Kayaking gloves alternatives

November 7th, 2010

Kayaking is a trillionaire type sport. The gear ain’t cheap and if you really get into paddling year round, there is a lot of gear that is needed for both comfort and safety. Or for some of the “Look at ME” crowd, kewl stuff to impress people with. :)

Since this author has what Bart Simpson described Monty Burns having “bony girlie arms”, I need to cover the skin and bones with layers to keep the body warm.

Also since money makes the world go round and this write ain’t a trillionaire, watching pennies can be important. So finding alternative economical equipment to use for paddling is a necessity.

Since my door skeleton body gets cold and the MBS wimps out and melts down finding and using just the right layers at a non arm and leg cost is a big deal.

That being said, I was in K-mart looking for an iron or hair dryer so I could use it to repair dry suit neck gasket. Repairing the drysuit is another story and the drysuit is one trillionaire item this bony person requires so as not to freeze to death. More on that in another ramble. Instead of finding a tool to heat the rubber drysuit gasket I stumble upon some gloves.

I don’t like to shop and even if I was an Internet billionaire, I still would not like to shop. Most stuff doesn’t work and breaks down or is more trouble to hook up and use then I have the patience for.

I checked out the gloves and pondered. Should or should I not buy them and see if maybe they might help keep my paws warm when out on the water paddling. I was checking out two different sets of gloves.

One was a package of knit type gloves with three for $4.95. I am extremely cheap and the price said maybe or maybe not. Would these end up in the Goodwill box if they did not perform in a manner I could stand? Would I be out of the price plus tax?

Cheap K-mart Basic Editions knitted synthetic gloves for paddling warmth.

Cheap K-mart Basic Editions knitte gloves for paddling warmth.

There were others to check out. The next pair was a mitten fingerless glove type combo for $9.99. The composition was thinsulate and … The mitten part folds back and secures with velcro to the top of the hand and the fingerless part can be exposed.

Cheap combo mittens fingerless synthetic gloves used paddling.

Cheap combo mittens fingerless gloves used paddling.

Both of the gloves I bought were by Basic Editions.

So, I decided to purchase these two sets and try ‘em out paddling on Puget Sounds 50 degree water in 50 degree windy conditions.

I did several tests.
First I wore the knitted version around before and during paddling. I found my hands remained nice and warm on the way to the paddle site and fairly warm while paddling. Besides keeping the paws a decent temperature with no discomfort, I found I could do all sorts of things, in other words there was much more dexterity then with the more expensive Stearns Neoprene paddling gloves I had used over a long period of time. Paddling as AOK with the knitted gloves on plus like I said my fingers weren’t aching from any cold. Of course it was only about 50 degrees outside with a good wind blowing.

The next test
The knitted gloves fit into the combo mitten fingerless gloves. With both gloves on both paws it was still sort of comfortable to paddle using the cheap West Marine Pro paddle. More on the paddle story someday. Gripping and stroking the paddle was no big deal. In fact it wasn’t too much different from the thickness of the Stearns gloves. Maybe a little but the thickness did not bother me much at all. Still got a good grip and best of all my paws were warm, dry and another super kewl deal.

Combo of gloves used for paddling warmth.

Combo of gloves used for paddling warmth.

I like to use a waterproof camera and video cam to play at taking pictures. With the Stearns gloves my paws got cold and I had to take ‘em off when I tweaked with the camera controls. This was extremely irritating. Constantly stripping the Stearns gloves off and exposing my bony fingers to the elements. In the process losing many cool pics because of the time “f”ing around disrobing to get a shot.

Turns out the knitted Basic Editions allow me to push little buttons on the camera and do all sorts of things the Stearns get in the way doing. Plus, the knitted gloves are so cheap in a three pack.

Then with the mittens and the knitted gloves on I can flip the mitten part back and do what I need to do with my bony fingers. The finger tips are still covered with the knitted gloves and I can take pictures and feed my face with treats. What a deal.

So what about getting wet and …
I kept the left paw encased in the mitten and knitted glove. Near the end of the paddling day tour trip, I dipped the right hand in the water with the knitted glove. Remember, Puget Sound is cold and life expectancy is not long if you fall in unprepared, due to hypothermia. If you have not had that experience I wish you luck. It is badddddd news. So be prepared or pay serious consequences.

After dipping and continuing to paddle, the right hand did not get all that cold. For this heat wimp this was kewl. The paw could be shaken and most of the water flew off.

Next the mitten was slipped on. Still warm.

Next the big plunge. Shoved the the mitten and knitted gloved right paw in the water. Soaked those puppies good. Continued paddling. Shook the water off like a dog. Kept paddling into the wind.

The left dry hand was of course still warm. The right damp not soaking because the water was shook off, was cool but not freezing. No pain from the cold.

OK, so the water was not freezing and the air temperature was not that horrible. But, this heat wimp is a happy paddler because even in these conditions getting cold used to more of a problem. Used to wear a plastic food handlers glove under the Stearns paddling glove.

I paddle all winter in snow storms and with ice in the water on lakes and other places. It is extremely important to keep this bony body warm.

I will continue to test the gloves and see if at lower temperatures and harsher conditions I don’t whine about the pain from the cold.

So, this is only part one on the saga of keeping not cool but keeping warm if not toasty while paddling and not draining the bank account doing it.

Check out Paddle Heaven a web site, yes there is still life outside of face book or twitter, featuring some information about kayak/canoe put-in locations in Washington State.

Gloves update November 9, 2010
Have been wearing the knitted gloves outdoors at work as a gardener in pouring rain for two days now. The temperatures have been around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Gloves have been from damp to wet and the paws have remained not exactly warm but NOT freezing.

Plus the water wrings out and these puppies dry fast.

All this adds up to warmer work outdoors and paddling in the winter here in the Pacific Northwest, when the best paddling occurs. Eeeek you say? Winter? Yup, you all are at home huddled around things like the turkey, Xmas tree or … :) Quiet times on the waters.

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Ghostly Halloween Paddling Baker Lake

October 31st, 2010
Ghostly Baker Lake and its goblins.

Ghostly Baker Lake and its goblins.

Paddling on Baker Lake in the North Cascades near Halloween on Friday and Saturday October 29 and 30 brought out the goblins.

Friday was a Simpson’s sort of day with the puffy clouds at the beginning of the cartoon program. Day two on the lake was more in the style of Halloween with thick fog and goblin like creatures in the water and along the shoreline.

Baker Lake shoreline creature from the deep. Remains of old growth cut when the reservoir was created.

Baker Lake shoreline creature from the deep. Remains of old growth cut when the reservoir was created.

The water on this two day excursion was mostly calm with small ripples here and there until the last few paddles back to shore in the pouring rain on Saturday the day before Halloween.

Anderson Point ghost ship while Halloween paddling on Baker Lake.

Anderson Point ghost ship while Halloween paddling on Baker Lake.

The fog on Baker Lake limits the site of the shoreline and the awesome mountain scenery but adds an interesting dimension on a Halloween weekend paddle here.

Baker Lake goblin in the fall color.

Baker Lake goblin in the fall color.

The lower level of Baker Lake during the Halloween season brings out the goblins from under the water. So if you go down in water watch out there are goblins and other beasty looking creature like remnants of the old growth trees before the Bake Lake reservoir was created. There was supposedly a siting of a Yeti or Abominable Snowman type hanging out near Shannon Creek Campground according a link at Google Earth and an article in the Seattle Times. Maybe they saw a creature from the deep that line much of the shores of this lake, especially in winter.

If you’re looking for an escape from the noise in the lowlands, possibly paddling Baker Lake in the off season might be a good choice. There is little if any fossil fuel noise. The lake is almost your own with the exception of a few hardy souls braving the elements and not to forget the goblins of Baker Lake.

Check out other Baker Lake information for and about paddling and camping at Paddle Heaven. A section at the main web site has a link to Paddling the Cascade Mountains with some links to Baker and other lakes for MBS, mind body and spirit getting aways on Halloween or at other times of the year.

Posted in North Cascades, Washington State | No Comments »

Paddling Washington State

October 26th, 2010

Again, another drum Rollllllll please. Paddling Washington State can be a good or even great place to put a kayak or canoe in for some awesome flatwater paddling adventures.

The variety of paddling opportunities in the State of Washington are astounding to say the least.

There are ample places and types of paddling to suit most people needs from newbies to the most advanced adventure seeker.

From the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean, rain forest rivers and lakes on the Olympic Peninsula, San Juan Islands, Cascade Mountains and across central and eastern Washington State in the sunshine side of the Mountains, there is a paddling waiting for almost anyone.

There is a lot of water across the State of Washington. One problem is figuring out where people into the joys of paddling can put a kayak, canoe or other human powered craft in the water for a day or maybe longer.

At Paddle Heaven there are listings of public water access point in many regions of Washington.

Paddle Heaven has accumulated information about where paddlers can launch and helps answer questions like, “Where are the put-ins?” “Is there anyplace to park?” “How much is the parking?” “How long can a vehicle be parked?” “How much does it cost to launch?” “Is there anyplace to stay in the area?”

A giant part of paddling besides getting some education, training, is the planning of any paddling adventure. Whether a paddler is heading out for a couple of hours or several days there are tons of stuff to figure out about where, when and all the how stuff related to paddling in X, Y or Z location.

Hopefully Paddle Heaven can help with some of the answers or at least get an adventure paddle off on a running start.

There are tons of spots to check out in Washington State. In many cases some of the best paddling can be in areas some people might never think about exploring on the water.

Often times potential paddlers more often then not only think of sea kayaking in the “famous” San Juan Islands. Check out Paddle Heaven and you might be pleasantly surprised there is good paddling elsewhere and in places with sunshine. Yes that is right sunny weather and not the same old gray Puget Sound, Western Washington drip, drip, drip stuff.

So click on http://www.paddleheaven.com and find those special hidden treasures where the MBS, mind, body and spirit can be treated like in a great spa on some fantastic paddling state wide.

Posted in Washington State | No Comments »

Paddling Eastern Washington State can be a good thing.

October 20th, 2010

Many people think in terms of paddling and sea kayaking western Washington in places like the San Juan Islands and don’t think there is any paddling east of the Cascade mountains.

Paddling Eastern Washington State can be a good thing. The west side features gray, rain and green. Eastern Washington State paddling features a world of sunshine and stark beauty.

There are many opportunities to put-in kayaks or canoes on the eastern side of the mountains. From the giant Columbia River that runs from Canada south through Washington State and along the northern edge of Oregon spilling into the Pacific ocean to many lakes large and small.

The kayaking and canoeing in eastern Washington and Central Washington state has its own look and feel. The landscapes can be extremely dramatic featuring massive wide open freeing terrain, broad valleys of the Columbia and stunning cliffs of the Coulee Corridor to name a few.

Wildlife including flora and fauna is knock your socks off variety. Birding in and around the lakes and rivers of Eastern and Central Washington can be breath taking for bird lovers and other critters.

Eastern Washington more often offers paddling in sunshine and camping under a star filled black canvas at night.

Most locations in Eastern and Central Washington State are like paddling in a living masterpiece.

Paddle Heaven features a growing list of put-in locations on the Spokane side of the mountains.

As one example check out the Paddling the Coulee Corridor section of Paddle Heaven. There you can get a little taste of some of the possibilities awaiting paddlers east of the Cascades.

When living in the Seattle and other area of the Puget Sound area, escape to the sunshine and paddle in a different beauty, less noise, pollution.

All good for the MBS, mind, body and spirit.

Posted in Eastern Washinnton, Washington State | No Comments »

Paddling Baker Lake off season.

October 16th, 2010

Kayaking Baker Lake during the off season can be a good thing for the paddler that is prepared.

Autumn at Baker Lake has several good points. First off there are fewer if any people at or on the lake. That equates into extreme quiet time when on the water, especially if paddling on the water during the weekday, and not during hunting season.

The most recent put-in at Kulshan Campground was on October 15, 2010. During the short afternoon paddle around the southern end of the lake, there was only one powerboat that came and went. Otherwise the lake was the sounds of silence. At least the sounds of human silence.

Check out the link to the paddling adventure. This place is for the hardy off season prepared paddler. There are limited put-in locations on the lake after the peak season. Most of the car campgrounds are closed. Consequently Kulshan boat launch on the southern end of the lake is about the only put-in spot. There might be others up lake with some effort. Near the end of the lake there is one spot where unsanctioned camping along the shoreline occurs. If people are not hogging up the waterfront and parking a kayak might be able to slip in there.

There is an advantage of paddling south on the lake early in the day. That is because wind more often then not blows from the south as the day moves on. By paddling south in calmer waters a paddler can return with the wind and get a free ride back to the launch.

Besides Mr. Boater Boy and his crew, the only other sounds were of course the commercial jet traffic and believe it or not, nature.

Yup, could actually here the wind in the trees, creeks rolling down the mountains feeding the lake and the birds that chirped etc on and off the water. Freaky but true, there was a real sounds of silence.

Note the silence at Baker Lake during the off season can possibly disturb some people that are not accustomed to hearing their brain and heart pump in a giant outdoor sensory deprivation like tank place.

It used to be that Baker Lake was romantically old fashioned in the silence arena. But this past summer a new season of fishing was opened up and the power boat crowd went INSANE on the lake.

What is next for the region? Is hunting the next big blow out in the Baker River region? The roar of the bang, bang, shoot ‘em up. Only guessing there is probably a big shoot out at some point coming up in the fall or winter around the lake. Brightly colored gear that paddlers wear for safety reason is a good thing during hunting seasons.

On the most recent trip no hearing protection was needed. What a treat.

Fewer fumes lingered on the water.

All in all Baker Lake was back alive with some of the priceless things that good paddling can offer. A sense of almost being in wilderness and the power of the sounds of silence. All good for the MBS, mind, body and spirit.

Posted in North Cascades, Washington State | No Comments »

Kayaking Banks Lake Coulee Corridor Central Washington State

October 11th, 2010

Banks Lake is part of what is known as the Coulee Corridor. The Grand Coulee is basalt cliff lined depression in North Central Washington State. The Coulee runs from the Grand Coulee Dam south to the town of Soap Lake.

In this coulee there are many lakes suitable for paddling kayaks and canoes. Among the many lakes Banks Lake is the largest. Banks Lake runs from the Coulee City at the southern end to Electric City at the northern end. The lake is a reservoir that is about 27 miles long. The lake is part of the Columbia Basin Reclamation Project where water is diverted from Lake Roosevelt from behind the Grand Coulee Damn for farms in the Columbia Basin region.

The lake is long and narrow with numerous public water access sites where paddlers can put-in.

At the southern tip at Coulee City Community Park there is some RV and tent camping and places to put human powered craft in and enjoy paddling on Banks Lake.

On the eastern side where highway 155 runs up to the northern end of the lake in the Grand Coulee Dam area, there are several WDFW, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, public fishing sites. These sites require an inexpensive permit from the WDFW that can be purchased in local stores or online. The permits allows users to park and launch at WDFW sites all over Washington State.

There are places to tent or RV camp in Coulee City or in Steamboat State Park and to the north of the park at Sun Banks Resort or the Coulee Playland in Electric City. There is also some camping close by on the Columbia River three miles east of Coulee Dam at the NPS, National Park Service at Spring Canyon.

Steamboat Park offers some boat in camping. Check with the park webpage for details.

Some of the best paddling opportunities are in Steamboat State Park area. Much of Banks Lake is a wildlife refuge. Consequently the lake is not spoiled with tons of human stuff like houses everywhere that would more then likely show up on other lakes especially in western Washington Puget Sound areas.

Check out the Paddle Heaven page about kayaking Banks Lake in the area of Steamboat State Park. There you will see pictures, videos, and information about launching kayaks and canoes.

Posted in Central Washington State, Coulee Corridor, Washington State | No Comments »

Why publish an ebook at AdventurePigs.com

September 27th, 2010

Publishing ebooks and old fashioned paper books can take a great deal of time and energy.

There are many advantages to self publishing or even hiring AdventurePigs.com.

At AdventurePigs.com people that write about outdoor and other A-Z adventures like bicycling, camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, travel, paddling, kayaking, canoeing or you name it, can write and then self publish one book for free.

People that can write their adventures but don’t have the time or skills to make a cover and other technical stuff required to get an ebook published on line can hire AdventurePigs.com to do it all for very little money and time.

There are many other sites like Amazon, Smashwords and others where self publishing is possible. But, at most services it takes days if not weeks or more to see the ebook online.

Not that there is anything wrong with publishing at the many other spots online if you have the time and patience.

Also a big draw back to publishing the other self publishing sites is that a writer can not make changes to their written work very easily.

At AdventurePigs.com a writer of adventure stories and guides can see their work listed at APigs fast, in a few minutes. Then Google will index the information shortly.

At most sites it takes days or waiting. Then a writer can not edit the ebook. At AdventurePigs the ebook can be edited at any time. People that purchase the ebook adventure can return and get updates at any time.

Then after a writer has finished the work and is ready the ebook can be published at numerous locations like Amazon or Smashwords. But remember Smashwords is more about fiction then non fiction like APigs.

Publishing at APigs is fast and easy.

Writers can test the publishing waters for free.

Then a writer can sell the ebook at the other sites online if they choose once any updating is finished. Selling at other places will in some cases get an ISBN number for the final book. This could be added to the edition at APIGS. Writers can also buy their own ISBN number(s) but remember, every time you change the ebook the ISBN needs to be changed. So publishing at AdventurePigs.com makes even more sense since ti takes so long and so much money to get ISBN numbers for every edition of an ebook.

So, publishing is a win win situation for writers and them that like to read about adventures and learn about places to travel to and explore.

Save time money and energy in publishing ebooks today at AdventurePigs.co

Check it out today.

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