just about any paddling niche one can imagine. The lower Haw, including all the great rapids and holes are now under Jordan Lake, but the big oak tree in the background of the photo is still there shading folks fishing for catfish. And, on weekends in the summer, one can still hear “hey y’all, watch this.”
YARMOUTH, Maine — (March 9, 2011) — The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator has been honored as a recipient of a 2011 Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice Award. The most prestigious award in the outdoor industry, it is given annually to products in recognition of their outstanding innovation in design, materials, and/or performance.
The Earthmate PN-60w is a rugged, waterproof handheld GPS offering full navigation capabilities, plus the unique ability to create custom Type & Send text messages for delivery via the SPOT Satellite Communicator. Users can explore and stay connected with family, buddy lists, social network sites, and emergency responders, even if far beyond the reach of cell phone service.
The Backpacker Editors’ Choice Awards, bestowed annually since 1993, honor the products that Backpacker editors have chosen as the best of the year based on months of trail testing by teams of highly experienced hikers and climbers. With no set categories for the awards and no set number of recipients, the products and the testing process drive the award categories.
The Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator was one of only 13 innovative products that have been honored with a 2011 Backpacker Editors’ Choice Award.
“Here’s a high-tech trifecta,” Backpacker said in describing the PN-60w and SPOT messaging capabilities. “Navigate the backcountry and call for emergency help and stay connected with those at home.”
Backpacker Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Dorn explained how his staff, led by Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter, conducts their testing.
“With a core team that has several centuries of combined trail time, along with first descents, decades of retail experience, and expertise in every backcountry discipline, Kristin puts new products through an unprecedented level of real-world abuse in every terrain and weather imaginable,” said Dorn. “She also oversees a transparent process that has earned an unrivaled amount of trust from readers, retailers, and manufacturers. The results are reviews that lead consumers to smart, durable products that consistently prove their worth with years of best-in-class performance.”
DeLorme Vice President Caleb Mason added, “The Backpacker Editors’ Choice Award bestows enormous credibility and we are very proud to add this to the numerous honors we’ve already received for this product.”
Indeed, the Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator has been the most-honored outdoor GPS product since it was launched in September. Previous honors include Popular Mechanics 2010 Breakthrough Award, 2010 National Geographic Gear of the Year honors, and a 2011 Consumer Electronics Association Innovations Award.
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The NC Paddle Trail Association continues its discussion with state agencies on preserving, protecting and enhancing public access to our waterways at NC DOT bridge crossings. I am looking for examples of the good, the bad and the ugly bridge crossing examples (see below). I would appreciate any photos you could share with me on bridge crossing access sites. Photos of bridges that have been replaced that had adequate access facilities but now access has been eliminated due to the replacement of the bridge would be excellent (before and after). Also where new designs have eliminated or impacted negatively access would be appreciated also. And finally, photos of any and all bridge crossing access sites you have would be appreciated.
Please include as much information as possible about the bridge location, water body name, road name or SR number, GPS coordinates if you have them, county, etc.
This information will be invaluable as we engage the state agencies in providing access to our public waterways. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Tom Potter, Executive Director
NC Paddle Trails Association